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KOKOnista Of The Day: Michaela Coel Is Definitely The Best Actress In Britain At The Moment

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Michaela Ewuraba Boakye-Collinson known professionally as Michaela Coel, is a British actress, screenwriter, director, producer and singer.

Michaela Ewuraba Boakye-Collinson was born in East London. Her parents are Ghanaian. She and her sister grew up in East London, primarily Hackney and Tower Hamlets, with their mother. She attended Catholic schools in East London, and has said that, during primary school, she bullied other pupils, claiming it was caused by her isolation as the only black pupil in her age cohort. The isolation did not continue into her secondary education at a comprehensive school.

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From 2007 to 2009, Coel attended the University of Birmingham, studying English Literature and Theology. She took a Ché Walker masterclass after meeting Walker at open mic nights. In 2009, she transferred to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she was the first black woman enrolled in five years.

She won the Laurence Olivier Bursary award, which helped her fund her schooling. During her time at Guildhall, Coel attended the Mark Proulx workshop at Prima del Teatro and took the Kat Francois Poetry Course at the Theatre Royal Stratford East. She graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 2012.

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She is best known for creating and starring in the E4 sitcom Chewing Gum (2015–2017), for which she won the BAFTA Award for Best Female Comedy Performance; and the BBC One/HBO comedy-drama series I May Destroy You (2020) for which she won the British Academy Television Award for Best Actress in 2021.

For her work on the latter, Coel made history as the first Black woman to win the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series, Movie, or Dramatic Special at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards.

Coel is also known for her work in other Netflix productions, including guest-starring in the series Black Mirror (2016–2017), starring as Kate Ashby in the series Black Earth Rising (2018), and as Simone in the film Been So Long (2018).

Photo Credit: Getty

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