Anika Noni Rose is an American actress and singer, possibly known best for her voice role in the animation “The Princess and the Frog”, and for her portrayal of Lorrell Robinson in the movie “Dreamgirls”. She is still pursuing her acting career, and occasionally provides online classes about musical theatre.

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Early life, family, educational background

Anika Noni Rose was born on 6 September 1972, in Bloomfield, Connecticut USA to Claudia Rose and John Rose Jr.; she has a brother who prefers to maintain a private lifestyle.

As a child, Anika loved reading, perusing every book she’d come across, even those that weren’t age-appropriate for her. She also enjoyed examining other people, and imitating their behavior, walk and gestures, the first demonstration of acting for the young girl. Her interest in theater grew stronger as she got older, because her parents would take her to New York City to attend plays, opera and dance performances.

Anika studied at Bloomfield High School. During her freshman year, she performed in the musical “Fame” which showed her that acting could be a suitable career path. Simultaneously, she was involved in track and field. She acquired higher education at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, , graduating with a bachelor’s degree in theater in 1994. To refine her acting skills even further, Rose enrolled at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California US, graduating with a master’s degree in Fine Arts in 1998. At that point, she was already landing roles in theatre.

Career

Career in theatre

Anika made her debut in acting by performing in various notable plays. In 1998, she portrayed Katie Lynn in the play “Insurrection: Holding History” which explores the issues of racial and sexual identity with an engaging time-traveling plot. During the same year, the actress appeared in two more plays: “Valley Song” and “Hydriotaphia, or the Death of Dr. Browne”.

In 2000, Anika was cast for the role of Rusty in the Broadway musical “Footloose”, which allowed her to gain wider recognition. The following year, she appeared in significant plays such as “Carmen Jones”, “Eli’s Comin’”, and “Me and Mrs. Jones”, delivering award-winning performances. From 2003 to 2004, the actress played the role of Emmie Thibodeaux in the musical “Caroline, or Change” written by Tony Kushner.

Throughout her career in theatre, Anika mainly appeared in plays that centered around racial narrative in one way or another. She performed in multiple award-winning plays, such as “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2008)”, “Company (2011)”, and “Carmen Jones (2018)”.

Career in film and on television

Anika debuted in film in 1999, with a role in the short movie “King of the Bingo Game”, and made her first appearance on television in 2001, playing a minor role in an episode of the TV series “100 Centre Street”. In 2003, she portrayed Kaya in the movie “From Justin to Kelly” which ‘won’ the Golden Raspberry Awards for Worst “Musical” of Our First 25 Years. In 2004, she appeared in two films: “Temptation” and “Surviving Christmas”.

In 2006, Anika landed her first big role as Lorrell Maya Robinson in the movie “Dreamgirls” starring Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Fox, and Beyoncé. In 2007, she was a member of the main cast in the Tv miniseries “The Starter Wife” portraying Lavender – a security guard who’s sheltered by the main character Molly. In 2008, she appeared in the movie “Just Add Water” directed by Hart Bochner, then later that year through 2009, Anika had another leading role, as Grace Makutsi in the BBC and HBO TV series “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”, in which she portrayed assistant detective.

In 2009, Anika was cast for the voice role of Tiana in the Walt Disney Pictures animated movie “The Princess and the Frog”, portraying an African-American waitress and an aspiring chef who is fully concentrated on pursuing her career. Tiana was Disney’s first African-American princess, setting the precedent in the industry. According to Roger Ebert, the movie portrays African-American characters in a lifted spirit, side-stepping the harsh realities they faced. Anika herself believes that the animation allowed young African-American children to see the characters that looked like them in a Disney movie.

In 2010, Rose portrayed Yasmine/“Lady in Yellow” in the movie “For Colored Girls”, based on Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf”, and centered around the struggles of women of color. Concurrently, the actress had the recurring role as Wendy Scott-Carr in the TV series “The Good Wife”.

In 2013, Anika appeared in the movie “Half of a Yellow Sun” as Kainene, one of the sisters who travel to Nigeria after finishing their education in the UK and US, witnessing the Nigerian Civil War. In 2014, she played the role of Miss Price in “Imperial Dreams”, then from 2015 to 2018, Rose had recurring roles as Liz Babbitt and LaVerne “Jukebox” Ganner in the TV series “Bates Motel” and “Power”, respectively. Concurrently, she was a member of the main cast in “The Quad”, portraying Dr. Eva Fletcher who is a newly-elected president of Georgia A&M University.

In 2020, Anika was the voice of Nut in the animated series “Magical Girl Friendship Squad: Origins”. She also appeared in an episode of “Little Fires Everywhere”. During the same year, the actress portrayed Taneesha Branz in the movie “Body Cam” and Jessica Jangle in “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”.

Most recently, in 2021, she had a recurring role as Ella Mae Johnson in the TV series “Them” and the main role as Regina in “Maid”. From 2021 to 2022, she voiced Dr. Jan in the animated series “Amphibia”.

Awards and nominations

Anika Rose has won multiple notable awards throughout her successful career as an actress,. In 2001, she won the Obie Award for Best Performance for her work in “Eli’s Comin’”. For her portrayal of Emmie Thibodeaux in “Caroline, or Change” she won four awards in 2004: Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Female, Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Featured Actress, Theatre World Award, and Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.

In 2010, Anika won the Black Reel Award for Outstanding Voice Performance in “The Princess and the Frog”. For the same work, in 2011 she was named a Disney Legend, which is a Hall of Fame program for extraordinary contributors. In 2019, the actress received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her performance in the play “Carmen Jones”.

Personal life

As of late 2022, Anika Noni Rose seems to be single. Rumors are circulating about her relationship with the actor Colman Domingo, however, the latter is homosexual and is married to Raul Domingo. Even though Anika is active on Instagram and Twitter, she doesn’t share much information about her personal life. She doesn’t have any children.

Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts

  • Anika loves being physically active. She inherited her athleticism from her grandmother who was the founder of the all-black, all-girls Industrial League softball team Tigerettes;
  • She is the host of the award-winning podcast “Being Seen”, which mainly focuses on cultural representations, engaging prominent artists, activists, writers, etc. in interesting discussions and conversations;
  • During the pandemic, Anika had a series on Instagram “Bedtime Stories for the Littlies” during which she read bedtime stories to her younger audience, partly to encourage their interest in reading;
  • She collaborated with Walt Disney World to design the “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure” ride in Disneyland, which will open in 2024;
  • She is also a tutor at Varsity Tutors, providing online acting classes about musical theatre;
  • Anika is vocal about political issues concerning the rights of women and people of color;
  • On 30 August 2022, she performed the national anthem at US Open tennis tournament.

Appearance, clothing style

Anika Noni Rose is 50 years old. She has a darker complexion with curly black hair and brown eyes. She is 5ft 2ins (157cm) in height and weighs approximately 125lbs (57kgs). The actress wears casual clothes on a daily basis, but she loves sporting designer clothes on special occasions. She’s frequently seen wearing brands such as Jonathan Simkhai, Alexandre Birman, Badgley Mischka, among others. She also loves wearing high-end accessories from Alexis Bittar, Swarovski, etc.

Net worth and salary

As of late 2022, Anika Noni Rose’s net worth is estimated at close to $3 million; her main source of income is her acting career. She resides in Los Angeles, California but it’s unknown whether she owns any real estate properties or not.

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