Gugu Mbatha-Raw was born Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha-Raw on April 21, 1983 (Gugu Mbatha-Raw age: 38) in Oxford, England to parents Patrick Mbatha and Anne Raw.


Her father is South African and her mother is English. Her parents separated when she was young; Mbatha-Raw was primarily raised by her mother but remained close to her father. Mbatha-Raw was raised in Witney, where she attended the Henry Box School. She was interested in drama from early childhood and was in the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. Mbatha-Raw moved to London in 2001 to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art after winning a scholarship. In 2017, Mbatha-Raw was given the honor of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Queen Elizabeth II for her contribution to dramatic arts.


After graduating in 2004, Mbatha-Raw began to make a name for herself in the theater world. She appeared in minor television roles but experienced bigger breakthroughs in theatre; Mbatha-Raw’s performance as Juliet opposite Andrew Garfield in Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet in 2005 won her a nomination for best actress in Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards. She went on to portray Octavia in Antony and Cleopatra and Ophelia in Hamlet.

Mbatha-Raw’s performance in Hamlet gained the attention of American filmmaker J.J. Abrams, who cast her in his television series Undercovers. In 2011, she was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her performance in Undercovers.

Mbatha-Raw played supporting character Talia in Tom Hanks‘ 2011 romantic comedy Larry Crowne, a role for which she was nominated for a Black Reel Award for Best Breakthrough Performance.

Mbatha-Raw was nominated for and won multiple awards for her performance as Dido Elizabeth Belle in Amma Asante’s 2013 historical drama film Belle, including the British Independent Film Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film, the African-American Film Critics Association’s award for Best Actress, the Black Reel Award for Best Actress, and Alliance of Women Film Journalists’ award for Best Breakthrough Performance.

The following year, Mbatha-Raw garnered more praise for her portrayal of Noni Jean in the 2014 romantic drama film Beyond the Lights with at least nine nominations for various awards.

Mbatha-Raw is set to appear in Disney+’s TV series Loki, based on the Marvel comics character, in 2020.


Mbatha-Raw starred as Ruth in Codeblack Films’ Fast Color in 2018. Fast Color follows Ruth, a woman with supernatural abilities that cause earthquakes. When the same powers that drove her away from her family lead her to return home, Ruth must learn to harness her power and reconnect with the family she left behind.


“When we first meet [Ruth] in the story… we’re not sure what she’s on the run from but we know she’s in quite a desperate situation,” Mbatha-Raw told uInterview exclusive of her character. “She’s been out struggling with addiction, struggling with these powers that she has, these special abilities where she has these seizures that she’s not able to control.”

Mbatha-Raw described the film as one “about three generations of women coming together to learn how to own their powers.” Lorraine Toussaint played Bo, Ruth’s mother, and Saniyya Sidney played Lila, Ruth’s daughter.


Mbatha-Raw said in an interview with that her best role model was Nelson Mandela due to her South African roots. “My father is South African and grew up under apartheid, so I’ve always been inspired by what Mandela stood for.”

Mbatha-Raw has many nicknames, including Twinx, Gugs and Gugu. Her mother calls her Twinx, which is short for “twinkletoes,” a nickname she gave Mbatha-Raw when she did ballet growing up. Mbatha-Raw’s given name is Gugulethu, which means “our pride” in Zulu.


Who is Gugu Mbatha-Raw dating? Mbatha-Raw is currently single but was previously in a relationship with English actor Harry Lloyd.

Where is Gugu Mbatha-Raw from? Mbatha-Raw is from Witney, Oxfordshire in England.

Can Gugu Mbatha-Raw speak Zulu? Mbatha-Raw cannot speak Zulu.


Year Title Role
2005 Holby City (TV Series)

–       Overload

Colette Hill
2005 Legless Beth
2005 Walk Away and I Stumble Nurse
2006 Viva Blackpool Pretty Young Woman
2006 Spooks (TV Series)

–       The Criminal

–       Episode #5.8

–       Hostage Takers: Part 2

–       Hostage Takers: Part 1

–       The Message

–       World Trade

–       The Cell

–       Gas and Oil: Part 2

–       Gas and Oil: Part 1

2006 Born Equal Girl at King’s Cross Station (uncredited)
2006 Bad Girls (TV Series)

–       Christmas Special

–       Episode #8.6

Fidelity Saunders
2006 Vital Signs (TV Series)

–       Episode #1.6

–       Episode #1.5

–       Episode #1.4

–       Episode #1.3

–       Episode #1.2

2007 Dead Clever: The Life and Crimes of Julie Bottomley Jessica
2007 Closure Young PA
2007 Marple (TV Series)

–       Ordeal by Innocence

Tina Argle
2007 Doctor Who (TV Series)

–       Last of the Time Lords

–       The Sound of Drums

–       The Lazarus Experiment

–       Smith and Jones

Tish Jones
2008 Trial & Retribution (TV Series)

–       The Box: Part 1

Jenny Miller
2008 Fallout Shanice Roberts
2008 Bonekickers (TV Mini-Series)

–       Follow the Gleam

–       The Lines of War

–       The Cradle of Civilisation

–       The Eternal Fire

–       Warriors

–       Army of God

Viv Davis
2008 Lost in Austen (TV Mini-Series)

–       Episode #1.4

–       Episode #1.1

2009 All My Dreams on VHS (Short) Erica
2009 Act of God Rose
2010 Capture Anthologies: Love, Lust and Tragedy (Video) Erica
2011 Larry Crowne Talia
2010-2012 Undercovers (TV Series) (13 episodes) Samantha Bloom
2012 Touch (TV Series) (13 episodes) Clea Hopkins
2013 Odd Thomas Viola Peabody
2013 Belle Dido Elizabeth Belle
2014 Beyond the Lights Noni
2014 9 Kisses (Short) Bride
2015 Jupiter Ascending Famulus
2015 Concussion Prema Mutiso
2016 The Whole Truth Janelle
2016 Free State of Jones Rachel
2016 After the Storm (Short) Mother
2016 Black Mirror (TV Series)

–       San Junipero

Kelly Booth
2016 Miss Sloane Esme Manucharian
2017 Beauty and the Beast Plumette
2018 The Cloverfield Paradox Hamilton
2018 Irreplaceable You Abbie
2018 A Wrinkle in Time Mrs. Murry
2018 Fast Color Ruth
2018 Fabled (TV Series) Dee
2018 Farming Ms. Dapo
2016-2019 Easy (TV Series)

–       She’s Back

–       Chemistry Read

2019 The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (TV Series)

–       A Single Piece Was Lost

–       The Crystal Calls

–       Prophets Don’t Know Everything

–       By Gelfling Hand

–       She Knows All the Secrets

–       The First Thing I Remember Is Fire

–       What Was Sundered and Undone

–       Nothing is Simple Anymore

–       End. Begin. All the Same.

Seladon (Voice)
2019 Motherless Brooklyn Laura Rose
2019 The Morning Show (TV Series)

–       The Interview

–       Play the Queen

–       Lonely at the Top

–       Open Waters

–       The Pendulum Swings

–       No One’s Gonna Harm You, Not While I’m Around

–       That Woman

–       Chaos Is the New Cocaine

–       A Seat at the Table

–       In the Dark Night of the Soul It’s Always 3:30 in the Morning

Hannah Shoenfield
2020 Come Away Adult Alice Littleton
2020 Misbehaviour Jennifer Hosten – Miss Grenada
2020 Summerland
2021 Loki (TV Mini-Series) (filming)
Seacole (filming) Mary Seacole


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