Sonequa Chaunté Martin
March 21, 1985
Russellville, Alabama, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Alabama|
|Years active||2005 – present|
Sonequa Chaunté Martin-Green (//; born March 21, 1985) is an American actress and producer. She is best known for her television roles as Michael Burnham, the main character in the streaming television series Star Trek: Discovery, and as Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead. Before that, she had starred in several independent films before gaining her first recurring role as Courtney Wells on The Good Wife. Later, she had recurring roles as Tamara in Once Upon a Time and Rhonda in New Girl.
Martin-Green was born and raised in Russellville, Alabama. Her parents were Charles Winston Martin (1943–2021) and Vera Lynn Martin-Moore (née Freeman) (1950–2021). Her parents divorced and her mother remarried prior to her death. She has one full sister, NaKisha and three older paternal half-sisters.
She had initially planned to become a psychologist before deciding to pursue a career in acting when she was in the tenth grade. On her decision to become an actor, she said, "I didn't know I was going to be an actor until I was 16. I thought I was going to be a psychologist, which is interesting because it's very similar to acting. I was fascinated with human behavior and why people do what they do. I was in the middle of rehearsal in 10th grade when I had this epiphany. And so I got my theatre degree from the University of Alabama."
After graduating from the University of Alabama in 2007 with a degree in theatre, she relocated to New York City where she and her husband, Kenric, lived for five years before moving to California.
While known primarily for her television roles, Sonequa Martin-Green made her film debut in 2009. In 2009, she played the lead role of Tosha Spinner in Toe to Toe opposite Louisa Krause, the fiercely determined scholarship student who seeks to build a brighter future outside of Anacostia and away from one of Washington's poorest neighborhoods. The film focuses on her friendship and rivalry with Jessie (Louisa Krause), a privileged girl from Bethesda whose promiscuous tendencies threaten to become her undoing. They both strive to gain a better understanding of one another's plight as society threatens to drive them ever farther apart. The film received generally positive reviews, with Martin-Green's performance receiving critical acclaim, even from the film's detractors. In November 2018, it was announced Martin-Green would star in The Outside Story, opposite Brian Tyree Henry, directed by Casimir Nozkowski.
Martin-Green has had various guest and recurring roles in TV shows. She made her television debut in 2008, appearing on NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Kiana Richmond. She then gained her first recurring role on Army Wives as Kanessa Jones the following year. In 2009, she received the role of Courtney Wells on The Good Wife, her first recurring role playing an adult character as opposed to playing a teenager with her previous roles in both film and television. She appeared on the show for two years before making two more appearances in Gossip Girl and NYC 22 in 2011.
In 2012, she was cast in a recurring role on The Walking Dead as Sasha, the sister of Tyreese (Chad Coleman), an original character, exclusive to the television series. Martin-Green auditioned for the role of Michonne albeit with a pseudonym due to the secrecy of the auditioning process. When Danai Gurira, who Martin-Green said was "the perfect choice", was cast, former showrunner Glen Mazzara still wanted Martin-Green to be a part of the show and decided to create a role specifically for her instead. Martin-Green explained: "[Sasha] was supposed to be a recurring character and as we kept going forward, they picked up my option to be a regular. It's very rare and I'm still quite dumbfounded about it but Glen and I hit it off and I still appreciate him. He wanted to work with me and wrote Sasha for me". She was promoted to a series regular for season 4 with Emily Kinney and Coleman.
After auditioning for the role of Michonne, she read the first three volumes of the graphic novels in preparation for the television series. Knowing they were different, she chose not to continue reading the comic book series to avoid being aware of future storylines that may occur on the television series. Martin-Green's performance as Sasha, particularly in the fifth season and seventh season, has received favorable reviews.
After filming for the third season of The Walking Dead ended, Martin-Green was cast in the second season of Once Upon a Time playing the recurring role of Tamara, a woman determined to rid the world of magic. She returned briefly in the third season before returning to her regular role as Sasha on The Walking Dead. As of the first episode of sixth season, Martin-Green's name appears in the opening credits.
In December 2016, her role as the lead actor of Star Trek: Discovery was reported in the trade press and officially confirmed by CBS All Access in April of the following year (after her Walking Dead character featured in her final regular appearance). She debuted as First Officer Michael Burnham in "The Vulcan Hello" on September 24, 2017 and has remained the series central character throughout the three seasons aired by 2020. Martin-Green’s character was described by series co-creater Bryan Fuller as a “lieutenant commander with caveats"... we’ve seen six series from the captain’s point of view,” he explained in early press releases for the show. “To see a character from a [new] perspective on the starship — one who has different dynamic relationships with a captain, with subordinates, it gave us richer context.”
Martin-Green married fellow actor Kenric Green on December 4, 2010. On January 10, 2015, Martin-Green gave birth to a boy named Kenric Justin Green II. Martin-Green was pregnant during filming of the fifth season of The Walking Dead, which she covered up by wearing thick layers of clothing and using larger guns. On July 19, 2020, she gave birth to a girl named Saraiyah Chaunté Green.
On July 13, 2021 Martin-Green announced on Instagram that both her parents had died; her father on April 9 and her mother on April 10 due to unrelated reasons. An obituary revealed her father had a "brief but valiant battle with liver cancer".
|2005||Not Quite Right||Coco Delight|
|2008||Blind Thoughts||Jenna Lopez|
|2009||Toe to Toe||Tosha Spinner|
|Rivers Wash Over Me||Shawna King|
|Yelling to the Sky||Jojo Parker|
|2012||Shockwave Darkside||Private Lang|
|2020||The Outside Story||Isha|
|2021||Space Jam: A New Legacy||Kamiyah James|
|2008||Law & Order: Criminal Intent||Kiana Richmond||Episode: "Legacy"|
|2009||Army Wives||Kanessa Jones||3 episodes|
|2009–2011||The Good Wife||Courtney Wells||8 episodes|
|2011||Gossip Girl||Joanna||Episode: "The Jewel of Denial"|
|2012||NYC 22||Michelle Terry||5 episodes|
|2012–2018||The Walking Dead||Sasha Williams||45 episodes|
|2013||Once Upon a Time||Tamara||7 episodes|
|2016||Lip Sync Battle||Herself||Episode: "Sonequa Martin-Green vs. Lauren Cohan"|
|2016–2017||New Girl||Rhonda||2 episodes|
|2017||Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero||Pirate Maria (voice)||2 episodes|
|2017–present||Star Trek: Discovery||Michael Burnham||42 episodes|
Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television
Saturn Award for Best Actress in Streaming Presentation
|2018||Mirror Michael Burnham|
|2017–2018||After Trek||Herself||Aftershow; 2 episodes|
|2019–2021||The Ready Room||Herself||Aftershow; 4 episodes|
|2021||Invincible||Alana / Green Ghost (voice)||Episode: "It's About Time"|
|2020||Star Trek Online ||Michael Burnham||Episode "Measure of Morality"|
|Fast & Furious Crossroads ||Vienna Cole|
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