By Jared Alexander

The actress earned rave reviews with her performance as Cora in ‘The Underground Railroad’

A rising star, indeed. Thuso Mbedu, the breakout actress from the Amazon Prime series The Underground Railroad, won the award for TV Breakout Star at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards on Sunday night.

With seven Primetime Emmy Awards and massive critical acclaim, Barry Jenkins ‘epic mini-series has proved to be one of the most acclaimed shows to come out of 2021.

Leading the series as protagonist Cora, Mbedu also received rave reviews for her performance, despite her glaring Emmys snub. Still, it seems Mbedu may be getting her flowers after all, taking home the TV Breakout Star prize at the Hollywood Critics Association Awards.

The South African actress took to Instagram to celebrate her win, dedicating her caption to this exciting chapter in her life.

She wrote to her followers, “Thank you very much to @hollywoodcriticsassociation for this special recognition. #TheUndergroundRailroad has been an amazing journey from start to finish.”

She continued, “I could not have asked for a better introduction to storytelling on this side of the world. I am truly honoured. Truly. Thank you to every single person who has walked this journey with me. You’re loved by me. Forever ❤️.” She also penned a shoutout to Amazon and writer-director Jenkins, before thanking her styling team. “And another shoutout to the team that always has me feeling like a winner,” she added.

Mbedu recently covered W Magazine, opening up about her time working on The Underground Railroad, as well as her next project with Viola Davis. On her process of finding Cora’s voice outside of her own South African accent, she explained, “How do we find a middle ground? Hearing their broken English drew me much closer to them.”

She continued, “In rural South Africa, in certain parts of the townships, some people speak like that. In the recordings, I heard Africans, rather than just African-Americans. I also heard broken spirits, and that changed how I treated Cora. I felt that, as someone who was so withdrawn and isolated, she would use her silence and her voice as weapons.”

Jenkins also appeared in the profile and talked about his process with the talented actress. He opened up about filming the episode “On Balance.”
“…the imagery we filmed on that day wasn’t as hard as on some other days, and yet I looked across the field and could see the burden, the weight on Thuso,” he shared.

“As she was passing to move to her spot in the frame, I extended my hand. I didn’t have anything to say; I just wanted to hold her hand a moment to let her know that I was with her, that we all were. I don’t think we said a single word to one another, just held hands and eyes, and then she went on.” –

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