Gugu was born in Oxford, England. After Graduating from RADA in 2004 she appeared in TV series Bad Girls, Bonekickers and Doctor Who. In 2013 She starred in Amma Asante's film Belle, playing the eponymous historical character, Dido.Followed by starring in Gina Prince-Bythewood's film Beyond The Lights
Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and the all-star cast of Amma Asante's drama praise the director for attention to detail in their movie.
"I would say she is a genius. She is so direct in what she wanted and I don't think there is any fat on the movie whatsoever," says Sam Reid.