As we now all know, Awkwafina was one of many who was overlooked by the Academy. Obviously not everyone can score an Oscar nomination but there were some high expectations for the rapper-turned-actress, especially since she just came off a Golden Globes win for her turn in The Farewell.
Some people might dwell on being snubbed but Awkwafina was gracious about it. Considering The Farewell came out a year ago, she is grateful for how far the film went and where she is now — which is looking ahead. Her first post-awards season project is Awkwafina is Nora From Queens (which premieres on Much on Jan. 22 at 10:30 p.m. ET) and considering the title, some have wondered whether she would drop her stage name in favour of her given moniker, Nora Lum, going forward. While the Crazy Rich Asians actress doesn’t see it happening “right now,” she isn’t opposed, either. Yet she’s going to ride it out as Awkwafina a little while longer.
“I created Awkwafina when I was a kid,” she told The New York Times. “What she represents to me is more than a persona — in the very beginning, I did see her as the confident one, the side that comes out that gives Nora the panic attacks. The ‘Drop Dead Fred,'” referring to the 1991 movie about a young woman’s rambunctious imaginary friend who resurfaces to turn the life of his childhood pal upside down. “But as I’ve grown older I’ve come to really be grateful for that name and what I’ve seen it written on. To see her name on a chair back or on a call sheet, that means a lot to me. I don’t think that I could shed her right now.”
View this post on Instagram
Rapper, comedian, and actress—not to mention Golden Globe winner—@Awkwafina gets candid about her case of dual identities: “I’m constantly flabbergasted at the situations that I’ve ended up in. Just disbelief, starstruck, all that.” Read our full conversation with The Farewell star at the link in bio. – Photographed by @ethanjamesgreen Styled by @samiranasr
Lum adopted “Awkwafina” — a take on awkward-fina — when she was 15, telling Into the Gloss in 2017 that the name “definitely [refers to] a person I repressed,” and was reminiscent of that “crazy high school kid that doesn’t really care about anything.” So, basically, nothing like Nora, who has admitted just how awkward she really is.
But when introducing herself to visitors on her Nora From Queens set, it’s never “Awkwafina” but “Nora.” Awkwafina is more of a personality; Nora’s the person. And in the industry in which she works, sometimes it can be more about a person’s traits than the person herself.
But perhaps the transition will come sooner rather than later. When asked by Vanity Fair if she plans on reintroducing herself to public more as herself, she referred to when she first started as Awkwafina there was that “distinct duality” but now that she’s getting older, she conceded that they’re now the same person, just “This is the one that this one hides behind, you know?”
Awkwafina’s future looks bright, what with Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as well as Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid in the works. As far as Asian-Americans getting their due, Awkwafina is loving that there’s more of a demand for generations “to see themselves represented in some way in their culture.”
She added: “This is just the tipping point. There’s not a lot of me right now. There’s going to be more.” And whether it’s as Awkwafina or Nora, we can’t wait.
View this post on Instagram