Emmy and BAFTA award-winning actress, playwright, screenwriter, director, showrunner, poet and author, Michaela Coel is one of the UK’s leading stars. Having won numerous awards for her hit TV series, I MAY DESTROY YOU, Michaela is the first black woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Limited or Anthology series and featured in Time Magazines 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
Michaela’s phenomenally successful and ground-breaking HBO/BBC dark comedy-drama, I MAY DESTROY YOU, which she created, wrote, co-directed and starred in premiered in June 2020. The series is fearless, frank, and provocative, offering refreshing insight into the contemporary lives of young people and the complex issues they face while living, working, and building relationships in London. Michaela plays the central role of ‘Arabella’, a self-assured, care-free Londoner whose identity is called into question upon being spiked with a date-rape drug. The series was met with across-the-board praise from both critics and audiences alike and won a host of prestigious awards including: two Emmys, five BAFTAS, three Royal Television Society awards, a Peabody Award, two Independent Spirit Awards and a GLAAD Award, amongst many others, with multiple nominations globally.
This year will see Michaela star in Marvel movie BLACK PANTHER: WAKANDA FOREVER, the anticipated sequel to the 2018 blockbuster with Ryan Coogler writing and directing again. Michaela joins a cast that includes Letitia Wright, Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Bassett. The film will come out globally on November 11th. She recently finished shooting MR AND MRS. SMITH series for Amazon alongside co-creator, executive producer and star of the show, Donald Glover. Michaela’s first book, MISFITS: A PERSONAL MANIFESTO was released in September 2021 and received wide acclaim, described as: ‘Comic and devastating’ by the New York Times, ‘Your self-help bible of 2021’ by the Sunday Times and ‘A perfect truth teller of our time’ by Elle. The book is a passionate and inspired declaration against fitting in. It is based on the prestigious MacTaggart lecture Michaela gave in 2018 at the Edinburgh TV Festival, where she was the first black woman to take the lectern.
In 2018, Michaela played the lead role in BEEN SO LONG a movie-musical written by Che Walker and directed by Tinge Krishnan. The film was released on Netflix and Michaela was nominated for ‘Most Promising Newcomer’ at the British Independent Film. That year Michaela also starred in the BBC Two/Netflix drama BLACK EARTH RISING, receiving rave reviews for her performance as Kate Ashby, a woman who as a young child was rescued during the Rwandan genocide and brought to Britain. Written and directed by Hugo Blick, the show explored issues of justice, guilt and self-determination across Europe, the UK, Africa, and the USA.
In 2017, Michaela was picked as one of the Screen International ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ and made the Forbes Magazine ‘30 under 30’ list celebrating the brightest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents across the globe. Michaela was also selected as one of the European Shooting Stars at the Berlinale Film Festival.
2017 saw Michaela feature in series four of Charlie Brooker’s award-winning dystopian drama series BLACK MIRROR for Netflix. Michaela had previously appeared in the third series of BLACK MIRROR, in Joe Wright’s episode NOSEDIVE. Michaela also made a surprise cameo appearance in the 2017 film STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.
Michaela first came to prominence for her debut series CHEWING GUM, based on her sensational play, CHEWING GUM DREAMS, which ran at the National Theatre in 2014. The success of CHEWING GUM led to several awards for Michaela including two Royal Television Society Awards for ‘Best Comedy Performance’ and ‘Breakthrough Performance’. A BAFTA Television Craft Award for ‘Breakthrough Talent’, the ‘Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme’ award at the BAFTA Television Awards and a Broadcast Digital Award for ‘Best Scripted Programme’.
Other TV credits include: E4 comedy-drama THE ALIENS; BBC espionage drama LONDON SPY, starring alongside Ben Whishaw and Jim Broadbent; and the award-winning, raw and gripping C4 drama TOP BOY.
Michaela’s theatre credits include acting roles in HOME directed by Nadia Fall, MEDEA and BLURRED LINES, directed by Carrie Cracknell, all at the National Theatre, and THREE BIRDS at the Bush Theatre and Manchester Royal Exchange, directed by Sarah Frankcom.