Gugu Mbatha-Raw

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Gugulethu “Gugu” Sophia Mbatha-Raw MBE was born 21 April 1983 and is an English actress.

After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she began acting in British television and stage productions, appearing in the role of Tish Jones, sister of Martha Jones, in the science-fiction series Doctor Who (2007), and went on to appear in American productions such as the Tom Hanks comedy Larry Crowne (2011), and the short-lived television series Undercovers (2010) and Touch (2012). Her breakthrough came with her critically acclaimed performance in the British period drama Belle (2013) and the romantic drama Beyond the Lights (2014). Her performance as Kelly in the critically acclaimed “San Junipero”, an episode in season three of the anthology series Black Mirror, was highly praised. She achieved further recognition for her appearances in mainstream films Miss Sloane (2016), the live-action adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (2017), A Wrinkle in Time (2018), and Misbehaviour (2020), and appeared in the role of Hannah Shoenfeld on Apple TV+ drama series The Morning Show (2019).

She was born in Oxford, the daughter of Patrick Mbatha, a South African doctor, and Anne Raw, an English nurse. Her father is black and her mother is white. She grew up in Witney. Her first name is a contraction of igugu lethu, which means “our pride” in Zulu and in isiXhosa.

Interested in acting, dance, and musical theatre from a young age, Mbatha-Raw attended the Henry Box School and participated in the National Youth Theatre. Her credits include dancing at the Judy Tompsett School of Dance, now known as the Marsh Tompsett School of Dance. In 2001, she moved to London to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. During her time as a student she worked at the newly opened attraction, The London Eye.