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Awkwafina in 2018
Background information
Birth nameNora Lum
Born1988 (age 29–30)
New York City, U.S.
OriginQueens, New York City
  • Rapper
  • actress
Years active2011–present
Associated actsDumbfoundead

Nora Lum (born 1988),[1] known by the stage name Awkwafina, is an American rapper and actress. She appeared in the films Ocean's 8 and Crazy Rich Asians.

Early life[edit]

Lum was born in New York City[2] to an ethnic Chinese American father, Wally,[3] and a South Korean immigrant mother, a painter.[4][5][6] She grew up in Forest Hills, Queens. One of her paternal great-grandfathers was a Chinese immigrant in the 1940s who opened the Cantonese restaurant Lum’s in Flushing, Queens.[7] Lum's mother died when she was four, and she was raised and influenced heavily by her paternal grandmother.[8]

Lum attended LaGuardia High School where she played the trumpet and was trained in classical and jazz music.[9][10] At age 16, she adopted the stage name Awkwafina, "definitely a person I repressed" and an alter ego to her "quiet and more passive" personality during her college years.[11][12][13] Lum majored in journalism and women's studies at the State University of New York at Albany.[10] From 2006 to 2008, Lum attended Beijing Language and Culture University in China, where she studied Mandarin.

Lum says Charles Bukowski, Anaïs Nin, Joan Didion, Tom Waits, and Chet Baker were early influences.[14] Prior to her career in entertainment, she was an intern at local New York publications Gotham Gazette and Times Union, and was a publicity assistant for publishing house Rodale.[12]



Awkwafina began rapping at age 13.[13] In 2012, she gained popularity for her song "My Vag", a response to Mickey Avalon's "My Dick". The music video has garnered over three million views on YouTube.[15] Her solo album Yellow Ranger was released on February 11, 2014.[16] The LP includes a number of her previous singles released via YouTube, including the title track "Yellow Ranger", "Queef" and "NYC Bitche$".

She was part of the lineup at Tenacious D's Festival Supreme on October 25, 2014.[17] In 2016, she collaborated with comedian Margaret Cho on "Green Tea", a song that pokes fun at Asian stereotypes.[18]

She released an EP called In Fina We Trust on June 8, 2018.[19]


Feature films[edit]

In 2016, Awkwafina played a supporting role in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and starred in the indie comedy Dude.[20][21] She also voiced the role of Quail in the 2016 animated comedy Storks.

In April 2018, Awkwafina was announced as part of the cast of Paradise Hills, a sci-fi thriller directed by Alice Waddington and featuring Emma Roberts, Eiza Gonzalez and Danielle Macdonald.[22]

She was part of the principal cast in the all-female spinoff to the Ocean's Trilogy, Ocean's 8, which was released on June 8, 2018. Also that summer, she co-starred in the film Crazy Rich Asians, by Warner Bros. She played Goh Peik Lin, a college friend of lead character Rachel Chu (Constance Wu).[23]

Television and web series[edit]

In 2014, Awkwafina was added to the cast of the third season of Girl Code, appearing in six episodes of the third and fourth seasons.[24] In 2015, she served as a co-host with TV personality Nessa and comedian Carly Aquilino for the spin-off titled Girl Code Live on MTV.[25]

Awkwafina was the host of a self-created short-form web series "Tawk", which was an Official Honoree at the 2016 Webby Awards and was nominated for a 2016 Streamy Award in the News and Culture category.[26]

She has a recurring role in the Hulu original series Future Man, which was released in November 2017.[27]

Awkwafina hosted the October 6, 2018 episode of Saturday Night Live, with musical guest Travis Scott.[28]


Awkwafina is profiled in the 2016 documentary Bad Rap, which was an official selection at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Produced by Salima Koroma and Jaeki Cho, the film puts the spotlight on her as well as upcoming fellow Asian-American rappers such as Dumbfoundead, Rekstizzy, and Lyricks.[29][30] She hosted the 2018 iHeartRadio MMVAs.[31]


In 2015, publisher Potter Style, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, released Awkwafina's NYC, Awkwafina's travel guide to New York City.[32]


Awkwafina has expressed support for Time's Up, a movement started by Hollywood celebrities against sexual harassment. She has also advocated for the need for more female directors and against the stereotyping of Asians in media. She has rejected roles that require accents.[33]

Awkwafina was honored as Kore Asian Media's Female Breakout of the Year in December 2017.[34]

Awkwafina was featured in Gap's "Logo Remix" campaign, which featured up-and-coming artists who "are remixing creative culture on their own terms," such as SZA, Sabrina Claudio and Naomi Watanabe.[35]

Personal life[edit]

Awkwafina lives in Brooklyn.[36]


Studio albums[edit]

Title Details
Yellow Ranger
  • Released: February 11, 2014
  • Label: self-released
  • Format: Digital download
In Fina We Trust
  • Released: June 8, 2018
  • Label: self-released
  • Format: Digital download


Title Year Album
"My Vag" 2012 Non-album single
"NYC Bitche$" 2013 Yellow Ranger
"Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margaritas)"
"Daydreamin'" 2014 Non-album single
"Green Tea" (feat. Margaret Cho) 2016 Non-album single
"Pockiez" 2018 In Fina We Trust



