Naomi Ackie almost quit acting before Star Wars

Naomi Ackie almost quit acting before landing a role in 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker'.

The 27-year-old has admitted she was frustrated that there didn't appear to be many roles available for black actresses her age and she gave herself one final year to achieve her goal of being a working actress before quitting the industry altogether.

Naomi - who juggled working at The Crystal Maze experience in London with a job as a bartender - told The Times newspaper: "I hadn't found much acting work at all. I had reached my mid-twenties, there didn't seem to be many parts out there for a black girl my age and I didn't know how much longer I could continue. So I decided to quit all my side jobs and give it one final year of trying to achieve what I had been trying to achieve since I was 11."

However, Naomi - who makes her debut in the 'Star Wars' franchise as Jannah - soon won a British Independent Film award for her role in 'Lady Macbeth' and that led to a flurry of auditions before she landed a role in 'Star Wars'.

Naomi explained: "I was getting auditions left, right and centre and suddenly I got this email from my agent saying: 'We've got an untitled Disney project for you but we all know that's 'Star Wars'.' And it's funny, at the time, I was like, 'Urgh'.

'Star Wars' films were part of my pop cultural knowledge and I'd watch them every Christmas but I was more of a 'Harry Potter' nerd."

Meanwhile, Naomi's co-stars John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran have both experienced racism after being cast in the franchise but Naomi doesn't think she has suffered quite as badly as they did.

She said: "There has been a few but nothing in the same way. I think we've come a certain way, yes, but we're running the risk of being too self-congratulatory and halting the process. My main feeling is that diversity needs to become a permanent fixture and right now it doesn't feel like it's there."