Favorite Actresses of Color

by renisanz | created - 03 Aug 2015 | updated - 03 Aug 2015 | Public

1. Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Actress | Belle

Gugu Mbatha-Raw was born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, England. Her father, Patrick Mbatha, is a Black South African doctor, and her mother, Anne Raw, is a Caucasian English nurse. Her parents separated when she was a year old, and she was brought up by her mother ...

2. Viola Davis

Actress | Fences

Actress Viola Davis was born on her grandmother's farm, at the then-Singleton Plantation in St. Matthews, South Carolina. When she was two months old her family moved to Central Falls, Rhode Island, where her father, Dan Davis, worked as a horse groomer and trainer. Her mother, Mary Alice (Logan), ...

3. Eva Mendes

Actress | Hitch

Eva Mendes was born in Miami, Florida but raised in Los Angeles, California of Cuban-American heritage. In college, she began acting, studying underneath acting coach Ivana Chubbuck. This led to her desire to appear in feature films. Though taking many smaller roles in movies, she was little known ...

4. Michelle Rodriguez

Actress | Avatar

Known for tough-chick roles, Michelle Rodriguez is proof that there is a cross between beauty and brawn. She was born Mayte Michelle Rodriguez on July 12, 1978, in Bexar County, Texas, to Carmen Milady Pared Espinal, from the Dominican Republic, and Rafael Rodríguez Santiago, who served in the U.S....

5. Dichen Lachman

Actress | Lust for Love

Dichen Lachman was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, to a Tibetan mother and Australian father. Until the age of seven, she lived in Kathmandu with her parents and extended family. Following that, she moved to Adelaide, Australia, with her parents. After dropping out of university, Dichen took up acting ...

6. Naomie Harris

Actress | Moonlight

British actress Naomie Harris was born in London, England, the only child of television scriptwriter Lisselle Kayla. Her father is from Trinidad and her mother is from Jamaica. They separated before she was born, and Harris was raised by her mother and has no relationship with her father. She ...

7. Keke Palmer

Actress | Grease Live!

Keke Palmer was born Lauren Keyana Palmer in Harvey, Illinois, a south suburb of Chicago, to Sharon and Larry Palmer, both former actors. Palmer showed vocal promise as a five-year-old, when she belted out "Jesus Loves Me" in her church choir. A year later the singer-actress had a solo in her ...

8. Angela Bassett

Actress | Strange Days

Captivating, gifted, and sensational, Angela Bassett's presence has been felt in theaters, stages, and television screens throughout the world. Angela Evelyn Bassett was born on August 16, 1958 in New York City, to Betty Jane (Gilbert), a social worker, and Daniel Benjamin Bassett, a preacher's son...

9. Ruth Negga

Actress | Loving

Ruth Negga was born on January 7, 1982 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She is an actress and producer, known for Loving (2016), Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (2013) and World War Z (2013).

10. Amandla Stenberg

Actress | The Hate U Give

Named for the Zulu and Xhosa word for "power," Amandla was born in Los Angeles, California, to Karen Brailsford, a writer, and Tom Stenberg, a businessman. Her mother is African-American and her father is Danish (and of part Inuit-Greenlandic ancestry).

In the summer and fall of 2010, she shot her ...

11. Gabrielle Union

Actress | Bring It On

Gabrielle Union was born on October 29, 1972, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Theresa (Glass), who managed a phone company, and Sylvester E. Union, a military sergeant and business executive. When she was eight, her family moved to Pleasanton, California, where she grew up and attended high school. There, ...

12. Nicole Beharie

Actress | Shame

Nicole Beharie is an American actress.

Her critically acclaimed film debut was in the film American Violet (2008) alongside Alfre Woodard, Tim Blake Nelson and Will Patton. Beharie also played Ernie Davis' girlfriend in the movie The Express (2008). Her upcoming projects include My Last Day Without ...

