Yvonne Anuli Orji // (listen) [1] (born 2 December 1983) is a Nigerian-American actress and comedian. She is best known for her role in the television series Insecure (2016–2021), for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and three NAACP Image Awards.

Yvonne Orji
Yvonne Orji.jpg
Orji in 2017
Yvonne Anuli Orji

(1983-12-02) 2 December 1983 (age 39)
EducationGeorge Washington University (BA, MPH)
Years active2011–present

Life and careerEdit

Orji was born on 2 December 1983, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria to Igbo parents, and she grew up in Laurel, Maryland, in the United States.[2][3] She spent her high school years in the small town of Lititz, Pennsylvania, where she attended Linden Hall, the oldest all-girls boarding school in the country. Raised Catholic, Orji is now a devout Protestant and has stated that she will remain a virgin until marriage.[4]

She earned her BA in liberal arts and a master's degree in public health at George Washington University as well. Orji's parents expected her to become a doctor, lawyer, pharmacist, or engineer. However, she was inspired to do comedy as a graduate student when she performed stand-up in the talent portion of a beauty pageant.

After graduate school, in 2009, Orji moved to New York City to pursue a career in comedy.[4] In 2015, she landed the role of Molly on Insecure without an agent or any real acting experience.[5] In 2021, she began development on a series for Disney+ titled First Gen. The series is based on her personal life and is produced by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo.[6] Orji is the author of the book Bamboozled by Jesus.[7]

She gave a speech at TEDxWilmingtonSalon in 2017 titled, "The wait is sexy". In the talk, she explains her reasons for abstaining from sex before marriage.[8]

She cohosted the 2021 International Emmy Awards.[9] She also hosted the romantic comedy reality dating series My Mom, Your Dad, which premiered on HBO Max in 2022, which ran for a single season.[10]

In 2023, Orji voiced Tess, the estranged wife of secret bounty hunter Terry, a recurring character in My Dad the Bounty Hunter.[11]

Charitable effortsEdit

Outside of her creative work, she is dedicated to philanthropy. In 2008 and 2009 she spent six months working in post-conflict Liberia, with Population Services International (PSI), an NGO that utilizes social marketing in the adoption of healthy behaviors. While in Liberia, she worked with a group of talented youth to help build a mentoring program as well as a weekly talk show that helped educate and prevent the spread of teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. She currently lends her time and voice as a (RED) Ambassador, a Literacy Champion for Jumpstart, and working with JetBlue for Good.[12]


Year Title Role Notes
2011 Love That Girl! Njideka Episode: "Head Shrunk"
2013 Sex (Therapy) with the Jones Moshinda Short film
2016–2021 Insecure Molly Carter 42 episodes
2017 Jane the Virgin Stacy 2 episodes
Flip the Script Ad Exec 1 Episode: "Mad Woman"
2018 Night School Maya
2019 A Black Lady Sketch Show Flight attendant Episode: "Why Are Her Pies Wet, Lord?"
2020 Momma, I Made It! Herself HBO comedy special
Spontaneous Agent Carla Rosetti
2021 Vacation Friends Emily Conway-Parker
Yearly Departed Herself - Host Amazon Prime Video comedy special
2022 The Wonder Years Tammy Episode: “Love & War”
The Blackening Morgan
A Whole Me Herself HBO comedy special
2023 Velma Gigi (voice) HBO Max series
My Dad the Bounty Hunter Tess

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result
2020 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Insecure Nominated

Further readingEdit

Wilson, H. W. (November 2018). "Yvonne Orji". Current Biography. 79 (11): 51–55. ISBN 9781682176412. OCLC 1005191045.


  1. ^ GW Alumni Association. "Yvonne Anuli Orji". www.alumni.gwu.edu. The George Washington University. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  2. ^ "YVONNE ORJI". Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Yvonne Orji on Colorism in TV & Her New Comedy Special - Coveteur: Inside Closets, Fashion, Beauty, Health, and Travel". coveteur.com. Retrieved 10 March 2023.
  4. ^ a b Davis, Allison P. (10 October 2016). "Molly From 'Insecure' Is Your New Favorite Single Lady". The Ringer. Retrieved 2 December 2016.
  5. ^ Connley, Courtney (17 November 2018). "Yvonne Orji landed her role on HBO's 'Insecure' with no agent, no manager and zero acting experience". CNBC. Retrieved 27 June 2020.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (13 January 2021). "Yvonne Orji Autobiographical Comedy Produced By David Oyelowo & Oprah Winfrey In Works At Disney+". Deadline. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  7. ^ "Book | Bamboozled By Jesus". Bamboozledbyjesus.
  8. ^ "The wait is sexy". YouTube. TEDx Talks.
  9. ^ "Yvonne Orji to host 2021 International Emmy Awards: "All dem wedding hosting days paying off"". BellaNaija. 13 November 2021. Retrieved 27 July 2022.
  10. ^ "'Insecure' Star Yvonne Orji Plays Matchmaker for Single Parents in 'My Mom, Your Dad' Trailer". 7 January 2022.
  11. ^ Oddo, Marco Vito (16 November 2022). "'My Dad the Bounty Hunter' Trailer Makes Catching Space Criminals a Family Business". Collider. Archived from the original on 15 January 2023. Retrieved 16 February 2023.
  12. ^ "Insecure - Yvonne Orji Knows the Fight Against AIDS Happens on the Ground". HBO. Retrieved 24 January 2022.

External linksEdit