Star Of "The Underground Railroad," Thuso Mbedu, Has Landed — Here Are 20 Facts To Know
"This is what I was created to do."
She's been well-known overseas for a few years now... We just needed to do some catching up!
1. She was born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
2. Her grandmother raised her.
Her mother passed away when she was a young child, and she didn't have a relationship with her father. Her grandma was slow to come around to Thuso's pursuit of acting—not speaking to her for a month after she announced her intention—but eventually came around.
3. She's been nominated for two International Emmys.
4. She's a really big deal in South Africa (and now here!)
5. She originally wanted to be a dermatologist.
Growing up she experienced seasonal allergies that caused her skin to swell, and she wanted to help keep others from suffering.
6. In a high school drama class she experienced the storytelling of acting as a healing art.
7. She celebrates special career accomplishments with buying a new pair of sneakers.
8. She's the first South African actor to play the lead in an American series.
Making history over here!
9. Her audition for The Underground Railroad got so wild one of her contacts flipped inside out.
She definitely wasn't holding back.
11. She got so deep into research about slavery she had to force herself to take breaks.
She went into a wormhole about the US's dark, 400-year history with slavery, immersing herself in audio and written accounts of the time. Says Mbedu, “Because of the dark and heavy nature, I constantly had to tell myself to step away and take a break."
12. The character of Cora started to blur into her waking life.
13. She had to put her character on pause for several months due to COVID.
Part of the series had been shot, but some of the most emotional scenes had not. She says, "It was tricky navigating those months because I couldn’t completely say goodbye to the character. I had to keep her at the back of my mind, but I could not afford to be interacting with her on any deep level because of the weight of the character."
14. During lockdown, she homeschooled her nieces.
Lucky gals! She also spent the downtime writing screenplays(!) and doing taped auditions.
15. She got a special message from Oprah!
16. She already has her next big gig, acting alongside queen Viola Davis.
17. She would love to work with Taraji P. Henson.
I think everyone can agree that would be a power duo to remember. (Movie gods, can you get this going?)