Yvonne Orji headshot

Yvonne Orji

Comedienne and Actress

Nigerian born, Maryland raised actress and comedienne Yvonne Orji is a walking embodiment of the American dream. A child of immigrants, Yvonne was destined to become a doctor, until destiny had other plans. A devout Christian, Orji explains how a faithful encounter with God had her trading her stethoscope for stand-up comedy—something neither she, nor anyone in her family ever imagined her doing, let alone becoming successful in. Her comedy sets involve no swearing or blue humor, yet has landed her on mainstages like the 16,000-seater Barclays Center, performing opposite comedy heavyweights like Chris Rock. In a program that’s equal parts funny and inspirational, the 34-year-old explores how her faith provides her with discipline, focus and most importantly hope. Audiences will leave empowered by her example of living with purpose and not in fear.

BIO

Yvonne Orji is perhaps best known for her knockout performance as Issa Rae’s best friend Molly in the HBO comedy series, Insecure. The show follows the friendship of two modern-day black women and all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.

Before Insecure, Orji thought she’d become a doctor, in part to satisfy the desires of her immigrant parents. Instead she discovered comedy when she entered a beauty pageant as a favor to her brother. Unbeknownst to her, she was required to perform a talent—something she believed she lacked. With two weeks before the competition, she heard the voice of God say “Do comedy.” With a combination of fear and trust, she obeyed and discovered a hidden passion. So, in 2009 she moved to New York to pursue stand-up. Eventually, she landed a job in the writers room of the Martin Lawrence-produced sitcom, Love That Girl!, then eventually created the concept for a comedy series based on the plight many First-Gen kids face living the duality of life in America, aptly titled, FirstGen, which is currently being produced by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo. Orji is extremely transparent in speaking about the many hardships faced on the road to success and the lessons learned along the way.

In 2018 she will be seen in Night School with Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, as well as the Sci-Fi feature, Spontaneous. Considering herself first and foremost a comedienne, Orji will also embark on a multi-city comedy tour. Audiences may also know Yvonne for her inspiring TED Talk, “The Wait is Sexy,” in which she discusses her virginity and decision to wait until marriage.

During her time between projects, Orji travels nationally and internationally for speaking and hosting engagements. She has been enlisted to host corporate, social & televised events, such as the BET Super Bowl Celebration of Gospel and the Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon.

Outside of her creative work, she is dedicated to her charitable efforts. In 2008 and 2009 she spent six months working in post-conflict Liberia, with Population Services International (PSI), an NGO that utilizes social marketing in the adoption of healthy behaviors. While in Liberia, she worked with a group of talented youth to help build a mentoring program as well as a weekly talk show that helped educate and prevent against the spread of teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. She currently lends her time and voice as a R(ED) Ambassador, and is vocal about the plights of Sickle Cell disease, a sickness that affects members of her extended family.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Orji earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University.

Yvonne Orji is perhaps best known for her knockout performance as Issa Rae’s best friend Molly in the HBO comedy series, Insecure. The show follows the friendship of two modern-day black women and all of their uncomfortable experiences and racy tribulations.

Before Insecure, Orji thought she’d become a doctor, in part to satisfy the desires of her immigrant parents. Instead she discovered comedy when she entered a beauty pageant as a favor to her brother. Unbeknownst to her, she was required to perform a talent—something she believed she lacked. With two weeks before the competition, she heard the voice of God say “Do comedy.” With a combination of fear and trust, she obeyed and discovered a hidden passion. So, in 2009 she moved to New York to pursue stand-up. Eventually, she landed a job in the writers room of the Martin Lawrence-produced sitcom, Love That Girl!, then eventually created the concept for a comedy series based on the plight many First-Gen kids face living the duality of life in America, aptly titled, FirstGen, which is currently being produced by Oprah Winfrey and David Oyelowo. Orji is extremely transparent in speaking about the many hardships faced on the road to success and the lessons learned along the way.

In 2018 she will be seen in Night School with Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, as well as the Sci-Fi feature, Spontaneous. Considering herself first and foremost a comedienne, Orji will also embark on a multi-city comedy tour. Audiences may also know Yvonne for her inspiring TED Talk, “The Wait is Sexy,” in which she discusses her virginity and decision to wait until marriage.

During her time between projects, Orji travels nationally and internationally for speaking and hosting engagements. She has been enlisted to host corporate, social & televised events, such as the BET Super Bowl Celebration of Gospel and the Essence Black Women In Hollywood Luncheon.

Outside of her creative work, she is dedicated to her charitable efforts. In 2008 and 2009 she spent six months working in post-conflict Liberia, with Population Services International (PSI), an NGO that utilizes social marketing in the adoption of healthy behaviors. While in Liberia, she worked with a group of talented youth to help build a mentoring program as well as a weekly talk show that helped educate and prevent against the spread of teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. She currently lends her time and voice as a R(ED) Ambassador, and is vocal about the plights of Sickle Cell disease, a sickness that affects members of her extended family.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Orji earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a Masters of Public Health from George Washington University.