Nora Lum (born June 2, 1988), known professionally as Awkwafina, is an American actress and rapper. She made her film breakthrough in 2018 with her roles in the films Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians. She has released two studio albums, Yellow Ranger and In Fina We Trust. Awkwafina first gained popularity for her song "My Vag", a response to Mickey Avalon's "My Dick". The music video has garnered over four million views on YouTube. Notable television appearances include Girl Code, Future Man, and Saturday Night Live.
Awkwafina in 2018
June 2, 1988
|Home town||Queens, New York, U.S.|
Lum was born in New York City to an ethnic Chinese-American father, Wally, and a South Korean immigrant mother, a painter. She grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. One of her paternal great-grandfathers was a Chinese immigrant in the 1940s who opened the Cantonese restaurant Lum’s in Flushing, Queens. Lum's mother died when she was four, and she was raised and influenced heavily by her paternal grandmother.
Lum attended LaGuardia High School where she played the trumpet and was trained in classical music and jazz. At age 16, she adopted the stage name Awkwafina, "definitely a person I repressed" and an alter ego to her "quiet and more passive" personality during her college years. Lum majored in journalism and women's studies at the State University of New York at Albany. From 2006 to 2008, Lum attended Beijing Language and Culture University in China, where she studied Mandarin.
Lum says Charles Bukowski, Anaïs Nin, Joan Didion, Tom Waits, and Chet Baker were early influences. Prior to her career in entertainment, she was an intern at local New York publications Gotham Gazette and the Times Union newspaper in Albany and was a publicity assistant for publishing house Rodale.
Awkwafina began rapping at age 13. In 2012, she gained popularity for her song "My Vag", a response to Mickey Avalon's "My Dick". The music video has garnered over four million views on YouTube. Her solo album Yellow Ranger was released on February 11, 2014. The LP includes a number of her previous singles released via YouTube, including the title track "Yellow Ranger", "Queef" and "NYC Bitche$".
She was part of the lineup at Tenacious D's Festival Supreme on October 25, 2014. In 2016, she collaborated with comedian Margaret Cho on "Green Tea", a song that pokes fun at Asian stereotypes.
She released an EP called In Fina We Trust on June 8, 2018.
In 2018, she starred in the indie comedy Dude, and was part of the principal cast in the all-female spinoff to the Ocean's Trilogy, Ocean's 8, which was released on June 8. Also that summer, she co-starred in the film Crazy Rich Asians, by Warner Bros. She played Goh Peik Lin, a college friend of lead character Rachel Chu (Constance Wu).
Television and web seriesEdit
In 2014, Awkwafina was added to the cast of the third season of Girl Code, appearing in six episodes of the third and fourth seasons. In 2015, she served as a co-host with TV personality Nessa and comedian Carly Aquilino for the spin-off titled Girl Code Live on MTV.
Awkwafina was the host of a self-created short-form web series Tawk, which was an Official Honoree at the 2016 Webby Awards and was nominated for a 2016 Streamy Award in the News and Culture category.
She hosted the October 6, 2018, episode of Saturday Night Live, with musical guest Travis Scott, becoming the second East Asian-American female celebrity (after Lucy Liu, whose episode Awkwafina cites as her inspiration to one day be famous enough to host SNL) to host the show. Her celebrity impression for the episode was Sandra Oh (who, coincidentally, became the first East Asian-Canadian female celebrity to host an SNL episode within the same season and the third East Asian-American female celebrity to host overall).
Awkwafina is profiled in the 2016 documentary Bad Rap, which was an official selection at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Produced by Salima Koroma and Jaeki Cho, the film puts the spotlight on her as well as upcoming fellow Asian-American rappers such as Dumbfoundead, Rekstizzy, and Lyricks. She hosted the 2018 iHeartRadio MMVAs.
Awkwafina has expressed support for Time's Up, a movement started by Hollywood celebrities against sexual harassment. She has also advocated for the need for more female directors and against the stereotyping of Asians in media. She has rejected roles that require accents.
Awkwafina was honored as Kore Asian Media's Female Breakout of the Year in December 2017.
Awkwafina was featured in Gap's "Logo Remix" campaign, which featured up-and-coming artists who "are remixing creative culture on their own terms," such as SZA, Sabrina Claudio and Naomi Watanabe.
