Aja Naomi King is one of Variety’s 10 Actors to Watch for 2016! Aja was included in the list along with notable actors Riz Ahmed, John Legend, and Mahershala Ali.
Here is the photo and write-up from the feature. Congrats Aja!
The L.A. native has had quite a year. First, she starred opposite first-time feature director Nate Parker and Armie Hammer in Fox Searchlight’s new release, “The Birth of a Nation,” which won the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance. Playing Cherry, a desperate slave and Nat Turner’s wife, “was quite a stretch,” King admits of her harrowing role. “At first I really tried to embody all her strength and power, but then I realized that what was so beautiful about her are those moments of vulnerability, and her lightness and love, and the sweetness and simplicity of that, because it’s such a dark story. Typically [in slave dramas] you only see the pain and turmoil and tragedy — you never get to see the full scope of their humanity.”
And now she’s back on the set as law student Michaela Pratt in the award-winning hit ABC drama “How to Get Away With Murder,” which returned last month for its third season. “It couldn’t be more different from ‘Nation,’” says King, who received a supporting actress in a drama series nomination at the 2015 NAACP Image Awards for her performance in the series. “It’s Shondaland, completely insane and it’s going to be quite a twisty ride, full of huge surprises,” she promises of the new season. “And I love playing Michaela. She’s so much fun and there’s this arrogance to her that I really appreciate. She’s just so fully in love with herself, never apologizes for it, and it’s something we should all embrace a little.” Ironically King, whose credits include the sc-fi thriller “Reversion,” Whit Stillman’s “Damsels in Distress,” and such TV shows as ABC’s “Black Box” and CW’s “Emily Owens M.D.”, always wanted to be a doctor. “But then I played one on TV, so it kind of all worked out.” — Iain Blair
Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, Kate Winslet