13. Ming-Na Wen

Actress | Mulan

Ming-Na ("enlightenment") was born on the island of Macau, forty miles from Hong Kong. Her mother, Lin Chan Wen, divorced her father when Ming-Na was only a toddler. She has an older brother named Jonathan. After the divorce, they moved to Hong Kong where her mother became a nurse. There her mother...

14. Q'orianka Kilcher

Actress | The New World

At fourteen years old, Q'orianka Kilcher emerged into the front ranks of young actresses with her portrayal of Pocahontas opposite Colin Farrell and Christian Bale in Terrence Malick's 'The New World', an epic about the encounter between English and North American societies in the early 1600s. Her ...

15. Nia Long

Actress | Big Momma's House

Stunning pop culture icon, Hollywood leading lady and three-time NAACP award winner Nia Long returns to the big screen this fall in the highly anticipated Universal Pictures sequel The Best Man Holiday (in theaters November 15th) where she reunites with original castmates Taye Diggs ("Private ...

16. Tamlyn Tomita

Actress | The Day After Tomorrow

Tamlyn Tomita was born on January 27, 1966 in Okinawa, Japan as Tamlyn Naomi Tomita. She is an actress, known for The Day After Tomorrow (2004), The Eye (2008) and The Karate Kid Part II (1986).

17. Meagan Good

Actress | Think Like a Man

Meagan Monique Good was born on 8 August 1981 in Panorama City, California, USA, to Tyra Wardlow-Doyle, who worked as her manager, and Leondis "Leon" Good, an LAPD officer. She began appearing on commercials at the age of four. Then she started guest-starring on series like The Parent 'Hood (1995), ...

18. Candice Patton

Actress | The Flash

Raised in Plano, Texas, Candice continued her childhood dream of becoming an actress by attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Theatre. It was here that she was scouted by The Young and the Restless for a CBS Soap Star Contest and flew ...

19. Zoe Saldana

Actress | Guardians of the Galaxy

Zoe Saldana was born on June 19, 1978 in Passaic, New Jersey, to Asalia Nazario and Aridio Saldaña. Her father was Dominican and her mother is Puerto Rican. She was raised in Queens, New York. When she was 10 years old, she and her family moved to the Dominican Republic, where they would live for ...

20. Salli Richardson-Whitfield

Actress | Eureka

Classy, graceful, & intelligent, Salli Elise Richardson was born November 23, 1967, in Chicago, Illinois. Salli's acting career was first nurtured in the theater and, ever since, she has been on a non-stop journey to success. Her first feature performance was in 1991 as "Denise" in Up Against the ...

21. Parminder Nagra

Actress | Bend It Like Beckham

Parminder Nagra was born on October 5, 1975 in Leicester, Leicestershire, England as Parminder Kaur Nagra. She is an actress, known for Bend It Like Beckham (2002), ER (1994) and Ella Enchanted (2004). She was previously married to James Stenson.

22. Hye-Kyo Song

Actress | Yi dai zong shi

Hye-Kyo Song was born on November 22, 1981 in South Korea. She is an actress, known for The Grandmaster (2013), Hwang Jin-yi (2007) and Parang-juuibo (2005). She has been married to Joong-Ki Song since October 31, 2017.

23. Audra McDonald

Actress | Beauty and the Beast

Audra McDonald was born on July 3, 1970 in Berlin, Germany as Audra Ann McDonald. She is an actress, known for Beauty and the Beast (2017), Private Practice (2007) and A Raisin in the Sun (2008). She has been married to Will Swenson since October 6, 2012. They have one child. She was previously ...

24. Keisha Castle-Hughes

Actress | Whale Rider

Keisha Castle-Hughes was born on March 24, 1990 in Donnybrook, Western Australia, Australia. She is an actress and producer, known for Whale Rider (2002), Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) and The Nativity Story (2006). She was previously married to Jonathan Morrison.

25. Regina Hall

Actress | Scary Movie

Regina Hall was born December 12, 1970 in Washington, D.C., to Ruby, a teacher, and Odie Hall, a contractor. She graduated from Fordham University in 1992, and went on to earn a master's degree in journalism from New York University before shifting to an acting career. In 1997 at age 26, she began ...

