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10 Amazing Moments of Awkwafina

Warning: Includes adult themes and language that may be mature for a younger audience

We all have role models. However, do all role models speak to every person in society? Many media corporations and marketers are striving to include more people that are from different ethnicities, age, sexual orientations and so much more. Although, even with some of the most diverse populations, some groups are still under-represented. 

Awkwafina or, also known by her real name, Nora Lum, strives to encourage more Asian-Americans in the film industry. This award-winning actress, comedienne, musician – and the list goes on – talks about this throughout her career starring in films with Asian-American casts and female casts while showing her talent for stand-up and acting. With Hollywood embracing Asian-American​ narratives that are less stereotypical and more authentic, Awkwafina’s goals for the film industry is to take on more projects with the real stories of Asian-Americans across the world. Beginning from the early days of her career to her more recent days, here are 10 iconic works of hers where she takes on these projects. 

Graduated at the University of Albany, the State University of New York with a major in Journalism

In 2011, Awkwafina graduated with her undergraduate degree where she then went on to intern at New York publications such as The Gazette and Times Union. With her writing skills she went on to pursue her career in music, then stand-up comedy up-coming to her rise to award-winning actress.

Released her first song on Youtube, “My Vag”

In 2013, Awkwafina released her first song on Youtube, titled “My Vag”. With 5 million views, her song went viral for her controversial but also intriguing hip-hop track. The rapper wrote this song as a response to Mickey Avalon’s single “My Dick” in 2006. Unfortunately, due to the vulgar and explicit lyrics of the song, this got her fired from her job at the publication where she interned at the time.

Built her presence as a solo hip-hop rapper with the album “Yellow Ranger”

In 2014, Awkwafina released her first solo hip-hop album that included 11 tracks. Title songs such as “Yellow Ranger”, “Queef”, and “NYC Bitche$” brought her to fame carrying on her music career and creative music videos on her Youtube channel.

Featured in 6 episodes of Girl Code, Seasons 3 and 4

In 2014, Awkwafina was cast on MTV’s Girl Code for six episodes on seasons 3 and 4. Girl Code was a show where female actresses, comediennes, musicians, and even some males, appeared on the show to discuss the everyday aspects of womanhood. She garnered more attention from being on the show alone and for her funny input on all things women.

Starred with an all-female cast Oceans 8

In 2018, the release of Ocean’s 8 brought Awkwafina to fame starring in a film with an all-female main cast. Awkwafina plays as Constance, a master pick-pocketer who is recruited by Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett) to team up and carry out a multi-million dollar heist in New York City.

Starred in an all-asian cast in Crazy Rich Asians

Awkwafina also rose to stardom with the release of Crazy Rich Asians in 2018. Awkwafina plays as Goh Peik Lin, college friend of Rachel Chu’s (Constance Wu) who lives in Singapore. She is known for her comedic role and played along with close colleague, Ken Jeong who plays as her wealthy father Wye Lin. She’s also mentioned that Jeong is also like a father-figure to her in real life as she’s nicknamed him “Papafina”. Awkwafina has previously mentioned in an interview on MTV News that Asian representation in the media is important to the influence in Asian communities. As Hollywood embraces more Asian actors and producers, Awkwafina hopes to see more Asian-American representation that tells more authentic stories of their culture and traditions. 

Second Asian American to host Saturday Night Live

In 2018, Awkwafina hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live (SNL) for the first-time (video: Access interview). She considers hosting SNL a great accomplishment in her career as she considers herself “famous enough” to be given the opportunity. She became the second Asian-American actress to host SNL ever, the first being Lucy Liu, in 45 seasons.

Became a comedienne to “spread joy”

In an interview with Vogue called, “73 Questions with Awkwafina”, she shares her story of her early experiences in stand up comedy which motivated her to pursue acting later on. Her passion for comedy stems from the loss of her mother at age four in which she says she wanted to be a positive source of joy rather than a source of sorrow.

Started producing for her new show “Nora from Queens”

Earlier this year, Awkwafina premiered her new show “Nora from Queens” on January 22nd. Awkwafina began creating her new comedy series as an executive producer and writer airing on Comedy Central. It’s an amazing feat for her career as a breakthrough actress and comedienne.

Became the first Asian-American woman to win a Golden Globe

Last but certainly not the least, she won the award for Best Actress in the 2020 Golden Globes for her performance in the film The Farewell (2020). However, she says that her work does not stop there and hopes to continue to include more Asian-American representation. The award-winning actress plays as “Billi Wang”, one of the granddaughters of Nai Nai (Zhao Shu-zen) who is terminally sick but does not know as her family members keep it a secret from her. This was her first nomination and she was also named the first Asian-American actress for the award.



There you have the 10 iconic works of Awkwafina. There’s no telling of when and if Hollywood will include more diverse groups of people in their films and stories. Until then, there’s no stopping “Nora from Queens” from creating more films and shows that do.

Nataly Manychanh

Laurier Brantford '22

3rd year BA Digital Media and Journalism '22 First Generation student. Amateur writer. Self-proclaimed comedian. Well-known procrastinator.
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