Awkwafina has spent most of her career struggling but never gave up on her dream — now she wants to inspire others to strive to achieve their own dreams.
The Crazy Rich Asians actress, 29, shared an emotional tweet on Monday — two days before the highly anticipated premiere of her upcoming film — and shared an inside look into her rollercoaster ride to Hollywood’s A-list, which began with the release of a YouTube video she made in 2012.
The actress, who birth name is Nora Lum, said she knew the video “probably wouldn’t do well — and it would make me the laughing stock of every job interview ever.”
Despite knowing the possible outcome, she didn’t let that stop her from continuing to create content.
“I wrote a song called NYC Bitches while making $9/hr at a vegan bodega. After it went on YouTube, a man came in asked if I was Awkwafina — it made me so happy,” she wrote. “One day, I got the email of my life. An A&R exec at a major record label wanted to meet with me.”
“I listed to Dreams by Fleetwood Mac on the way to the meeting. He listened to two of my songs and never called again,” Awkwafina explained.
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“[Five] years later, I’m in an Escalade in a gown, driving down Hollywood Blvd that they shut down for Crazy Rich Asians. And I asked the driver for the aux to play Dreams by Fleetwood Mac,” she tweeted. “I became teary, thinking about this moment, what it meant.”
“I remembered those days when I got fired from my job for Awkwafina, when I was broke for Awkwafina, when I got kicked off line-ups because “Awkwafina is a joke.” Awkwafina was a dream I was chasing, and in some ways, I am still chasing her,” she continued, speaing of her stage persona.
“But we need to take risks. We need to go broke. We need to prove them wrong, simply by not giving up. Awkwafina wasn’t supposed to exist, but somehow she does. And I think about it everyday, that she was born for one reason only — to show every person out there, that it is possible,” she added.
The film, directed by Jon Chu and in theaters now, is based on the book of the same name by Kevin Kwan.
It centers on an American-Asian woman dating a wealthy man from a prominent family from Singapore. Drama ensues when she realizes his mother could get in the way of their romance.