|In Fina We Trust||
|"My Vag"||2012||Non-album single|
|"NYC Bitche$"||2013||Yellow Ranger|
|"Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margaritas)"|
|"Green Tea" (feat. Margaret Cho)||2016||Non-album single|
|"Pockiez"||2018||In Fina We Trust|
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2016||Bad Rap||Herself||Salima Koroma||Documentary|
|Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising||Christine||Nicholas Stoller|
|Storks||Quail (voice)||Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland|
|Ocean's 8||Constance||Gary Ross|
|Crazy Rich Asians||Goh Peik Lin||Jon M. Chu|
|2019||The Farewell||Billi||Lulu Wang|
|Paradise Hills||Yu||Alice Waddington|
|The Angry Birds Movie 2||Courtney (voice)||Thurop Van Orman||Completed|
|Jumanji: The Next Level ||Jake Kasdan||Post-production|
|2020||The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge||Tim Hill||Filming|
|TBA||Breaking News in Yuba County||Kavi||Tate Taylor||Post-production|
|2014–2015||Girl Code||Herself||6 episodes|
|2015||Girl Code Live||Herself (co-host)||1 episode|
|Regular Show||Apple (voice)||Episode: "Hello China"|
|2016||Mary + Jane||Gina||Episode: "Noachella"|
|2017||Future Man||Woman at Video Game Store||3 episodes|
|2018||Animals.||Annie (voice)||Episode: "Roachella"|
|Saturday Night Live||Herself (host)||Episode: "Awkwafina/Travis Scott"|
|2019||Weird City||Charlotta||Episode: "Below"|
|The Simpsons||Carmen / Dr. Chang (voice)||2 episodes|
|Tuca & Bertie||Bertie's Left Boob (voice)||Episode: "The Promotion"|
|The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance||SkekLach / The Collector (voice)|
|2018||Hawaii International Film Festival||Halekulani Maverick Award||Herself||Won|
|San Diego Film Critics Society Awards||Best Comedic Performance||Crazy Rich Asians||Nominated|
|2019||Dorian Awards||We're Wilde About You / Rising Star of the Year||Herself||Won|
|SAG Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Crazy Rich Asians||Nominated|
- "Awkwafina Artist Biography". www.allmusic.com. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
- Court Dunn (October 11, 2012). "Awkwafina "My Vag" (Official Video)". Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "Awkwafina is changing hip-hop one vulgar, hilarious lyric at a time". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
- AWKWAFINA (October 12, 2013). "My dad's name is Wally. It's not short for anything....... It's just... Wallypic.twitter.com/b7Ng6W41b0". @awkwafina. Retrieved July 4, 2019.
- "Nora Lum – Immigration Paper, University at Albany, SUNY" (PDF). www.albany.edu. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
- Lee, Traci (August 26, 2014). "How Nora Lum Became Rapper Awkwafina Instead of A Meat Inspector". NBC News. NBC UNIVERSAL. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
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- Awkwafina x Margaret Cho - GREEN TEA.
- Ting, Jasmine. "Awkwafina Announces New EP, 'In Fina We Trust'". PAPER. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
- "Rapper Awkwafina Joins 'Neighbors' Sequel". NBC News. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- Lincoln, Ross A. "Indie Comedy 'Dude' Rounds Out Lead Cast With Trio Of Actresses". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
- N'Duka, Amanda (April 2, 2018). "Milla Jovovich & More Join Emma Roberts In 'Paradise Hills'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "'Crazy Rich Asians' Adds Awkwafina". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
- Erbland, Kate (February 21, 2019). "A24 Seeks Summer Box Office with Release Dates for 'The Farewell' and 'Last Black Man'". IndieWire. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
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- "5 Things You Should Know About 'Ocean's 8' Star Awkwafina". Billboard. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (October 3, 2016). "Go90 Reups Awkwafina's 'Tawk' for Seasons 4 and 5, But Is Verizon's Service Struggling to Win Fans?". Variety. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
- "Hulu's Future Man is fun but doesn't level up: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
- "SNL Season 44 Episode 02 - Awkwafina". NBC.com. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
- Frydenlund, Zach (May 24, 2014). "Premiere: Watch a Sneak Peek of the "Bad Rap" Documentary". Complex.com. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- "Jackie Joe movie 'Bad Rap' ... Life of Korean hip-hop musicians in documentary 재키 조 제작 영화 '배드 랩'…다큐로 보는 한인 힙합 뮤지션들의 삶 [LA중앙일보] 랩퍼 4인 활동과 고민에 초점 장편 완성 위한 후원 기다려". Korea Daily (in Korean). LA Joongang Daily. May 23, 2014. Archived from the original on May 31, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
- Lee, Cliff (August 22, 2018). "'The summer of Awkwafina': The Crazy Rich Asians star on hosting the MMVAs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
- "Awkwafina's Guide Book Shows the New York City You've Never Seen". NBC. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
- "Rapper and Actress Awkwafina on Being a Rare Asian-American in Hollywood". Broadly. May 26, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "Unforgettable Female Breakout of the Year: Awkwafina". Kore.am. Kore Asian Media. November 16, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "Awkwafina Joins the "Now Generation" for Gap Logo Remix Campaign". vmagazine.com. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "Nora Lum". Penguin Random House. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- Dodes, Rachel (June 7, 2018). "Awkwafina Raps Her Way to Hollywood Fame". The New York Times. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
- Kit, Borys (January 3, 2019). "Awkwafina in Talks to Join Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart in 'Jumanji 2' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 3, 2019.