Phiona Mutesi is recognized for being a chess prodigy, serving as the inspiration behind the Disney film ‘Queen of Katwe.’ The Ugandan beauty is truly a woman of wonder with an incredible story to tell! Here are five things you should know!
1.) Phiona had a very rough upbringing.
She grew up in one of Kampala’s most impoverished neighbourhoods, being raised by a single mother. Her father and sister tragically passed away at a young age, so it was just her and two of her brothers. The tough circumstances forced her to drop out of school, but she happened to find another inspiration when she discovered chess, before even learning to read or write.
2.) She SLAYS at chess.
Phiona found MAJOR success becoming a junior champ in Uganda at the age of 11 and again in 2008. Phiona represented her country at Africa’s International Children’s Chess Tournament in Sudan and dominated! She’s even been awarded the rank of Woman Candidate Master. Phiona has competed throughout the world, even stopping in countries such as Serbia and Turkey.
3.) Disney made a movie inspired by her life.
Phiona revealed in an interview with Essence that she was floored that her life story was being adapted for the screen by Disney, called Queen of Katwe: “That’s when I couldn’t believe it, seriously. I couldn’t believe that they were portraying amovie about my life.” How incredible! It was released in theatres on Sept. 23, starring Madina Nalwanga, Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo.
4.) This is only the beginning for Phiona.
She’s got an amazing set of goals planned out for her future, including becoming a Grandmaster, the highest title a chess player can be! However, she’s only had little access to training thus far, so who knows what she’s capable of! We’re sure the possibilities will come pouring in, especially since she graduates from high school this year. She also hopes to go to Harvard one day!
5.) She’s not exactly sure how old she is.
In her recent interview, Phiona noted how she doesn’t know her real age. This is reportedly common in women from Katwe. However, her mom believes that she was born around 1996, which would make her about 20! Talk about having some major accomplishments at such a young age! Get it, girl.
HollywoodLifers, how impressive is Phiona’s life story? Did you love the movie? Let us know!