Get to Know Awkwafina Before Crazy Rich Asians and Ocean's 8

Scene-stealing actress is about to be a household name for her comedic chops

By Meg Swertlow Apr 24, 2018 10:00 AMTags
Awkwafina, 2016, Best LooksSteve Granitz/WireImage

She's hip, she's funny and you're about to know her name: Awkwafina.

The 29-year-old actress is on the rise and about to storm the Hollywood scene with her roles in two highly anticipated movies, Ocean's Eight and Crazy Rich Asians, based on Kevin Kwan's hugely popular novel.

Prior to nabbing the gigs in the upcoming films, Awkwafina appeared in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Girl Code and Dude, which hit Netflix last week.

In Crazy Rich Asians, a barrier-breaking big-budget film which has an entirely Asian cast, the funny lady plays Goh Peik Lin, a college friend and comedic relief to Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), a woman who gets caught up in family drama when she finds out that her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) is from one of the wealthiest families in Singapore. 

Awkwafina recently told Vanity Fair, "Peik Lin is me. I needed to do this movie, because it’s going to be important for everyone who is Asian-American.”

In Ocean's 8, Awkwafina plays pick pocket Constance, one of the eight woman Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has gathered to help attempt to pull off a heist at the Met Gala. 

But what about all the things you're dying to know about the scene-stealing soon-to-be star? We'd got 6 things you must know about her before seeing the films!

Meet the Female Stars of Ocean's 8

1. Her Real Name Is Nora Lum: In case you couldn't figure it out, Awkwafina is not her birth name. 

At the age of 16, Nora adopted the name of "Awkwafina" to represent a person she repressed.

She talked to Entertainment Weekly about her persona: "She’ll never be a Billboard artist, and I always knew that. She’s weird, and her audience will always be specific.”

2. She's a New Yorker: The Asian American star hails from from Forest Hills, Queens and currently resides in Brooklyn. Her father is an Asian American and her mother was a South Korean immigrant, who died when Awkwafina was only 4-years-old.

She recently told Vanity Fair, "My mom passed away when I was four, and I learned to harness humor as a defense mechanism. I could hold a crowd at five years old."

3. She's a Rapper: That's right, bitches, Awkwafina is a rapper, recording a slew of songs, including "NYC Bitche$"—which has over one million YouTube views.

In 2012, she came out with the viral hit "My Vag," which was a response to Mickey Avalon's "My Dick." The video has been viewed over two million times on YouTube.

4. She's Got Quite the Pedigree: Awkwafina attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School in Manhattan, which famously focuses on performing arts. She studied the trumpet while she was at the high school that both Azealia Banks, and a slew of other celebs also attended.

She went to college and majored in journalism and women's studies at The University at Albany. From 2006 to 2008, the apt pupil attended the Beijing Language and Culture University in Beijing, China.

5. She's Got More Movies in the Works: Currently, she’s working on her next film role, the sci-fi thriller Paradise Hills, starring opposite Emma Roberts and Milla Jovovich. 

6. She's Making Music: She's following up her first album, Yellow Ranger, with her sophomore one, which she said she plans to release by the end of 2018.

Check her out this summer when Ocean's 8 slips into theaters on June 8. Crazy Rich Asians hits theaters on Aug. 17.

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