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Date TimeSeptember 07, 2019
VoiceNora Lum is the comic-turned-star of The Farewell. She talks China, family and diversity in the film industry
Awkwafina: Growing up, I latched on to strong Asian-American idols
Nora Lum’s voice is deep and distinctive – a husky New York drawl that rings with both world-weariness and barely constrained mirth. That voice, which Lum – who goes by the name of her outlandish rap alter ego Awkwafina, a moniker inspired by her general awkwardness – has said makes her sound like a “58-year-old divorce attorney” or “Satan”, is now her calling card.
It is the connective tissue that runs through her decidedly scattershot career. You can hear it on the 30-year-old’s comedy-rap records, in her stint as a talkshow host, during her winningly bonkers turn in Crazy Rich Asians and her poignant performance in this summer’s US box-office hit The Farewell. Soon, it will be reaching millions more ears thanks to her lead roles in blockbuster Disney property (Raya and the Last Dragon and the live-action The Little Mermaid, if you believe the rumours), the new SpongeBob SquarePants movie, and her autobiographical, eponymous Comedy Central sitcom.

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