Nora Lum, better known to the world under her stage name Awkwafina, is an American rapper and actress born in 1988. She spent most of her childhood in New York state, graduating from the University at Albany in 2011 with a degree in journalism before seeking a career in entertainment. Her mother is South Korean, while her father is Chinese-American.
Lum took up the moniker Awkwafina at the age of sixteen. It is a play on the word awkward, which she feels best describes her. After getting a start as a rapper, with her song My Vag gaining some notoriety on YouTube, Awkwafina successfully morphed her internet fame into a Hollywood acting career. Now, she is getting ready to star in the highly-anticipated movie the Baccarat Machine, which depicts the life story of gambler Cheung Yin Sun, who cleaned out gambling operators worldwide using a mix of skill and intuition. Baccarat is also a game you can find in online casinos. What follows is a rundown of her most notable silver screen appearances so far in her young career.
Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising
Awkwafina’s feature film debut came in 2014, when she played the supporting role of Christine in the sequel to the 2014 comedy hit Neighbors, titled Sorority Rising. Despite mainly getting negative reviews, the film was a commercial success, grossing $108 million worldwide on a $35 million budget. Awkwafina’s character did not get loads of screen time, but the New York-based rapper made her presence known, and her performance got her noticed by industry folk and moviegoers alike.
Dude is an all-female comedy-drama written and directed by Olivia Milch. It stars Kathryn Prescott, Alexandra Shipp, Lucy Hale, and, of course, Awkwafina. This independent feature did not cause too much noise, attaining only a respectable degree of popularity on Netflix. Its plot revolves around a group of best friends trying to deal with their impending high school graduation.
Coming off the heels of her collaboration with Olivia Milch on Dude, Awkwafina got cast as Constance in Gary Ross’ female adaptation of the Ocean’s Eleven franchise, Ocean’s Eight. Unlike her Hollywood debut, she got a much more sizeable part this time around, playing a street hustler. Constance joins a team led by Sandra Bullock’s character, Debbie, who attempts to pull off a seemingly impossible heist at New York City’s yearly Met Gala. Ocean’s Eight got criticized for having an undemanding plot, but it still managed to pull in close to $300 million at the global box office.
Crazy Rich Asians
Released the same year as Ocean’s Eight, Crazy Rich Asians gets considered a landmark romantic comedy. It marked the first time since The Joy Luck Club (1993) that a major American film studio featured mainly actors of Chinese descent. It caught some flack for casting biracial actors over entirely ethnically Chinese ones, but that did not stop it from becoming the highest-grossing romantic comedy of the 2010s. In Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina plays Peik Lin, the former college roommate of Constance Wu’s character Rachel Chu, the protagonist. Peik Lin is in many scenes, and according to most, she stole the movie with her unique charm.
Jumanji: The Next Level
The Next Level is the 2019 sequel of the remake of the 1995 Jumanji named Welcome to the Jungle. It features all the main stars of Welcome to the Jungle but adds veterans like Danny DeVito and Danny Glover. Awkwafina plays Ming Fleetfoot in it, a skilled thief who is Alex Wolf’s avatar. The Next Level crushed the box office, generating over $800 million in ticket sales.
The Farewell was AFI’s Movie of the Year in 2020 when it also got nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language category at the BAFTA Awards. It earned Awkwafina a Best Actress nomination from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, the Austin Film Critics Association, and the 77th Golden Globe Awards. The Farewell is an American-Chinese production written and directed by Lulu Wang. It tells the story of a Chinese family who discovers their grandmother has a short while to live, so they plan to organize a massive family gathering before she dies. The movie received widespread acclaim and is a bilingual film in Mandarin and English.
To Wrap Up
Currently, fans can see Awkawafina as Katy in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the freshest entry in the Marvel cinematic universe. Her show, Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, is also airing on Comedy Central. Expect to see/hear her in the upcoming Little Mermaid adaptation and the Mahershalla Ali film Swan Song.
(Devdiscourse’s journalists were not involved in the production of this article. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Devdiscourse and Devdiscourse does not claim any responsibility for the same.)