Thuso Mbedu: 5 Things To Know About ‘The Woman King’ Breakout Star

Thuso Mbedu stars in the Viola Davis-led film 'The Woman King', about an all-female group of West African warriors. Here's what you need to know about Thuso.

Thuso Mbedu
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Image Credit: TriStar Pictures/Everett Collection

Thuso Mbedu is the breakout star of the new action film The Woman King. The 31-year-old actress plays a new recruit of the Dahomey Amazons, a group of female African warriors being trained by General Nanisca (played by Viola Davis) to protect their West African Kingdom during the 1820s. Before The Woman Kingdom arrives in theaters on September 16, we rounded up some of the most interesting facts about Thuso. Get to know the talented actress below!

Thuso Mbedu
Thuso Mbedu in ‘The Woman King’ (Photo: TriStar Pictures/Everett Collection)

Thuso plays Nawi in ‘The Woman King’

Thuso was officially cast in The Woman King in April 2021. Her character Nawi is described as an ambitious recruit who partners with Nanisca to fight their enemies and protect their homeland. In the trailer, Nanisca tells the recruits, including Nawi, that they need to “fight” or they will “die.” The Woman King is Thuso’s feature film debut.

She was born in South Africa

Thuso was born in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, a region in South Africa, on July 8, 1991. Her parents sadly died when she was young so her grandmother raised her and became her legal guardian. Thuso went to school in Africa before taking a one-year acting course in New York City, which set her on her path towards fame.

She’s been nominated for two International Emmys.

Thuso’s first television role was in the South African teen drama series Is’Thunzi. She received two consecutive nominations for an International Emmy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in 2017 and 2018. Thuso had a panic attack when she filmed a rape scene in the show. “I felt so traumatized and so powerless in the moment. I was feeling every single emotion as the character and that translated on screen,” she told HuffingtonPost.

Thuso Mbedu
Thuso Mbedu at ‘The Woman King’ premiere (Photo: PICJER/imageSPACE/Shutterstock)

She starred in the limited series ‘The Underground Railroad.’

Thuso got her big break in Amazon Prime Video’s limited series The Underground Railroad, which marked her first international acting project. She played Cora Randall in the series, about people attempting to escape slavery in the southern United States during the 1800s. The show was nominated for Outstanding Limited Series at the 2021 Emmy Awards alongside WandaVisionI May Destroy YouMare of Easttown, and The Queen’s Gambit which won.

She’s producing new projects.

Thuso has a producing deal with Paramount to “make socially conscious content,” according to her interview with Vanity Fair. She told the publication, “I want to create opportunities for other people, and I’m grateful I’m able to.”

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