Awkwafina, a Queens native born Nora Lum, is a rapper, comedian, author, and overall powerhouse. She’s been climbing her way to the top since hitting the scene with a viral Youtube video in 2012. The 29-year-old rising star is funny, down-to-earth, brutally honest in her comedy, and definitely here to stay. Here’s a list of everything you to need to know about Ocean’s 8 Star Awkwafina.
Her 2012 song “My Vag,” a response to a track from rapper Mickey Avalon, racked up over two million views on YouTube. The song became something of a feminist anthem, even though she claims the song was just for fun. Her debut album, Yellow Ranger, was released in 2014 on EMPIRE Records. It featured that viral hit as well as the track “Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margarita),” which was inspired by the New York City soda ban. This month, Awkwafina will release her newest EP, In Fina We Trust.
You Might Recognize Her From MTV
In 2014, Awkwafina joined the cast of MTV’s Girl Code, a show where female comedians, actresses, athletes, and entertainers share brutally honest (and hilarious) advice on everything from first dates and bad sex to the “right” way to end a friendship and how to get settled in a new relationship. The following year, she co-hosted the spin-off Girl Code Live, a weekly thirty-minute late night talk show, with comedian Carly Aquilino and TV/Radio personality Nessa.
Before MTV, She Had Her Own Talk Show
Appropriately titled TAWK, Awkwafina put her own personal spin on the traditional talk show format. She interviewed everyone from rapper Charlamagne Tha God to SNL’s Pete Davidson, with the chats taking place in Brooklyn bodegas, hair salons, and laundromats. In each episode, Awkwafina asked her guests about everything from career advice to their Chinese zodiac sign, had them take to the streets and ask ridiculous questions. Strangers on the streets of New York were quizzed with lines like “would you rather have baby arms and gorilla hands or gorilla arms with baby hands?” The series spanned three seasons, hosted by the company go90.
She Didn’t Have To Audition For Ocean’s 8
Awkwafina starred in the Netflix film Dude, a coming-of-age dramedy that stars Kathryn Prescott (Skins), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse), and Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale. Dude is Olivia Milch’s directorial debut, and was cowritten by Ocean’s 8 director Gary Ross, who immediately cast Awkwafina in the star-studded film after being floored by her performance in Dude.
She’s An Author
In 2015, Potter Style, a subsidiary of Penguin Radom House, released Awkwafina’s NYC, a wildly hilarious and extremely informative travel guide to NYC. The 188-page book ditches the usual tourist spots, like Times Square or the Statue of Liberty, and goes borough by borough to give readers the best and most underrated hidden gems the city has to offer.
This Is Just The Beginning
Awkwafina also stars in the romantic comedy Crazy Rich Asians, based on Keven Kwan’s 2013 novel of the same name. In that film she plays Peik Lin, a college friend of the character Rachel Chu, played by Constance Wu. Earlier this year, she joined the cast of Paradise Hills, a sci-fi thriller directed by Alice Waddington, which also stars Emma Roberts and Milla Jovovich. The film follows Uma, played by Roberts, who wakes up one morning in a high-class treatment facility on an isolated island where well-off families send their daughters to be reformed.
Ocean’s 8 opens on June 8. Crazy Rich Asians opens on August 15.