Floella was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, in a small town called Pointe-a-Pierre. She came to Britain in 1960 and experienced a huge culture shock, having to learn to live in two cultures.
One of six children, her parents instilled the importance of learning and school work. She joined a bank at 16, doing A Levels at night school. While still at the bank, she auditioned and was cast for a national tour of a hit musical, but kept the bank job open, just in case!
She went on to star in the likes of Jesus Christ Superstar and the Black Mikado, before being picked up by TV and spending 12 years on the legendary Playschool. She went on to setup her own TV production company, producing numerous programmes, including a documentary, Coming to England, based on her own book, exploring the challenges a child faces in a new country with a different culture.
In 2001 she received an OBE for contribution to Television.
For 25 years she has campaigned on behalf of children, lobbying for the creation of a Minister for Children, and in 2010 became a member of the House of Lords as Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham; In 2020 she was made a Dame.
Diversity is a passion, and she spends much of her time speaking to schools, colleges and businesses about the subject.