Read them in the list below!
1. Uzo Aduba’s full name is Uzoamaka Nwanneka Aduba, but she shortened it in her professional life to make it easier for people to pronounce. Uzoamaka means “the road is good” in her mother’s native Nigeria.
2. Her parents are Nigerian.
3. Her first television acting appearance came in an episode of Blue Bloods in 2012.
4. Television and Broadway actress best known for her role as Crazy Eyes on the hit series Orange is the New Black.
5. She made her Broadway debut in 2007 in Coram Boy.
6. She won the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series and the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series for the role.
7. She first started gaining attention as an actress in 2003 when she earned a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play for her performance in Translations of Xhosa at the Olney Theatre Center for the Arts.
8. Uzo Aduba made the decision to give up on acting and go to law school 45 minutes before getting the life-changing call that she’d been cast as Crazy Eyes on “Orange is the New Black.” “It was 5:43 p.m. I’ll never forget it, Sept. 14, 2012. It was a Friday,” she told Deadline about the call that changed everything.
9. Uzo Aduba is one of only two actors to win a Primetime Emmy Award in both drama and comedy categories for playing the same character. The other was Ed Asner, who did it for playing Lou Grant in the comedy “Mary Tyler Moore” and the drama “Lou Grant” in the late ’70s.
10. She studied classical voice and was a track and field athlete at Boston University.
11. She was born in February 1981 in Boston and went on to attend Boston University on an athletics scholarship. While there, the voice major fell in love with acting and moved to New York City after graduation to pursue a career on the stage.
12. After graduating from Medfield High School, Aduba rode a track and field scholarship to the College of Fine Arts at Boston University, where she began classical voice training to refine her “very dramatic soprano,” as she calls it. At BU, she cultivated a love of the stage, and her acting teachers encouraged her to pursue acting instead or a vocal career. That encouragement, paired with a growing interest in the stage, was enough to make her switch gears and move from Massachusetts to New York City, where she pursued an acting career.
13. Uzo Aduba was one of the many lucky ladies who got to join Taylor Swift onstage during her 1989 Tour in 2015. “Well, we met backstage, and we hit it off, and she asked me to come up, which was so generous of her — she’s amazing,” Uzo told Deadline. “She’s so lovely, and very, very gracious, and so kind, to share her space like that. You know, that’s an audience of 60,000 people that she has over there at the MetLife stadium, but it was so much fun. As soon as you get out there, I mean, I’m not joking you, you could almost cut it with a knife. The love and the energy is so thick.”
14. Aduba added that she’s very open to switching up her look. “I’m always up for a change,” she said. “I love trying new things. I don’t feel like anybody should be like entirely married to one thing forever so I felt like changing it.”
15. If acting and singing weren’t enough, Uzo Aduba is also talented on the ice: She was a competitive figure skater for 10 years.
16. “I like to try and match the music to where my rhythm is in the training,” Uzo shared. She’s timed Frozen‘s “Let it Go” to about halfway through her run. “I start belting it out in the middle of the street while I’m running. I just can’t help myself! I wish I could.” Note: Uzo, one day please run by me. Other notable tracks: Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ (“it makes me feel ready to go”) and John Legend (“when I’m kind of winding it down at the end”).
17. Uzo Aduba isn’t the only talented member of her family. Her mom was a college tennis player. Her sister was a track and field All-American and Olympic trials athlete. And her brother played minor league hockey.
18. She became a member of the original revival cast of “Godspell” at the Circle in the Square Theatre from 2011 to 2012. She also went on to play the mother of the title character in “Venice” at the Public Theater in New York City.
19. You won’t catch Uzo Aduba going vegan any time soon because she loves meat and always has. “My sister, when we were kids, thought mushrooms were meat because I loved them so much,” she told Self. “And I loved meat so much, so she thought mushrooms must be a meat.”
20. Uzo Aduba is almost as dedicated to fitness as she is to acting. In 2013, she completed the New York City Marathon and loved it. “It was this incredible feeling of accomplishment to go out there and to challenge not just your body but your mind,” she told Self. “The race starts at Mile 18 — your body is truly fatigued and it becomes a race against your mind. You are truly trying to tell yourself not to stop every mile. There’s a quiet voice that’s trying to tell you it’s okay to stop. And you just have to fight it.” She also ran the Boston Marathon in 2015 and completed her hometown race in just over five hours.