Sophie okonedo

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Actress (1968)
Wed Sep 21 2022
By   Sushmita22

Sophie Okonedo, the star of the Hotel Rwanda, was born on August 11, 1968, in London. She is a British actress famously known for receiving CBE and OBE, the highest honor an actor can receive, from Queen Elizabeth II.

Sophie is also known for her work in the television series Flack. At the time, she was among the few faces for scarce black roles in the UK.

Iconic character of Sophie Okonedo from Flack
Sophie Okonedo as Caroline in Flack. Source: TVNZ

Parents of Sophie 

Sophie is the daughter of Henry Okonedo (1939-2009) and Joan Allman. Her father was British-Nigerian, and her mother was a British Jew. While her father used to work as a government officer, her mother used to work as a pilates instructor. 

When Sophie was around five, her father, Henry, abandoned the family. After that, Sophie was raised by her single mother, Joan, in the Chalkhil estate, one of the three largest councils in Wembley park of the London Borough of Brent.

Early Life of Sophie Okonedo

While growing up, Joan raised Sophie practicing jew. Fortunately, despite their family's poor conditioning, Sophie had access to books and education.

When Sophie was 16, she left school and started working on a clothing stall at Portobello Market. Later she joined a writer's group led by Hanif Kureishi, who received an academy nod for the screenplay of his novel My Beautiful Laundrette.

Beautiful Sophie Okonedo
A black and white picture of Sophie Okonedo. Source: Love London Love Culture

Slowly, Sophie came to realize her love for acting. After that, Sophie enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, one of the UK's oldest and most prestigious drama schools.

"I quickly realised I was better at reading out other people's bits than I was at the writing. So I got in a play, and then I auditioned for the Royal Academy and got a scholarship there," 

-Sophie Okonedo

Sophie's Successful Career

Sophie debuted in her acting career after she turned twenty-three. She started with the coming-of-age film "Young Soul Rebels" in 1991. She played the character of Tracy, the girlfriend of the main character Chris (Valentine Nonyela).

Beautiful Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo with her beautiful smile. Source: eelive

She has also made appearances in the movies like Ace Ventura, When nature calls (1995), and Dirty Pretty things (2002). She has been credited with over 80 shows and films.

Besides her movies and shows, Sophie was also able to make quite a name on Broadway. Moreover, she received the ''Tony Award'' for her performance in the Revival of the Raisin of the Sun; an outstanding American story.

Trying to keep it together
Sophie Okonedo and Denzel Washington in the Raisin of the Sun. Source: The Guardian

Hotel Rwanda: Sophie's Breakthrough Point

If you a wondering about Hotel Rwanda then let us make it clear to you that it is a historical drama depicting the Rwandan Genocide. Interestingly, Sophie had her first breakthrough in 2004, by co-starring in this movie. 

Her character Rusesabagina is a historical figure, who is a professional nurse from the Tutsi ethnic group who helped over a thousand individuals to escape the massacre. 

In a conversation with Women's Health magazine, she was asked this question:

You're best known for your part in Hotel Rwanda, a film about the genocide in that country in the early '90s. Do you gravitate toward political roles?

And this was Sophie's answer:

I do. I gravitate toward roles about ordinary people who end up in extraordinary situations at extraordinary times in their lives. But my main draw is a good story, whatever it is. Stormbreaker is about a child spy. It isn't a political story, just a cracking good yarn.

Honor From the Queen Elizabeth II

With success in her career, Sophie became one of the stars to receive a prestigious honor from Queen Elizabeth II. Also, Sophie was appointed as the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2010

Sophie Okonedo receiving CBE from Her Majesty
Sophie Okonedo is receiving CBE from Queen Elizabeth II. Source: Twitter

Later in the 2019 New Year Honors for services to drama, Sophie was appointed as the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the honor from Queen Elizabeth II that every British star desires.

Past & Present Relationship of Sophie

According to StarsOffline, Sophie Okonedo married a builder named James Chalmers aka Jamie. However, she has never brought light to this topic, and this news remains unverified. 

The source also states that she became the stepmother of two children because James already had two children from his past relationship. 

Sophie Okonedo with James Chalmers
Picture of Sophie Okonedo with her husband, Jamie Chalmers. Source: Stars Offline

In contradiction to StarsOffline, other sources claim that Sophie has never gotten married. Nonetheless, she was in a relationship with Eoin Martin; an Irish Film Editor. 

Sophie's relationship with Martin lasted only three years, from 1995 to 1998. And she gave birth to a lovely daughter during their relationship.

Who Is Sophie's Biological Daughter? 

From her past relationship with Eoin Martin, Sophie gave birth to her daughter, Aoife Martin, in 1997. Because the child's father was Irish and Sophie's origins were Nigerian-British-Jew, Sophie said she likes to call Aoife Irish Nigerian Jew.

Sophie Okonedo with her biological daughter, Aoife Martin.
Sophie Okonedo with her biological daughter, Aoife Martin. Source: Biography Gist

Without caring about society's beliefs, Sophie showed bravery and raised Aoife as a single mother.

So How Rich Is Sophie Okonedo?

The net worth of the Hotel Rwanda star Sophie Okonedo is estimated to be around $5 million. Through her credits in over 80 films and shows, she has made quite a feat with her acting career.

With the control of this amount of money, she is undoubtedly living a luxurious lifestyle. Also, check out the net worth of Eleanor Updale.

Awards & Nominations

Sophie receive the ''Black Reel Award'' for Best Actress in 2005 for her role in Hotel Rwanda just like Wesley Snipes. She was also nominated for an ''Academy Award'' for Best Supporting Actress in this performance.

Sophie was also nominated for the ''Black Reel Award'' for Outstanding Actress, TV Movie, or Limited Series for her performance in The Hollow Crown (2012).

Sophie Okonedo portrays Queen Margaret in The Hollow Crown
Sophie Okonedo as Queen Margaret in The Hollow Crown. Source: Twitter

Likewise, for her role in the miniseries Tsunami; The Aftermath, she won NAACP Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special. In 2008, her team of The Secret Life of The Bees also won the Ensemble Acting of the year from the Hollywood Film Awards.

Sophie Okonedo At Present 

Sophie is now residing in Muswell Hill in London. Sophie has stated that it is easier for her to get hired in the US than in the UK. She revealed that she would like to do more projects in her home country.

Sophie Okonedo turning 50 and playing cleopatra  opposite Ralph Fiennes
Sophie Okonedo posing for a photoshoot. Source: The Telegraph

Sophie has been living a peaceful life in a place considered to be North London's untouched gem.

Social Media Handles

Despite receiving fame and success throughout her acting career, Sophie has always remained a conservative person. She doesn't like to impose her beliefs on others nor she likes to be swayed by others' beliefs.

Thus, the actress has chosen to continue her private life without being bothered by the media. Though she does not have any personal social media platform, her influence remains the same.


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