Michaela Boakye-Collinson, professionally known as Michaela Coel, is a two time BAFTA winning poet, singer, writer and actor. Born to an extremely religious mother who was devoted to the Pentecostal church, her first play Chewing Gum Dreams was semi-autobiographical based in Tower Hamlets, London.
After winning the Laurence Olivier bursary to attend the Guildhall school of Music and Drama, Coel wrote the hilarious and enlightening play Chewing Gum Dreams as an expression of her experience as a 14-year-old girl. Torn between religion and her sexuality, the refreshing monologue set the scene into her inner struggle, whilst growing up on a housing estate in the east end of London.
Fantastically for us, this was brought to a wider audience, with the novel and sitcom Chewing Gum, based on the play. The show portrays 24-year-old virgin Tracey, whose frank honesty and courage, yet naivety about her inner turmoil, led to a brilliant heart breaking show, now renewed for its third season on Channel 4.
Coming from a predominately female environment (her dad left before she was born, and she attended an all girl’s school up to sixth form), Michaela is truthful about the fact she didn’t know how to act around boys, and this is beautifully depicted in Chewing gum. With so many laugh out loud, yet cringe educing moments, you really get inside Tracy’s head. It’s hard to not to fall a little bit in love with the wayward teenager.
Michaela is a talented writer, but her accolades don’t stop there. She has acted in some popular shows, from Aliens to the hotly anticipated Charlie Brooker phenomenon Black Mirror. Winning a BAFTA for Best Female Performance in a Comedy and another for Breakthrough Talent, it looks like this is just the start for this creative genius.
We are anxious to see what’s next for Michaela, who is already becoming an icon for girls all around the UK and beyond, which is why she is this week’s Amor’s WCW!
Words : Lauren Wigley
Check out the Chewing Gum trailer here: