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
Happy Wednesday! You know what that means. It’s that time of the week where you can unabashedly declare which ladies you’ve been hardcore crushing on. At Decider, we like to make a weekly point of saying ‘YAAAS’ to a badass member of team woman, and today our queen is Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the leading lady behind the Will Smithfictionalized NFL critique, Concussion.
Even though it’s a fictionalized take on current events, Concussion doesn’t hold back in its attack on the NFL. According to reviews, Will Smith wears his role as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the real-life pathologist who learned too much about players’ injuries and the league’s neglect, well. However, the film has been getting mixed opinions, primarily due to the stilted intertwining of this epidemic exploration and its immigrant love story subplot. Though the film isn’t living up quite to the standards fans had hoped, Mbatha-Raw’s performance as Prema, Smith’s wife, has knocked us out. Through the judgement of the medical community and her husband’s social pariah status, Prema stands strong and inserts some much-needed humanization into this ambitious film. If this is your first time getting to know Mbatha-Raw, welcome to the fan club. Here’s what you may know her from and what’s next on her acting agenda. (Click any of the links to see where you can stream her filmography).
Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Belle
WHO’S THAT GAL?: Gugu Mbatha-Raw
WHY WE’RE CRUSHING: This British-born actress tackles all of her films with an amount of fierce, understated power that makes us swoon. However, the role we’re most obsessed with is Mbatha-Raw’s star-making performance inBelle. In this period piece, our current fave plays Dido, the daughter of a British Royal Navy officer and an enslaved African woman. As Dido navigates the limitations her family has placed due to her mixed race ancestry, she begins to question everything. It’s Jane Austen with a civil rights twist, but that description hardly covers the power behind this film. Also, Tom Felton makes an appearance, and yes. His character is just as scummy as his Harry Potterdoppelganger, Draco Malfoy.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Doctor Who
WHERE YOU KNOW HER FROM: If you haven’t yet seen Belle or Concussion, you may know Mbatha-Raw from her 2014 role in Beyond the Lights. In the film, she plays a singer who is having a hard time handling her success, and she comes complete with an overbearing mother. However, if your interests stray more toward sci-fi fantasy insanity, you may recognize Mbatha-Raw from her performance in Jupiter Ascending. In this future cult classic you can’t yet handle, she plays Famulus, a half human, half deer chimera who assists in kidnapping Jupiter Jones. Still not ringing any bells? Then you may know her from Doctor Who. Mbatha-Raw played Martha Jones’ sister, Tish, who unknowingly lured Martha and the Tenth Doctor into a trap. Not your finest moment, Mbatha-Raw.
WHERE YOU’LL SEE HER NEXT: In lots of things, actually. In 2016, Mbatha-Raw is returning to the big screen to star in the Civil War slave rebellion film, The Free State of Jones, which also features Matthew McConaughey. Also in 2016, she’s starring in a courtroom, murder drama with Keanu Reeves and Renée Zellweger called The Whole Truth. But what we’re most excited for is Mbatha-Raw’s role in the star-studded 2017 Beauty and the Beast reimagining.