Awkwafina (Nora Lum from birth) is finally arriving at a place in her career where she feels deserving of the accolades and praise she's received for years. (Though, we knew she deserved it all along.) This sense of contentment is long overdue, but the lack of self-assuredness perhaps came from the fact that growing up, Awkwafina says she convinced herself she wasn't ambitious. That is, until she found something that made her ambitious.
"My whole life, I convinced myself that I was not ambitious, because I wasn't confronted with the things that I would eventually become ambitious for," she tells InStyle's editor-in-chief Laura Brown during this weeks episode of Ladies First with Laura Brown. "I battled with imposter syndrome, especially early on in my career. And this is the first year where I'm really starting to confront that in a real way. I know that I work hard. I don't know for sure that I'm good at what I do, but I know for sure that I work hard, really hard."
And while she has finally accepted that she deserves to be where she is, she's not forgetting her roots — don't worry she's still "Nora from Queens," whom, by the way, is completely different than Awkwafina. The way she describes it? "Nora is the quiet one. And then Awkwafina is the crazy one." Although, that's not the only difference.
"My whole relationship with Awkwafina is different than I think what people initially think, which is that she represents the funner version of you," she says. "When I think about Awkwafina, I think about me being at a time in my life where I was chasing creative pursuits. And I thought of a name that was completely found in my own head, from the spelling to what it meant."
Awkwafina On Warmth: Episode 16: March 16, 2021
Durations: 34:55 minutes
This podcast may contain cursing that would not be appropriate for listeners under 14. Discretion is advised.
And they (both Nora and Awkwafina) are still working to discover where their sense of self comes from. Does it come from the streets of New York City and Queens where Nora was brought up? Or is it Awkwafina's presence, success, and sense of humor?
"We're all still trying to figure out, what gives us that sense of self rather than what is prescribed to us, you know?" she tells Brown. "And I think in the early beginning it was, 'Get a good job, make good money, do that thing, make your parents happy,' which I still want to do, but I want to do my thing, too."
And she certainly has made waves in the entertainment industry on her own accord. For example, being the first Asian-American female Asian American woman to win Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (for her role in The Farewell) is a pretty big deal. So perhaps it is possible to do your own thing and still please your parents. Oh, and her grandma's proud too. But in her opinion, Awkwafina already peaked with her first viral video that put her on the map.
"Well, 'My Vag,' she always says that was the best video I've ever made. And she's seen my videos I've put out, but she was like, 'Hmm, not as good.'" she jokes. "The other day, she saw my Super Bowl commercial and she was like, 'Alright, is that it?' And I'm like, 'What do you mean?' And she's like, 'Yeah, no more, right?' And I'm like, 'No, just, just that one,' and she was like, 'Alright, I'm going to sleep.'"
Listen to the full episode and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts. And tune in weekly to Ladies First with Laura Brown hosted by InStyle's editor in chief Laura Brown, who speaks to guests like Michelle Pfeiffer, Emily Ratajkowski, Cynthia Erivo, Naomi Watts, La La Anthony, Ellen Pompeo, Rep. Katie Porter, and more to discuss current events, politics, some fashion, and, most importantly, the major firsts in their lives.
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