Musician and actress Awkwafina (born Nora Lum) may be known for making people laugh, but her origins are tinged with sadness. Her mother died when she was just 4 years old, according to People Magazine, where she wrote of encountering so many sad family members, “So I tried to do this sideshow of, ‘Hey, let me make you laugh.’ I needed people to feel joy. That’s (how) all this began. I was the class clown all the way.”
Awkwafina Net Worth: $8 Million
The singer-actress is worth an estimated $8 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Early Life and Identity
She is Chinese on her father’s side and Korean on her mother’s. Her stage name “Awkwafina” is something she came up with at the age of 16, a nod to how awkward she felt in real life.
Her penchant for humor has played well in many of her career moves, including the spoof song/video on YouTube that put her on the map, “My Vag,” which caused her to lose her publicity job but heralded the beginning of careers in both music and film. She used the name she’d created for herself, Awkwafina, on the video and that’s what people began to call her.
She said in an interview with Refinery29 that taking on the other name was like slipping into a new identity. “She comes in, and in many ways, she represents that universal aspect of confidence — that voice you kind of reach into when you need to pick yourself up.”
Despite her father’s urging to get a more stable job, Awkwafina pursued entertainment as a career, according to Biography.
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First Came Music
Awkwafina was drawn to music early on and played the trumpet in school, “because it was the loudest instrument available,” according to Biography. She was talented enough to get into Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School, the school credited with inspiring both the film and TV show “Fame.” However, she didn’t pursue trumpet past high school and instead began messing around with Garage Band on her own.
After the success of “My Vag,” Awkwafina recorded other songs, including “NYC Bitche$” and “Giant Margaritas.” She produced an album called “Yellow Ranger” in 2014. Next, she worked with comedian and writer Margaret Cho to make “Green Tea” in 2016, a parody of Asian stereotypes. Awkwafina was also featured in “Bad Rap,” a documentary that followed her and three other Asian American rappers. Her album “In Fina We Trust” came out in 2018.
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Then Came Film
Soon, Awkwafina’s talents were noticed by Hollywood. She appeared in the television series “Girl Code” in 2014, and the movies “Bad Neighbors 2,” “Ocean’s 8” and “Dude.” Not long after she put out her second studio album “In Fina We Trust” in 2018, she made waves when she appeared in the super popular movie “Crazy Rich Asians.” She also hosted “Saturday Night Live.” Since then, she’s appeared in “Jumanji: The Next Level,” “Raya and the Last Dragon” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
In 2020, Awkwafina co-created the Comedy Central series “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens,” which she wrote and executive produced.
Awkwafina has purchased two homes, a $2.27 million townhouse in West Hollywood and a $3.5 million home in Bel Air, Los Angeles.
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