Although so many entertainment-inclined persons have been shot into limelight as a result of their activities on the internet, just a handful have made it into the mainstream entertainment industry. Among this handful is Nora Lum, an American rapper and actress better known by her stage name, Awkwafina.
She uploaded a rap video to YouTube in 2012 titled My Vag and due to its vulgar lyrics, she was relieved of her job as a publicity assistant at a publishing firm. It also strained her relationship with her father who the rapper said, thought she was having a quarter-life crisis. However, the video became a viral hit, launching her into a rapping and comedy career much to the surprise of everyone, including Awkwafina. This subsequently paved way for her to hit the mainstream, appearing in different movies such as Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians.
Awkwafina’s Ethnicity and Early Life
The rapper cum actress was born on the 2nd of June 1988 in New York City (NYC) but was raised in Flushing, Queens. She is multiracial as her father, Wally, is a Chinese American while her mother, a painter, immigrated to NYC from South Korea.
Not too long after Nora Lum was born, it was discovered that her mother had pulmonary hypertension which led to her death four years later. Following the passage of her mother, her paternal grandmother quickly filled the void in her life and contributed greatly to molding her into the woman she is today.
During her high school days at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, Awkwafina would always seize every available opportunity to make people laugh and consequently, became popular as a comedian. She also played the trumpet and received training in classical and jazz music.
When she was 15 years old, the entertainer decided that there was a need for her to have a stage name so she came up with “Awkwafina”. Speaking of why she chose the name, the actress said she thought it was funny and fitting because it had ‘awkward’ in it and she is awkward.
After high school, Nora moved on to the State University of New York at Albany, where she majored in journalism and women’s studies and graduated in 2011. Afterward, she enrolled in Beijing Language and Culture University, China, and there, she studied Mandarin from 2006 to 2008.
Before she made her way into the entertainment industry, Awkwafina worked at a video rental store, an air-conditioning company and as an intern at Gotham Gazette and Times Union before she later got a job as a publicity assistant in a publishing firm.
Although Nora Lum had been rapping since she was 13 years old, it was not until 2012 that she became known as a rapper after she released her first rap, May Vag, on YouTube. The song which was published on October 11, 2012, has received more than 4 million views as of February 2019.
Following the wide reception of her first song, Awkwafina released other songs on YouTube before eventually releasing her solo album entitled Yellow Ranger on February 11, 2014. She also released the song, Green Tea, in 2016, in collaboration with Margaret Cho, a multi-faceted entertainer, and followed it up with an extended play titled In Fina We Trust, which was released on the 8th of June, 2018.
For her works in the entertainment industry, the talented lady has earned two awards so far and this includes the 2018 Halekulani Maverick Award given to her at that year’s Hawaii International Film Festival and the 2019 Dorian Award for We’re Wilde About You! Rising Star of the Year. For her role in the movie Crazy Rich Asians, Awkwafina was nominated in 2018 and 2019 for San Diego Film Critics Society Awards for Best Comedic Performance and a Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) nomination for Outstanding Performance.
In addition to music and acting, Nora is also a published writer as well as an activist.
According to the actress, she never planned to go into acting neither did she ever know that her music would be a career but today, she earns millions of dollars from the show biz industry. Aside from the fat cheque, she received for her part in Ocean’s 8 and her pay for her other movie roles, Awkwafina says she also earns $400 to $800 every month from the download of her music.
That notwithstanding, she does not spend money like some popular actors do rather, she stashes away most of it in her savings account. She has also held on to her cheap railroad apartment in Brooklyn, New York, refusing to yield to the urge to relocate to Los Angeles because she is afraid of moving into a bigger, costlier place.
Is She Lesbian Or Gay?
As it stands now, there is nothing that suggests that Awkwafina might be lesbian even though she has never spoken about her sexuality. She has been involved with a few men in the past and is currently in a relationship with a man.
In a video uploaded on Vogue’s YouTube channel on Aug 24, 2018, the actress said she was never the well-put-together kind of girl while growing up and even as she grew older, she knew she was not a perfect representation of the ideal girlfriend.
However, soon after she graduated from college, she decided to taste the dating waters because all her friends had boyfriends and the pressure was on her to prove to herself that she could have one too. So a friend of hers set her up on a blind date with a guy who turned out to be physically her type. Unfortunately, he was boringly super-intellectual and was not comfortable when she was being her real self so they parted ways in peace.
She later started dating someone else whose name she is yet to reveal. Speaking in an interview with The Guardian in June 2018, Awkwafina said she was very happy and in love with her boyfriend whom she has dated for a long time but doubted if she would ever be the kind of woman who would settle into family life.