Gina Yashere(1974-), Comedian
Sitter in 3 portraits
Comedian and actress Gina Yashere was born in Bethnal Green, London to Nigerian parents. She worked as an elevator engineer (the company's first female to do so) before moving into comedy and making her stage debut in Edinburgh at the age of twenty. In 1996 she was a finalist in the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year, and appeared on the BBC2 panel show Blouse and Skirt. She was voted Best Female Stand-Up at the Black International Comedy Awards in 2002, and gained wider recognition in the early 2000s with appearances on BBC comedy shows The Lenny Henry Show, Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, and she co-hosted the 2006 and 2007 MOBO Awards. Around this time she moved to the US due to the lack of opportunities for black comedians in the UK. With regular appearances on programmes such as The Jay Leno Show, and solo stand-up specials including Laughing to America and Skinny B*tch, Yashere has become a prime-time star in America. In 2017, she became the British Correspondent on the popular late-night talk and news satire programme, The Daily Show.