"It made me feel angry, sad, and embarrassed."
Actress Gurlaine Kaur Garcha revealed she was left “angry, sad and embarrassed” after she was racially abused.
The Eastenders actress, who plays Ash Panesar in the soap, said the shocking incident “came from nowhere”.
The abuse left her in tears and feeling “ashamed” because she was unable to “brush off” the unnamed woman’s tirade and simply forget about it.
Gurlaine opened up about the racist attack on Instagram, posting on June 7, 2021:
“Yesterday I was a victim to verbal racial abuse.
“It came from nowhere, I wasn’t expecting it, and even though I know racism exists and I could always be victim to it, it was still deeply deeply shocking.
“In a completely unprovoked attack, I was told by a woman to go back home, to return to wherever I’ve come from, and to stay there.
“The initial shock was that someone was so comfortable to say this to me in public, not once but several times.
“It made me feel angry, sad, and embarrassed.
“It upset me, and as a result of being upset, I felt weak. I was ashamed that I wasn’t able to just brush it off and continue with my day as normal.
“Instead what followed were tears of sadness and frustration.
“How can someone be allowed to say something so racially driven and then walk away?
“Why do I then have to deal with all the feelings that come with it?
“Why do I have to tell myself to stay calm and not to retaliate? And why do I have to be the one left crying?
“It seems so unfair that I am judged by the colour of skin.”
She went on to say that she was particularly upset because she knows racism will continue to exist for years to come.
Gurlaine continued: “My thoughts and feelings of fear weren’t just about that moment, but about a future where my children, nieces and nephews will have to face the same discrimination and hate.
“My heart sinks that deep down I know this won’t be the last time I experience something like this.”
Gurlaine Kaur Garcha did not intend to talk about the incident but hopes that by speaking out, she can help others who are subjected to similar racist abuse.
The 27-year-old added: “Initially I wasn’t going to say anything, but waking up this morning and feeling burdened with the same sadness from the day before, I realised that by speaking out it may help someone who has experienced the same, and make them realise they’re not alone.
“When will racism end? I am proud to be British. I am proud that my grandparents were born in Punjab.
“I am proud that my parents were born in Kenya.
“And I am proud to be Sikh. I celebrate all these things. I wish others did too.”
Gurlaine has been in Eastenders since 2019. She was introduced as Iqra Ahmed’s bisexual Sikh girlfriend.