What Do You Know Golden Globe Winner Awkwafina from?

She might have missed out on an Academy Award nomination for her Golden Globe-winning performance in The Farewell. But Awkwafina’s career continues its upward momentum. After all, the actress has gone from being a viral sensation to starring in major Hollywood movies in just a few years.

So a little Oscar snub isn’t going to slow her down now. In fact, Awkwafina is well on her way to becoming a household name. Regardless whether they realize it, most moviegoers have already probably caught her in one of the several hit movies she’s appeared in. If you’re an Awkwafina fan or are about to be, here’s what you might know her from.

Awkwafina at a Golden Globe after party
Awkwafina at a Golden Globe after party | Jemal Countess/FilmMagic

Awkwafina started her career in rap

Nowadays, she’s best known as an actress. But Awkwafina’s initial claim to fame was as a rapper. In 2012, her song “My Vag” went viral on YouTube, causing her to lose her day job. Then two years later, Awkwafina self-released her first full-length album, Yellow Ranger, consisting of both new and previously released tracks.

Around that same time, she landed a hosting gig on MTV’s Girl Code. That led to other work on MTV, notably on Girl Code Live and Mary + Jane. In addition to her on-camera work, Awkwafina scored voice roles on Regular Show and the 2016 movie Storks. That very same year, she made her big-screen debut in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising.

In 2018, Awkwafina released her second album, In Fina We Trust. Its release was timed with her new movie, which took her acting career to the next level.

‘Crazy Rich Asian’ and her film work

In summer 2018, Awkwafina starred opposite Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and a stellar ensemble cast in director Gary Ross’s Ocean’s 8. A female-led spinoff of the Ocean’s 11 series, the film went on to make nearly $300 million worldwide. But it was only the first of two hugely successful summer 2018 films for Awkwafina.

Just a couple months after Ocean’s 8, Crazy Rich Asians hit theaters. Awkwafina plays Peik Lin, the quirky college friend of Rachel Chu (Constance Wu). The film — directed by Jon M. Chu — kicked off a phenomenon. While updates have been scarce, fans expect Crazy Rich Asians to eventually lead to sequels, much like the novel the movie is based on.

Thanks to her breakout in 2018, Awkwafina hosted Saturday Night Live that year. Then in 2019, Awkwafina’s movie career continued to grow. She played a voice role in The Angry Birds Movie 2 and a supporting part in Jumanji: The Next Level. Moreover, she lent her voice to two episodes of The Simpsons and Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

But The Farewell was the real standout, earning Awkwafina critical raves and a Golden Globe. As an Asian-American who returns to China in the wake of grim family news, Awkwafina proved she could handle drama as deftly as she does comedy. Writer/director Lulu Wang had given the budding actress exactly the challenge she needed to develop her career.

What Awkwafina has coming next

Now that Awkwafina’s star has officially risen, she’s going back to her roots in a way. On the upcoming Comedy Central series Awkwafina Is Nora from Queens, she plays a fictionalized version of herself. In addition to starring on the show, the actress also serves as a writer and executive producer.

Comedy may be her default, but just in 2019 alone, Awkwafina has proven she’s capable of so much more. We’re not sure exactly what the years ahead will bring for her, aside from a role in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. But we imagine Awkwafina’s not done surprising us with her range and talent. After all, no one could have seen these past two years coming.