Sonequa Martin-Green

Sonequa Chaunté Martin-Green (/səˈnkwə/;[1] née Martin; born March 21, 1985)[2] is an American actress. She is best known for her television roles as Michael Burnham, the main character in the streaming television series Star Trek: Discovery, and as Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead.[3] Before that, Martin-Green starred in several independent films before gaining her first recurring role, as Courtney Wells on The Good Wife. Later, she had recurring roles as Tamara in Once Upon a Time[4][5][6][7] and Rhonda in New Girl.

Sonequa Martin-Green
Sonequa Martin-Green 2019 (cropped).jpg
Martin-Green at the 2019
San Diego Comic-Con
Sonequa Chaunté Martin

(1985-03-21) March 21, 1985 (age 37)
Alma materUniversity of Alabama
Years active2005–present
(m. 2010)

Early lifeEdit

Sonequa Martin was born and raised in Russellville, Alabama. Her parents were Charles Winston Martin (1943–2021) and Vera Lynn Martin-Moore (née Freeman; 1950–2021). Her parents divorced and her mother remarried. She has one full sister, NaKisha, and three older paternal half-sisters.[8][9]

Martin-Green initially planned to become a psychologist before deciding in the tenth grade to pursue a career in acting.[10] On her decision to become an actor, she said, "I didn't know I was going to be an actor until I was 16. I thought I was going to be a psychologist, which is interesting because it's very similar to acting. I was fascinated with human behavior and why people do what they do. I was in the middle of rehearsal in 10th grade when I had this epiphany. And so I got my theatre degree from the University of Alabama."[11]

Martin-Green graduated from the University of Alabama in 2007 with a degree in theatre.[12]



While known primarily for her television roles, Sonequa Martin-Green made her film debut in 2009. In 2009, she played the lead role of Tosha Spinner in Toe to Toe opposite Louisa Krause, the fiercely determined scholarship student who seeks to build a brighter future outside of Anacostia and away from one of Washington's poorest neighborhoods. The film focuses on her friendship and rivalry with Jessie (Louisa Krause), a privileged girl from Bethesda whose promiscuous tendencies threaten to become her undoing. They both strive to gain a better understanding of one another's plight as society threatens to drive them ever farther apart. The film received generally positive reviews, with Martin-Green's performance receiving critical acclaim,[13][14] even from the film's detractors.[15][16] In November 2018, it was announced Martin-Green would star in The Outside Story, opposite Brian Tyree Henry, directed by Casimir Nozkowski.[17]


Martin-Green at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con for The Walking Dead

Martin-Green has had various guest and recurring roles in TV shows. She made her television debut in 2008, appearing on NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Kiana Richmond. She then gained her first recurring role on Army Wives as Kanessa Jones the following year. In 2009, she received the role of Courtney Wells on The Good Wife, her first recurring role playing an adult character as opposed to playing a teenager with her previous roles in both film and television. She appeared on the show for two years before making two more appearances in Gossip Girl and NYC 22 in 2011.

In 2012, she was cast in a recurring role on The Walking Dead as Sasha, the sister of Tyreese (Chad Coleman), an original character, exclusive to the television series.[18] Martin-Green auditioned for the role of Michonne albeit with a pseudonym due to the secrecy of the auditioning process. When Danai Gurira, who Martin-Green said was "the perfect choice", was cast, former showrunner Glen Mazzara still wanted Martin-Green to be a part of the show and decided to create a role specifically for her instead. Martin-Green explained: "[Sasha] was supposed to be a recurring character and as we kept going forward, they picked up my option to be a regular. It's very rare and I'm still quite dumbfounded about it but Glen and I hit it off and I still appreciate him. He wanted to work with me and wrote Sasha for me".[19] She was promoted to a series regular for season 4 with Emily Kinney and Coleman.[20][21][22][23]

After auditioning for the role of Michonne, she read the first three volumes of the graphic novels in preparation for the television series. Knowing they were different, she chose not to continue reading the comic book series to avoid being aware of future storylines that may occur on the television series.[24] Martin-Green's performance as Sasha, particularly in the fifth season[25][26][27] and seventh season, has received favorable reviews.[28][29][30]

After filming for the third season of The Walking Dead ended, Martin-Green was cast in the second season of Once Upon a Time playing the recurring role of Tamara, a woman determined to rid the world of magic.[6] She returned briefly in the third season before returning to her regular role as Sasha on The Walking Dead. As of the first episode of sixth season, Martin-Green's name appears in the opening credits.

