If you’re wondering what the definition of an impressive acting resume is, look no further than Awkwafina’s. The actress, comedian, and rapper doesn’t just occasionally appear in a blockbuster film—most days it seems like she’s in all of them. She hardly had any prominent roles under her belt when joining the all-star cast of Ocean’s 8, led by Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett, but turned right around and played Rachel Chu’s hilarious best friend Peik Lin in Crazy Rich Asians. She won a Golden Globe Award for an emotional performance in The Farewell and lent her voice to popular kids’ movies like The Angry Birds Movie 2 and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run.
The actress then starred alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black in Jumanji: The Next Level, voiced a funny dragon in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, and is now blowing up all over again for her starring role in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. She did all of this while releasing rap singles and acting in a variety of television shows including one she wrote herself, Nora from Queens. Awakwafina is also playing the role of Scuttle the seagull in Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.
Awkwafina is clearly a force to be reckoned with, and with ten upcoming projects in development, she won’t be leaving our screens anytime soon. Her career has been a dream come true for her, but has it always been so seemingly easy?
How Did Awkwafina Become Famous?
Awkwafina, whose real name is Nora Lum, started rapping when she was 13 and went on to study trumpet, classical music, and jazz at the famed LaGuardia High School. When she was 16, she decided to adopt the alter ego Awkwafina, which gave her more confidence that she had as just “Nora.” Part of the reason she changed her name was because her mother passed away when she was four, marking a tragic moment in her young life. To help her family work through the grief, Lum turned to comedy.
She majored in journalism in college but never lost sight of her performing ambitions. As she started sharing rap singles like “My Vag” and “Yellow Ranger” on YouTube, fans began to recognize Lum by her stage name. As her online popularity grew, Lum/Awkwafina soon appeared on the MTV comedy show Girl Code and went on to became a co-host on Girl Code Live and the host of the online web series Tawk. She then landed her first film role in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, followed by a voiceover role in the animated family film Storks. Her acting career took off after she joined the cast of Ocean’s 8, which launched her as a bona fide comedic talent who could hold her own alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names.
Awkwafina is now a household name and is best known for her goofy comedic timing and instantly recognizable voice. Her working relationship with companies like Disney and Marvel have landed her roles in some of the biggest films in Hollywood, not to mention an impressive net worth of $8 million. Now that she’s about to become a recurring character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s likely that Awkwafina’s star will be on the rise for many years to come.