Securing a role in Hollywood could be a major accomplishment of any actress of African origin.
Majority of the actresses who have made it there have made the most of their opportunities, paving the way for others to come through.
In the face of stiff competition, discrimination, and racism, these actresses have paid their dues to an industry which hitherto overlooked them. Bagging high profile roles, accolades, and awards, they continue to blaze the trail in Hollywood.
In a continent filled with talents, here are some of the most successful female actresses from Africa in Hollywood.
Lupita Nyongo is a Kenyan-Mexican actress known for her role in the slave-era drama, 12 Years Of Slavery. Born in Mexico City, she attended college in the United States, earning a bachelor’s degree in film and theater studies from Hampshire College.
Now 35 years old, the Oscar winner has had an exciting run in Hollywood and is one of the most sought after in the industry.
Since the release of 12 Years of Slavery, she has featured in high-grossing films such as Marvel’s Black Panther, The Jungle Book and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The actress has had 56 nominations winning 36 times.
An advocate for skincare, Lupita has used her fame to encourage ladies with similar looks as hers to be confident in their skin.
Born in the U.S. to Zimbabwean parents, Danai Gurira is an actress and playwright best known for her roles in The Walking Dead, Black Panther, and Avengers. The youngest of four siblings, she is regarded as the most successful.
Born in Westminster, London to parents of African descent, Newton has successfully navigated her way through the English and American markets.
Her most notable roles include Nyah Nordhoff-Hall in “Mission Impossible II,” Sally Hemings in “Jefferson In Paris,” Kate Thomas in “Norbit,” Linda in “The Pursuit of Happiness” and a title role in “Beloved.”
With a career spanning decades, Newton has won accolades for her exploits in the movie industry including; a Black Reel award for Best Ensemble in “The Chronicles of Riddick,” nomination for a Black Movie award for outstanding performance in a supporting role in “Crash”, Screen Actors Guild for outstanding performance by a cast in “Crash” among many others.
Appointed Officer of the British Empire in 2019, she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and two Critics Choice Awards, as well as a Golden Globe Award, Saturn Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award.
Michelle Van Der Water
Michelle discovered her passion for acting at a tender age and this drove her to enroll in institutions that could annex her talents. Born in Cape Town, South Africa, she, at a young age, left the country with her family to Australia.
In Australia, she attended high school at Inaburra High School located in the Sutherland Shire after which she went on to graduate from Wollongong University. She took a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts in Graphic Design and New Media.
Taking to modeling after school, she appeared in her first movie in 2000. One of the main roles was in the movie “Minotaur” as Queen Raphaella starring alongside Tony Todd and Tom Hardy. Other performances came in works such as the renewal of the series “Melrose Place,” “Castle,” and NCIS: Los Angeles.
Discovered in summer art camp at the age of 14 years old, Echikunwoke was born to an English, German and Irish mother and a Nigerian father. Starting in the “The 4400” TV series, she appeared in series “Raising The Bar” broadcasted on TNT. She also held roles on CBS’ “Made In Jersey” “90210” “That’s The 70’s
She is reported dating comedian Chris Rock with the pair rumored to be getting married.