Uzo Aduba Tells How Her Name Got Her on ‘OITNB’


Emmy-nominated actress Uzo Aduba published a touching article for The Daily Beast describing how her name helped her overcome her toughest battles and led her to landing the role on Orange Is The New Black.

“Each Igbo name has a story behind it, so upon my birth, my mother carefully chose my name to be Uzoamaka, which means ‘the road is good,’”says Uzo

Coming from a Nigerian immigrant family, Uzo always strived to make her family proud. Many times she considered giving up on her dreams of being an actress for a more financially stable career.

“The summer before I started work on Orange Is the New Black, I found myself on the brink. It was my first pilot season and I had put it all on the line. No theater, no play offers—film and TV only. I heard the word “no” so often that it started to feel like a second name. I watched my savings dwindle.”

Right when she was about to give up, she landed the role that would change her life. Initially, the character Crazy Eyes was only supposed to be on two episodes of OITNB, but two turned into multiple episodes and by Season 2 Uzo’s character was promoted to a show regular.

“At certain moments, the struggles and the losses have felt like the definition of my acting career. But in hindsight, they were just part of the journey to get me to where I stand today. Those low points helped me to recognize the dream, now that I see it more clearly. A dream that my mom had also seen, as she stared into the eyes of the baby girl whom she named Uzoamaka.”