26. Erika Alexander

Actress | Get Out

Actress/writer Erika Alexander (Living Single, The Cosby Show, Beyond, Queen Sugar), appeared in the Academy Award-winning film, Get Out. In 2017, she launched a multi-platform content company called Color Farm Media. Her new banner's slate of film, television and digital projects features diverse ...

27. Aisha Hinds

Actress | The Next Three Days

When Aisha Hinds' junior high school tap dance instructor observed that she needed an outlet for expression that surpassed her tap shoes, she was guided to the High School of Performing Arts in New York - where her formal acting training began.

Hinds' numerous television credits include a supporting...

28. Reshma Shetty

Actress | Royal Pains

Reshma Shetty was born on November 2, 1977 in Manchester, England, UK to Hindu parents. She was raised in England and Richmond, Virginia in the United States. She is a graduate of the famed Opera department at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. On stage, Reshma received rave reviews in 2006 for ...

29. Sherri Saum

Actress | In Treatment

Sherri Saum was born on October 1, 1974 in Dayton, Ohio, USA as Sherri M. Saum. She is an actress and producer, known for In Treatment (2008), The Fosters (2013) and How to Get Away with Murder (2014).

30. Shohreh Aghdashloo

Actress | House of Sand and Fog

Shohreh Aghdashloo was born Shohreh Vaziri-Tabar on May 11, 1952 in Tehran, Iran. In the 1970s at age 20, she achieved nationwide stardom in her homeland of Iran, starring in some prominent pictures such as Gozaresh (1977) directed by the renowned Abbas Kiarostami, which won critics awards at the ...

31. Hannah Simone

Actress | New Girl

Hannah Simone stars on FOX's hit series, New Girl (2011), opposite Zooey Deschanel. Simone hosted HGTV Canada's popular design show, "Space for Living", before moving onto Canada's largest music channel, "MuchMusic". After MuchMusic, Simone moved to Los Angeles, where she hosted two seasons of WCG ...

32. Antonia Thomas

Actress | The Good Doctor

Antonia Thomas is an English actress. She is best known for her work in the TV series Misfits, Lovesick and the The Good Doctor.

She studied for a Bachelor of Arts in acting at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, graduating in 2009, and then joined the National Youth Theatre.

Her acting debut was in ...

33. Paula Patton

Actress | Precious

Paula Patton was born in Los Angeles, California, to Joyce (Vanraden) and Charles Patton. Her father is African-American and her mother, who is caucasian, has German, English, and Dutch ancestry. Her family lived across the street from the 20th Century Fox lot when she was growing up and she was a ...

34. Carmen Ejogo

Actress | Selma

Carmen Elizabeth Ejogo was born in Kensington, London, England, to a Nigerian father and a Scottish mother. Her television career began in the United Kingdom in the early 1990s, where she presented the children's series Saturday Disney (1990). Subsequently, she has had an acting career in the ...

35. Madeleine Mantock

Actress | Charmed

Madeleine Mantock is a British actress. She is known for her television work on the AMC series Into the Badlands and The CW revival of The Tomorrow People, as well as her film work on Edge of Tomorrow. Madeleine attended Arts Educational Schools, London where she obtained her BA in Musical Theater.

...

36. Aja Naomi King

Actress | The Birth of a Nation

King appeared in several short films before landing guest roles on the CBS procedurals Blue Bloods and Person of Interest. Her big break came in 2012 when she was cast as new surgical intern Cassandra Kopelson on the CW drama Emily Owens, M.D. The series was canceled after a single season in 2013. ...

37. Tika Sumpter

Actress | Southside with You

Tika Sumpter was born in New York and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College. Sumpter began her career as model, before she landed the role of "Layla Williamson" in ABC's daytime soap opera, One Life to Live (1968) (2005-2010, 2011).

After she left the soap, Sumpter won a recurring role in the ...



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