In December 2016, her role as the lead actor of Star Trek: Discovery was reported in the trade press[31] and officially confirmed by CBS All Access in April of the following year (after her Walking Dead character featured in her final regular appearance).[32] She debuted as First Officer Michael Burnham in "The Vulcan Hello" on September 24, 2017[33] and has remained the series central character throughout the three seasons aired by 2020.[34] Martin-Green's character was described by series co-creater Bryan Fuller as a "lieutenant commander with caveats"... we've seen six series from the captain's point of view," he explained in early press releases for the show. "To see a character from a [new] perspective on the starship — one who has different dynamic relationships with a captain, with subordinates, it gave us richer context."[31]

Personal lifeEdit

Martin-Green married fellow actor Kenric Green on December 4, 2010. On January 10, 2015, Martin-Green gave birth to a boy named Kenric Justin Green II. Martin-Green was pregnant during filming of the fifth season of The Walking Dead, which she covered up by wearing thick layers of clothing and using larger guns.[35] On July 19, 2020, she gave birth to a girl named Saraiyah Chaunté Green.[36]

Since April 2016, Martin-Green has been an ambassador for Stand Up to Cancer, encouraging clinical trials, with a special emphasis on outreach in ethnically diverse communities. When interviewed by Essence in February 2018, Martin-Green said that her mother had been fighting three types of cancer and one of her half-sisters had breast cancer.[37]

On July 13, 2021, Martin-Green announced on Instagram that both her parents had died; her father on April 9 and her mother on April 10 [38] due to unrelated reasons.[39] An obituary revealed her father had a "brief but valiant battle with liver cancer".[40]



Year Title Role Notes
2005 Not Quite Right Coco Delight
2007 I-Can-D VJ
2008 Blind Thoughts Jenna Lopez
2009 Toe to Toe Tosha Spinner
Rivers Wash Over Me Shawna King
2011 Da Brick Rachel
Yelling to the Sky Jojo Parker
2012 Shockwave Darkside Private Lang
2019 Holiday Rush Roxy
2020 The Outside Story Isha
2021 Space Jam: A New Legacy Kamiyah James


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Kiana Richmond Episode: "Legacy"
2009 Army Wives Kanessa Jones 3 episodes
2009–2011 The Good Wife Courtney Wells 8 episodes
2011 Gossip Girl Joanna Episode: "The Jewel of Denial"
2012 NYC 22 Michelle Terry 5 episodes
2012–2018 The Walking Dead Sasha Williams 45 episodes
2013 Once Upon a Time Tamara 7 episodes
2016 Lip Sync Battle Herself Episode: "Sonequa Martin-Green vs. Lauren Cohan"
2016–2017 New Girl Rhonda 2 episodes
2017 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Pirate Maria (voice) 2 episodes
2017–present Star Trek: Discovery Michael Burnham 55 episodes
Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television (2018)
Saturn Award for Best Actress in Streaming Presentation (2019)
Nominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television (2021)
2017–2018 After Trek Herself Aftershow; 2 episodes
2019–2022 The Ready Room Herself Aftershow; 6 episodes
2021 Invincible Alana / Green Ghost (voice) Episode: "It's About Time"

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2020 Star Trek Online [41] Michael Burnham Episode "Measure of Morality"
Fast & Furious Crossroads [42] Vienna Cole


