With two major roles in “Ocean’s 8” and “Crazy Rich Asians” this year, Awkwafina is showing no signs of slowing down.
Speaking with Net-A-Porter’s weekly digital magazine, PorterEdit, the 29-year-old rapper and actress, who became the second-ever woman of Asian descent to host “Saturday Night Live”, opens up about her breakthrough year.
“I always expect it to end tomorrow,” says Awkwafina, formerly known as Nora Lum. “I always expect that all the money I’ve made – not a lot – will disappear and Buzzfeed will write a ‘Whatever happened to…?’ article about me. I’ll be coughing loudly in some cubicle, saying, ‘I was Awkwafina once…'”
Looking back on how her family influenced her larger-than-life stage personality, Awkwafina says that the death of her mother at 4-years-old attributed to her “comedic sensibility.”
The actress explains, “I think I developed and used humour very early as a defence mechanism, to make people around me feel joy instead of sorrow. That was when I started to perform.”
While Awkwafina admits that her father “went crazy” following the release of her 2012 rap song “My Vag”, which ultimately kickstarted her entertainment career, the star says that her grandmother was a little more open-minded when it came to unfiltered sense of humour.
“[My Grandma] really ingrained in me at a young age that it’s okay to be weird,” she says. “She nurtured whatever comedic sensibility that was [in me], because she loved that I was spunky. No joke was ever too dirty, I never got in trouble. I would say vulgar jokes, really lowbrow jokes. She loved them all.”
Breaking boundaries with her role in “Crazy Rich Asians” this year, Awkwafina details the impact the film has had in Hollywood. She says, “In the Asian American community, every year we say, ‘Oh, this is the year, Asian Americans are coming up,’ but it never really happens. And I think this year… it happened.”