Famous Hollywood Actresses Who Are Actually Africans

Charlize Theron

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Ms Theron is a South African born in Benoni, near Johannesburg. She first started as a dancer and won a contract to model for a year in Italy at 16. She later moved to New York City and then Los Angeles. A chance meeting with a casting agent happened when she was involved in a shouting exchange with a cashier who had refused to cash her cheque. She has appeared in “The Devil’s Advocate”, “North Country”, “Cider House Rules”, “Mighty Joe Young”, “Monster” and “Prometheus” among other movies. Her role in “Monster” saw her win the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, Silver Bear, and Academy Award.

Kandyse McClure

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Kandyse McClure is a South African-born Canadian actress. She has played Anastasia Dualla on the Sci Fi Channel’s television program Battlestar Galactica, and Dr. Clementine Chasseur on the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove. The South African born star wouldn’t have thought of herself in the movies in her younger days. McClure had the aspiration to work in medicine and never gave acting a single thought. Her movie career kicked off in the most unexpected of ways. After auditioning for a friend’s play in Canada she received a call to audition for a much bigger role and from then dedicated her life to the profession. McClure has since appeared in a number of high-profile films including Romeo Must Die, Battleship Galactica and Da Vinci’s Inquest

Lupita Nyong’o

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The 35-year-old Oscar winner has had a dream run in Hollywood and is one of the most sought-after actresses in the industry at current. Lupita Nyongo was born in Mexico to Kenyan parents and holds dual citizenship for the two countries. Her claim to fame was the movie “12 Years A Slave” in which she played Patsey becoming the first Kenyan and Mexican to win the award. Since then she has gone on to feature in high-grossing films such as Marvel’s Black Panther, The Jungle Book and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The actress has had 56 nominations winning 36 times.

Thandie Newton

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Thandiwe Nashita “Thandie” Newton has starred in many blockbuster Hollywood releases and has cemented her name as one of the biggest female stars of our times. The English actress has had roles in both American and British releases. Thandie Newton made her debut in acting in the film Flirting back in 1991. She went on to appear in the film “Interview With A Vampire” 3 years later. Her most notable roles include Nyah Nordhoff-Hall in “Mission Impossible II,” Sally Hemings in “Jefferson In Paris,” Kate Thomas in “Norbit,” Linda in “The Pursuit of Happiness” and a title role in “Beloved.” Over her long-spanning career, Newton has won accolades for her exploits in the movie industry including; a Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble in “The Chronicles of Riddick,” nomination for a Black Movie Award for outstanding performance in a supporting role in “Crash”, Screen Actors Guild for outstanding performance by a cast in “Crash” among many others.

Ella Thomas


Thomas is of Eritrean and American descent. She spent most of her early life in Germany where she developed a love for the arts and especially the performing arts. After finishing her studies the actress went into acting and managed to carve a niche for herself. One of her most notable roles was on the hit TV series “Entourage” as Viveca. She also appeared on CSI: Miami as P.Diddy’s girlfriend. Ella also appeared on “Castle” the hit show on ABC as well as playing a role in “Parenthood.” She has also had recurring roles in TV series such as Ballers and NCIS: Los Angeles. Apart from acting the actress has also appeared on a number of magazine covers including ELLE, American Vogue and Glamour where she had her own spreads. She has also done print advertising for major brands like Tiffany & Co., Gap, and Levis as well as automotive advertisements.

Megalyn Echikunwoke

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Megalyn was born in Spokane, Washington to an English, German and Irish mother and a Nigerian Father. The actress was discovered early and started acting at the tender age of fourteen. Her aptitude in the performing arts was discovered when she acted in a play during a Summer art camp. You may know her from “The 4400” a TV series in which she had the main role as the grown-up Isabelle Tyler. She also had a recurring role in the series “Raising The Bar” broadcasted on TNT. She also held roles on CBS’ “Made In Jersey” “90210” “That’s The 70’s Show” and many others. The actress has also made her voice heard in the political front championing causes she believes in and creating awareness. She hit the headlines when she got into a relationship with comedian Chris Rock. The two have been dating for some time with rumors of impending marriage doing rounds on the internet.

Michelle Van Der Water

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The actress was born in Cape Town, South Africa. Soon after her birth, the family moved to Australia settling in a small town an hour’s drive from Sydney. There Michelle went to high school at Inaburra High School located in the Sutherland Shire after which she went on to graduate from Wollongong University. She took a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts in Graphic Design and New Media. Before acting, she started out with modeling while taking acting classes on the side. After some time taking acting classes she realized that her love for acting was much stronger. She started out in 2000 after moving to Los Angeles. She has appeared on a number of films taking on short roles on various major films. One of the main roles was in the movie “Minotaur” as Queen Raphaella starring alongside Tony Todd and Tom Hardy. Other performances came in works such as the renewal of the series “Melrose Place,” “Castle,” and NCIS: Los Angeles.

Liya Kebede

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Liya Kebede has done everything when it comes to the entertainment scene. The actress started out as a model and developed into a clothing designer and an advocate for maternal health advocate. In 2007 she rose to become the eleventh most paid model according to the Forbes list. Kebede was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. While she may have made a name for herself in the acting scene Liya has done more as a model. In her acting career, she has appeared in movies such as The Best Offer, Desert Flower, Lord of War, Good Shepherd, and Samba. The actress and model have also given a lot to goodwill and even got appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. She then took it a step further and founded her own charity foundation named the Liya Kebede Foundation founded to help reduce maternal and newborn mortality rates in Ethiopia. In 2013 Kebede won Glamor’s Women of the Year award for her philanthropy.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

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Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha-Raw was born on 21st April 1983. She started her acting career in 2004 and has appeared in many critically acclaimed films often taking a major role. She is most known for her acting on the hit TV series “Black Mirror” where she played Kelly. She also appeared as Dido Elizabeth Belle in “Belle.” In “Beyond The Lights” she featured playing Noni Jean. She also had a role in the movie “Beauty and the Beast” in which she played Plumette. The South African actress was brought up by her South African father and Ann Raw an English nurse. She spent her formative years in Whitney where her acting passion grew. Mbatha-Raw started out taking small roles in the theatre where she had one of her first breakthrough acting in the theatre version of Romeo and Juliet playing Juliet. In her career, she has made appearances in numerous films always winning her fans over and getting nominations for it. She has had many nominations over the years and won the Best breakthrough performance in the Alliance of Women Film Journalists.

Elize du Toit

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Du Toit was born in Grahamstown, South Africa. She spent much of her childhood in the country but obtained her education abroad. In 1994, She became a student at Wellington College and quickly established herself as a great learner of language and the arts. She also pursued history at the University of Edinburgh, where she was active in theater, performing on numerous occasions with the Edinburg University Theater Du Toit’s professional career has spanned close to two decades now, and she is famous for playing Izzy Davies in Hollyoaks, the Channel 4 soap opera. In the auditions, she managed to ward off the attention of 40,000 others to land the role. She was a mainstay in the show for four years and terminated her association with the production in 2004. She, however, returned briefly in 2007. After her breakout performance, she went on to star in a number of productions, with some of them being The Devil’s Chair, Waking the Dead, Coronation Street, Casualty, Material Girl, Lewis, The line of Beauty, Doctor Who and lots more. Even though she has not won any major awards, Elize du Toit continues to get cast in roles that drive conversations in society. At the moment, she lives in London with her husband and kids.

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