Born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha, but known professionally as Gugu Mbatha-Raw, she is a British actress probably best known for her roles in “Touch,” “Undercovers” and the film “Belle.” Most recently, she signed on to join Will Smith in the NFL concussion drama based on the GQ article “Game Brain.”
Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a beautiful blend of Caucasian and South African ancestry. Her name means “our pride” in Zulu. Her parents separated, however, when she was only one year old. She was then brought up by her mother in Witney, Oxfordshire.
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Gugu Mbatha-Raw knew she wanted to be an actress when she was 11. “I remember seeing my mum, a single mum, working really hard and not enjoying her job. I thought, ‘If I could do something that I enjoy for a living, that’s what I want to do.” When she was eleven, she appeared every year in the pantomime at Oxford Playhouse. In her teens, she played the saxophone and joined the Oxford Youth Music Theatre. In 2001, she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Her other credits include roles in “MI-5,” “Touch,” “Dr. Who,” “Jupiter Rising” and “Larry Crowne,” among others.
As for her role in “Belle,” she said of the corsets, “They took a bit of getting used to. Usually the first 20 minutes I felt a bit sick while all the organs rearranged themselves.”
As for her life in Hollywood, Gugu Mbatha-Raw said, “I’ve gotten used to it, that’s what I can say. I’m learning to enjoy it. I think you have to be wary of getting too bogged down in the business side of it.”
Gugu Mbatha-Raw shared that she would love to play Cleopatra. “That is a role I have had my eye on for a long time. I would love to tell an apartheid story.” She said in a separate interview, “I try not to define myself. Other people are going to do that for you. I like being free to take on any project that inspires me and to trust that the work will speak for itself.”
Though she has a Twitter account, she has yet to tweet.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw resides in Los Angeles and she is unmarried.