Films that have not yet been released Denotes films that have not yet been released
Year Title Role Director Notes
2016 Bad Rap Herself Salima Koroma Documentary
2016 Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Christine Nicholas Stoller
2016 Storks Quail Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
2018 Dude Rebecca Olivia Milch
2018 Ocean's 8 Constance Gary Ross
2018 Crazy Rich Asians Goh Peik Lin Jon M. Chu
2019 Paradise Hills Films that have not yet been released Yu Alice Waddington
2019 The Angry Birds Movie 2 Films that have not yet been released TBA Mark Thurop Van Orman


Year Title Role Notes
2014–2015 Girl Code Herself 6 episodes of season 3, 4
2015 Girl Code Live Herself Co-host
2016 Regular Show Apple 2 episodes
2017 Future Man Woman at Video Game Store
2018 Saturday Night Live Herself (host) 1 episode

See also[edit]


  1. ^ de Bertodano, Helena (June 17, 2018). "Awkwafina: 'I was always the crazy one, the funny one. I'd do anything for a laugh'". The Guardian. says Lum, who has just turned 30.
  2. ^ "Awkwafina is changing hip-hop one vulgar, hilarious lyric at a time". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "Twitter". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  4. ^ "Nora Lum – Immigration Paper, University at Albany, SUNY" (PDF). Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  5. ^ Lee, Traci (August 26, 2014). "How Nora Lum Became Rapper Awkwafina Instead of A Meat Inspector". NBC News. NBC UNIVERSAL. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  6. ^ "5 Things to Know About 'Ocean's Eight' Star Awkwafina". February 25, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  7. ^ "5 Things to Know About 'Ocean's Eight' Star Awkwafina". Us Weekly. February 25, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  8. ^ "September Cover Story: Awkwafina Establishing Her Presence | KoreAm Journal". Retrieved May 1, 2016.
  9. ^ Trinh, Jean (March 14, 2013). "Meet Awkwafina: an Asian Female Rapper on Vaginas, Tackling Racism & More". The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC. Retrieved April 24, 2013.
  10. ^ a b "Awkwafina". New York State Writers Institute. University of Albany. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Awkwafina Won't Let You Forget Her Name". The Ringer. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Oceans Eight Star Awkwafina On Her Makeup Essentials". Into The Gloss. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Awkwafina Got Fired From Her Office Job After Writing a Song Called "My Vag"". Galore. March 29, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  14. ^ "13 Awkward Questions With Rapper Awkwafina - Mochi Mag". Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  15. ^ Court Dunn (October 11, 2012). "Awkwafina "My Vag" (Official Video)". Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  16. ^ "Awkwafina". Discogs. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  17. ^ Blistein, Jon (May 27, 2014). "Tenacious D Combine Jokes and Jams for 2014 Festival Supreme Lineup". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  18. ^ Awkwafina x Margaret Cho - GREEN TEA.
  19. ^ Ting, Jasmine. "Awkwafina Announces New EP, 'In Fina We Trust'". PAPER. Retrieved June 2, 2018.
  20. ^ "Rapper Awkwafina Joins 'Neighbors' Sequel". NBC News. Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  21. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. "Indie Comedy 'Dude' Rounds Out Lead Cast With Trio Of Actresses". Retrieved March 14, 2016.
  22. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (April 2, 2018). "Milla Jovovich & More Join Emma Roberts In 'Paradise Hills'". Deadline. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  23. ^ "'Crazy Rich Asians' Adds Awkwafina". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  24. ^ Stedman, Alex (October 1, 2014). "Q&A: Girl Code Creator Ryan Ling on Season 3, Social Media and New Comedians". Variety.
  25. ^ "5 Things You Should Know About 'Ocean's 8' Star Awkwafina". Billboard. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  26. ^ Spangler, Todd (October 3, 2016). "Go90 Reups Awkwafina's 'Tawk' for Seasons 4 and 5, But Is Verizon's Service Struggling to Win Fans?". Variety. Retrieved August 18, 2018.
  27. ^ "Hulu's Future Man is fun but doesn't level up: EW review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  28. ^ Retrieved October 7, 2018. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Frydenlund, Zach (May 24, 2014). "Premiere: Watch a Sneak Peek of the "Bad Rap" Documentary". Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  30. ^ "Jackie Joe movie 'Bad Rap' ... Life of Korean hip-hop musicians in documentary 재키 조 제작 영화 '배드 랩'…다큐로 보는 한인 힙합 뮤지션들의 삶 [LA중앙일보] 랩퍼 4인 활동과 고민에 초점 장편 완성 위한 후원 기다려". Korea Daily (in Korean). LA Joongang Daily. May 23, 2014. Archived from the original on May 31, 2014. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  31. ^ Lee, Cliff (August 22, 2018). "'The summer of Awkwafina': The Crazy Rich Asians star on hosting the MMVAs". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved August 24, 2018.
  32. ^ "Awkwafina's Guide Book Shows the New York City You've Never Seen". NBC. Retrieved October 25, 2017.
  33. ^ "Rapper and Actress Awkwafina on Being a Rare Asian-American in Hollywood". Broadly. May 26, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  34. ^ "Unforgettable Female Breakout of the Year: Awkwafina". Kore Asian Media. November 16, 2017. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  35. ^ "Awkwafina Joins the "Now Generation" for Gap Logo Remix Campaign". Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  36. ^ "Nora Lum". Penguin Random House. Retrieved April 3, 2018.

External links[edit]