Gugulethu Sophia Mbatha-Raw, MBE (born April 21, 1983), better known as Gugu Mbatha-Raw, is an English actress.
Mbatha-Raw got her start in British television, appearing on the BBC's Doctor Who as Tish Jones, younger sister to Freema Agyeman's companion Martha Jones, in one of her earliest roles. She later broke into American television, starring on NBC's Undercovers and FOX's Touch. In 2016, she appeared in the Black Mirror: San Junipero episode of Netflix's Black Mirror. She has since gone on to appear in several other Netflix projects, the most recent being 2019's The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.
Her prominence in films has seen a rise in promise during The New '10s, with Mbatha-Raw appearing in high-profile projects like 2013's biopic Belle as the title character, Beyond The Lights as popstar Noni Jean, and The Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending as deerlike alien Famulus.
- Bad Girls (2006) as Fidelity
- Spooks (2006) as
- Doctor Who (2007) as Tish Jones
- Lost in Austen (2008) as Piranha
- Bonekickers (2008) as Viv Davis
- Undercovers (2010) as Samantha Bloom
- Larry Crowne (2011) as Talia
- Touch (2012) as Clea Hopkins
- Odd Thomas (2012) as Viola
- Belle (2013) as Dido Elizabeth Belle
- Beyond The Lights (2014) as Noni Jean
- Jupiter Ascending (2015) as Famulus
- Concussion (2015) as Prema Mutiso
- Free State of Jones (2016) as Rachel
- Black Mirror: San Junipero (2016) as Kelly
- Beauty and The Beast (2017) as Plumette
- The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) as Ava Hamilton
- A Wrinkle in Time (2018) as Dr. Kate Murray
- The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance (2019) as Seladon
Tropes associated with her work:
- Dyeing for Your Art: She tries to AVERT this whenever possible. A character's hairstyle Really has to support the story in order for her to agree to change up her curly, black tresses. She wants to "send the important message to girls everywhere that they can be who they are".
- Fake Nationality: She's English, but most of her characters are non-Brits.
- Promoted Fangirl: Growing up, she was a HUGE fan of the original animated Beauty and the Beast (to the point that she knew the film's entire soundtrack by heart!). So when her agent called to tell her that Disney wanted her to play Plumette in the live-action remake, she was so excited that she literally "squealed down the phone line"!
- Separated-at-Birth Casting: In Black Mirror: San Junipero. She and Denise Burse, who plays the elder version of her character, Kelly, could EASILY pass for mother and daughter (in fact, the two look SO similar that writer/show creator Charlie Brooker has had people approach him thinking that "elder Kelly" was Mbatha-Raw in old-age makeup and prosthetics!).
- Star-Making Role: She was virtually unknown to American audiences prior to landing the lead roles in Belle and Beyond The Lights.