RANKED! Awkwafina’s Best TV and Movie Roles (Including ‘Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens’)
Until recently, you probably hadn’t heard of Awkwafina, the Queens-bred rapper-turned-actress. Born Nora Lum, she first garnered attention for her 2012 viral hip-hop video “My Vag,” but her scene-stealing turn in Crazy Rich Asians and historic Golden Globe award-winning performance in The Farewell have put her front and center in the Hollywood spotlight. With her down-to-earth personality, authentic awkwardness, and hilarious comedic timing, Awkwafina is the relatable leading lady Tinsel Town needs right now. If you’re new to Awkwafina fandom, we’ve rounded up 10 of her film and television roles that will introduce you to the groundbreaking actress. Luckily for viewers, her roles have improved over time from frivolous comedies to serious dramas, so we’re sure the best is yet to come.
Cover Photo: Comedy Central
In an otherwise forgettable Netflix film, Awkwafina played Rebecca, one of four teenage friends confronting a classmate's death and impending high school graduation. Cue stoner scenes, girl fights, and prom drama.
In this beloved animated family film about storks reclaiming their baby-delivering duties, Awkwafina voiced Quail, a minor character but her first voice-acting experience.
8. 'Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising'
Awkwafina played Christine of Kappa Nu, the wild sorority that moves next door to family man Mac Radner (Seth Rogen) in this vulgar college campus comedy.
Photo: Universal Pictures
7. 'Future Man'
This Hulu sci-fi series let Awkwafina flex her comedic muscles as a video game store clerk. Honestly, she may be the best reason to even tune in to this mediocre sitcom.
6. 'Oceans 8'
For Stephen Soderbergh's female-centric installment of the Ocean's franchise, Awkwafina brought street cred to pickpocket and con artist Constance.
5. 'Jumanji: The Next Level'
In this action-adventure sequel, Awkwafina plays Ming Fleetfoot, a new character and avatar for Spencer (Alex Wolff) and Eddie (Danny DeVito) in the Jumanji game. She specializes in theft, lock-picking, and safe-cracking but is allergic to pollen.
4. 'Bad Rap'
Awkwafina is one of four Asian-American hip-hop artists featured in Salima Koroma’s 2016 documentary. Her ingenuity, versatility, and comedic style -- not just in rap but in her other entertainment endeavors -- make her stand out in an industry that often overlooks performers of Asian descent.
3. 'Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens'
At the start of this new Comedy Central series based on Awkwafina’s real life in Queens, she plays Nora Lin, an adrift 20-something living with her father and grandmother. After being kicked out of dental assistant school, she drives a ride share (to abysmal ratings) and attempts to double-team as a cam girl with her friend (which ends disastrously). In between catastrophes, she drops astute observations in the self-deprecating but endearing way that only Awkwafina can.
2. 'Crazy Rich Asians'
Awkwafina stole the screen as Goh Peik Lin, the hyperactive and hilarious best friend of aspiring bride Rachel ( Constance Wu) in this refreshing rom-com about wealthy Singaporeans. Slinging confident one-liners and brutally honest advice, Awkwafina made this film a riot when it could have been a romantic snore fest.
1. 'The Farewell'
Awkwafina dug deep for this moving film about a Chinese family hiding a terminal cancer diagnosis from a beloved grandmother. Awkwafina played Billi, an aspiring writer living in New York who returns to her homeland of China for a farewell gathering disguised as a wedding. Awkwafina learned Chinese for the role, in which she perfectly depicted feeling torn between telling the truth and letting her grandmother live the rest of her life happily. The performance garnered Awkwafina a Golden Globe for Best Actress, making her the first woman of Asian descent to take home that award.