  1. ^ "Sonequa Martin-Green: Behind the SceneH". Good Housekeeping. October 14, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  2. ^ @WalkingDead_AMC (March 21, 2017). "We're all in for @SonequaMG's birthday. #TWD". Twitter. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  3. ^ Garrett, Tommy Lightfoot (December 31, 2012). "Actress Sonequa Martin-Green Does Double Duty On ABC's 'Once Upon A Time' And AMC's 'The Walking Dead', Highlight Hollywood News". Highlight Hollywood. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  4. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (December 31, 2012). "'Once Upon a Time' Season 2 Spoilers — Sonequa Martin-Green as Tamara". TVLine. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  5. ^ "'Walking Dead' Actress Sonequa Martin-Green Is Headed To 'Once Upon A Time'". HuffPost. December 31, 2012. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Fletcher, Alex (January 2, 2013). "'Walking Dead' actress Sonequa Martin-Green joins 'Once Upon a Time'". Digital Spy. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  7. ^ Flanagan, Ben (January 3, 2013). "UA theatre alum Sonequa Martin-Green lands role on ABC hit 'Once Upon a Time'". Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  8. ^ "Charles W Martin June 28 1943 April 9 2021, death notice, USA". April 13, 2021.
  9. ^ "Obituary for Vera Martin-Moore at Thompson & Son Funeral Home".
  10. ^ Lloyd, Sarah (October 23, 2013). "Sonequa Martin-Green: 5 Things You Didn't Know About The Walking Dead Star". Wetpaint. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  11. ^ Berk, Philip (September 28, 2017). "Sonequa Martin-Green Shines Bright On Star Trek: Discovery". star2. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Flanagan, Ben (April 4, 2013). "UA alum Sonequa Martin-Green upgraded to 'The Walking Dead' series regular". Retrieved April 5, 2013.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Fine, Marchall (February 25, 2010). "'Toe to Toe': Face to face with race". Hollywood & Fine. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  14. ^ Hornaday, Ann (April 2, 2010). "Movie review: 'Toe to Toe,' a teen lacrosse drama Washingtonians will recognize". The Washington Post.
  15. ^ Musetto, V.A. (February 26, 2010). "Schoolgirls stuck in stereotype". New York Post.
  16. ^ "Toe to Toe". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  17. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 28, 2018). "Sonequa Martin-Green Joins Brian Tyree Henry In 'The Outside Story' Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  18. ^ "'Walking Dead' Dissection: Robert Kirkman on the Major Fatalities and Comic Book Detour". January 4, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  19. ^ "'The Walking Dead' Audition Tales: 26 Stars Tell All". August 20, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  20. ^ Slezak, Michael (April 3, 2013). "The Walking Dead's Season 4 Cast — Tyreese, Sasha, Beth Upgraded To Series Regulars". TVLine. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  21. ^ Abrams, Natalie. "The Walking Dead Promotes Chad Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green and More to Series Regular". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 4, 2013.[dead link]
  22. ^ "'Walking Dead' Promotes Three to Series Regular for Season 4". March 4, 2013. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  23. ^ "'The Walking Dead' Promotes Three To Series Regulars". November 15, 2009. Retrieved April 4, 2013.
  24. ^ AfterBuzz TV (February 17, 2014). "Sonequa Martin-Green (AMC's Walking Dead) Interview - AfterBuzz TV's Spotlight On" – via YouTube.
  25. ^ Straker, Alex (March 23, 2015). "The Walking Dead, Try – review: Rick Grimes' vendetta against Paul intensifies as finale looms". The Independent. London.
  26. ^ Hogan, Ron (February 16, 2015). "The Walking Dead season 5 episode 10 review: Them". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  27. ^ Hogan, Ron (March 10, 2015). "The Walking Dead season 5 episode 13 review: Forget". Den of Geek. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  28. ^ Jackson, Josh (March 26, 2017). "The Walking Dead Review: "Something They Need"". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  29. ^ Marnell, Blair (March 26, 2017). "THE WALKING DEAD 7.15 'Something They Need' Review". CraveOnline. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  30. ^ Murray, Noel (March 26, 2017). "'The Walking Dead' Recap: Knives Out". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  31. ^ a b "'Star Trek: Discovery' Casts 'Walking Dead' Actress as Star". Entertainment Weekly. December 14, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
  32. ^ "Sonequa Martin-Green Beams Aboard Discovery". Star Trek. April 3, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  33. ^ "'Star Trek Discovery' EPs Alex Kurtzman & Akiva Goldsman On "Burnham's Dilemma" & Michelle Yeoh Shocker". Hollywood Reporter. September 24, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  34. ^ "'Star Trek: Discovery' Team on How Big Time Jump Shapes Season 3". Hollywood Reporter. November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  35. ^ "'Walking Dead' star Sonequa Martin-Green explains how they hid her pregnancy on the show". Entertainment Weekly. February 6, 2015.
  36. ^ "It's a Girl! Sonequa Martin-Green Welcomes Daughter Saraiyah Chaunté". July 29, 2020.
  37. ^ Robertson, Regina A. (February 15, 2018). "Sonequa Martin-Green Is Honoring Her Mother, A Three-Time Cancer Survivor, With This Campaign". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  38. ^ Vera Moore Obituary
  39. ^ @therealsonequa (July 12, 2021). "🖤🙏🏽🖤" – via Instagram.
  40. ^ "Charles W Martin June 28 1943 April 9 2021, death notice, USA". April 13, 2021.
  41. ^ "Star Trek: Legacy Now Live". Arcgames. January 28, 2020. Retrieved January 29, 2020.
  42. ^ "Sonequa Martin-Green on Joining the 'Fast & Furious' Family With 'Crossroads' Video Game". Variety. July 23, 2020. Retrieved August 17, 2020.

External linksEdit