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Photo Courtesy of Uzo Aduba

100 Women: Uzo Aduba Wants to Use Her Roles to Give a Voice to the Voiceless

We talk to the Emmy-winning standout of Orange is the New Black on how to be good, just as you are.

As a child Uzoamaka Aduba was insecure about a great many things. Her name and the now-famous gap in her teeth were among the number. "My mom would try to impress upon me constantly, 'Don't you know that in Nigeria, a gap is a sign of beauty? It's a sign of intelligence.' I'm like, 'We don't live in Nigeria, mom. We live in Medfield, Massachusetts.'" Thirty-seven-year-old Aduba is quite the opposite—dramatically, if you will. Currently chatting from a mountainside village in Mendoza, Argentina, she exudes total self-possession, and is crystal clear on not just her beauty and her talent, but on what she stands for ("Equality for all. Full stop.") and even her privilege.

"Whatever I think is hard is nowhere near what hard is. First solid lesson. Anything that I considered to be difficult, I don't have to reach that far back into my history and to my community stories to know what hard really looked like," the Nigerian-American actress states in a definitive tone. "Hard is moving to a country where you know no one and have five children. Hard is surviving a civil war. Hard is surviving polio. Hard is learning how to blend into a new culture without losing your own. You understand? Me figuring out which of the seven pairs of jeans I want to wear today is not hard."

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OkayAfrica's 100 Women
Photo courtesy of Pearl Thusi.

100 Women: Pearl Thusi Is the Fierce South African Actor Who Does It All

We sit down with "The Real Black Pearl" to hear her journey to stardom.

Pearl Thusi is ready to be Africa's "Khaleesi." It was a given after tackling the lead role in the upcoming fifth edition of the action movie franchise, Scorpion King. "I learned that I'm actually good at action movies and I didn't know it until this film," she says. "I have never in my life [been able to declare myself as something], apart from saying I'm a really good mom or that I'm something I can prove. It's hard to say I'm a good actress, because I haven't played every person in the world." Not yet, at least. She seeks to tell the stories she would have loved to see as a child. "I could cry, actually," she says, reflecting on her childhood in Durban. "I didn't think the dreams I had [while there] were valid. They weren't ever possible—so it was much easier to [just] dream."

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Yvonne Orji and Luvvie Ajayi Welcome OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2018 Honorees

Join two of last year's 100 Women honorees in celebrating 2018 list of trailblazing African women.

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