Phenomenal Women

Published on March 4th, 2012 | by thevyne

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Woman to Watch: Adepero Oduye

Image courtesy of the Denver Post

Name: Adepero Oduye (Add-eh-pair-o Oh-due-yay)

Hometown: Brooklyn, New York City

Education: Bachelors from Cornell University

Theater credits: Danai Gurira’s play Eclipsed (Yale Repertory Theatre), The Bluest Eye (Hartford Stage and Long Wharf Theatres), and Fela! (AEA workshop).

You may have seen her in: Writer/director Dee Rees’ acclaimed indie film Pariah as the lead character, Alike, a New York teenage girl struggling with acceptance and sexual identity.

Family life: Adepero is first generation Nigerian and the third oldest of seven children. Her father came to the States in the late 1960s to study in Nebraska and her mother followed him after a couple of years. Her father was a dedicated student and scholarly man who had several degrees including a masters, Ph.D. and MD. Unfortunately he died suddenly when she was 19 years old.

How she found her calling: When her father passed away she was a pre-med student at Cornell. Since her father was a doctor, she thought she wanted to study medicine as well. When he died she truly started to explore what she was really passionate about and discovered her love for acting.

Accolades: Independent Sprit Award Nominee for Best Female Lead (2012), Center for Family Life in Brooklyn honored her at its Celebrating Community event (2011).

Quotable: “You can take a movie anywhere in the world and people can be affected by it. It doesn’t have to be from where they’re from. It doesn’t have to be about people who look like them.” ~ Adepero Oduye

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