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Yvonne Orji

Yvonne Orji

Comedienne, Actress and Podcaster

Simply put, there’s nothing average about Yvonne Orji. The Nigerian born, U.S. raised actress, comedienne, writer and author is faith-focused and fearless. Where Orji finds herself today was not an obvious path. The child of immigrants, she was destined to become a doctor, until destiny intervened. A devout Christian, Orji explains how after a faithful…

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Yvonne Orji is perhaps best known for her knockout performance as Issa Rae’s best friend, Molly, in the hit HBO comedy series, Insecure, currently in its 4th season. The show follows the friendship of two modern-day black women and all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.

Before her media breakthrough, Orji was on the path to becoming a doctor. To satisfy the desires of her Nigerian immigrant parents, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University. In an unlikely turn of events, Orji discovered her artistic gifts when she entered a beauty pageant as a favor to her brother and his friend. Unbeknownst to her, she was required to perform a talent—something she believed she lacked. Having only two weeks before the competition and nothing prepared, she heard the voice of God say, “Do comedy.” With a combination of fear and trust, she obeyed and discovered a hidden passion.

Despite her parent’s disappointment, in 2009 she moved to New York with only $450 in her pocket to pursue stand-up. After two long years, she landed a job—and by job, we mean, unpaid internship— in the Los Angeles writers’ room of the Martin Lawrence-produced sitcom, Love That Girl! Then, Orji authored the concept for a comedy series based on the plight of duality many first-generation children face living in America. Aptly titled, FirstGen is currently being produced by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo. Writing the show was the beginning of Orji’s extreme transparency in speaking about the role faith has played in her life and the hardships and successes of following the road less-traveled.

While in Los Angeles, she filmed Night School with Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, as well as the Sci-Fi feature, Spontaneous. Audiences may also know Orji for her inspiring TED Talk, “The Wait is Sexy,” in which she discusses her virginity and decision to wait until marriage.

Between projects, Orji travels nationally and internationally for speaking and hosting engagements. She has been enlisted to host corporate, social & televised events, such as the BET Super Bowl Celebration of Gospel and the Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon.

Lately, Orji has been proudly sharing the Nigerian-American perspective on all things millennial through her podcast,Jesus and Jollof. She and her co-host, Luvvie Ajayi bring equal parts hard truths and humor to their audiences with their commentary on dating, therapy, homeownership, self-care, and much more. Their live shows are known to sell-out, as it did recently at New York’s Apollo Theatre. In 2020 she released her critically acclaimed HBO comedy special Momma I Made It! Her heavily-anticipated,debut book, Bamboozled by Jesus: How God Tricked Me Into The Life of my Dreams, is due out in Spring 2021.

Outside of her creative work, she is dedicated to her charitable efforts. In 2008 and 2009 she spent six months working in post-conflict Liberia, with Population Services International (PSI), an NGO that utilizes social marketing in the adoption of healthy behaviors. While in Liberia, she worked with a group of talented youth to help build a mentoring program as well as a weekly talk show that helped educate and prevent against the spread of teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. She currently lends her time and voice as a R(ED) Ambassador, a Literacy Champion for Jumpstart and working with JetBlue for Good.

Orji currently resides in Los Angeles where she avoids dating apps like the plague (…but if you have a single brother, cousin or grandfather…she’s open. Those AARP benefits come in handy).

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