Awkwafina in 2018
|Born||1988 (age 29–30)|
New York City, U.S.
|Origin||Queens, New York City|
Lum was born in New York City to an ethnic Chinese American father, Wally, and a South Korean immigrant mother, a painter. 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. Lum's mother died when she was four, and she was raised and influenced heavily by her paternal grandmother.
Lum attended LaGuardia High School where she played the trumpet and was trained in classical and jazz music. 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. Lum majored in journalism and women's studies at the State University of New York at Albany. 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. 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.
Awkwafina began rapping at age 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. Her solo album Yellow Ranger was released on February 11, 2014. The LP includes a number of her previous singles released via YouTube, including the title track "Yellow Ranger", "Queef" and "NYC Bitche$".
She was part of the lineup at Tenacious D's Festival Supreme on October 25, 2014. In 2016, she collaborated with comedian Margaret Cho on "Green Tea", a song that pokes fun at Asian stereotypes.
She released an EP called In Fina We Trust on June 8, 2018.
She was part of the principal cast in the all-female spinoff to the Ocean's Trilogy, Ocean's 8, which was released on June 8, 2018. Also that summer, she co-starred in the film Crazy Rich Asians, by Warner Bros. She played Goh Peik Lin, a college friend of lead character Rachel Chu (Constance Wu).
In 2014, Awkwafina was added to the cast of the third season of Girl Code, appearing in six episodes of the third and fourth seasons. In 2015, she served as a co-host with TV personality Nessa and comedian Carly Aquilino for the spin-off titled Girl Code Live on MTV.
Awkwafina was the host of a self-created short-form web series "Tawk", which was an Official Honoree at the 2016 Webby Awards and was nominated for a 2016 Streamy Award in the News and Culture category.
Awkwafina is profiled in the 2016 documentary Bad Rap, which was an official selection at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Produced by Salima Koroma and Jaeki Cho, the film puts the spotlight on her as well as upcoming fellow Asian-American rappers such as Dumbfoundead, Rekstizzy, and Lyricks. She hosted the 2018 iHeartRadio MMVAs.
Awkwafina has expressed support for Time's Up, a movement started by Hollywood celebrities against sexual harassment. She has also advocated for the need for more female directors and against the stereotyping of Asians in media. She has rejected roles that require accents.
Awkwafina was honored as Kore Asian Media's Female Breakout of the Year in December 2017.
Awkwafina was featured in Gap's "Logo Remix" campaign, which featured up-and-coming artists who "are remixing creative culture on their own terms," such as SZA, Sabrina Claudio and Naomi Watanabe.
|In Fina We Trust||
|"My Vag"||2012||Non-album single|
|"NYC Bitche$"||2013||Yellow Ranger|
|"Mayor Bloomberg (Giant Margaritas)"|
|"Green Tea" (feat. Margaret Cho)||2016||Non-album single|
|"Pockiez"||2018||In Fina We Trust|
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|2016||Bad Rap||Herself||Salima Koroma||Documentary|
|2016||Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising||Christine||Nicholas Stoller|
|2016||Storks||Quail||Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland|
|2018||Ocean's 8||Constance||Gary Ross|
|2018||Crazy Rich Asians||Goh Peik Lin||Jon M. Chu|
|2019||Paradise Hills||Yu||Alice Waddington|
|2019||The Angry Birds Movie 2||TBA||Mark Thurop Van Orman|
|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|
says Lum, who has just turned 30.