Anika Noni Rose

Good morning! And welcome to my regularly scheduled Tuesday post.

That’s right; I’m not here with any holidays to celebrate, real or television-based, and  I’m not amped up on Hershey’s kisses, or pictures of certain shirtless actors. Today it’s just you, me, and a funny name.

Cozy, isn’t it?

I thought I’d take advantage of our intimate surroundings here to tell you a little something about myself. Would it surprise you to know that I’m a huge theatre geek?

No?  You’re not surprised?! Really?!? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I’M THEATRICAL??!?!?

Ahem. Ok then. Now that we’ve established my drama-geek bona-fides, let’s talk about a true triple threat of the entertainment industry: Anika Noni Rose. 

Anika is a Tony award-winning Broadway performer, a record-setting movie actress, a truly intimidating television presence, and a funny names aficionado. She left California for the bright lights of Broadway after attending theatre school, and promptly landed this BoFN approved string of parts:

  • Veronica Jonkers, in “Valley Song”
  • Polly Peachum, in “The Threepenny Opera”
  • Rusty, in “Footloose”

Although she worked steadily since arriving on the New York theatre scene, Anika’s big break didn’t come until 2004, when she took on the role of Emmie Thibodeaux in “Caroline, or Change”.

It’s hard to say just how much of her subsequent success was due to the funny-named nature of this role; after all, the book for “Caroline or Change” happens to be written by Tony Kushner, who knows a thing or two about creating award-winning parts for women. Tony’s other writing credits include the film “Lincoln” (for which Sally Field is currently nominated for an Oscar) and the play/mini-series “Angels in America” (for which Meryl Streep won basically the entire Primetime Emmy Awards). Regardless  of the factors involved, funny-named or otherwise, Anika won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance.

After her win, Hollywood opened up to Anika. This gave her the chance to chill with Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson on the set of “Dreamgirls”, and the chance to redefine the notion of a princess for tiara loving kids everywhere.

In 2009, Anika was the lead voice in Disney’s animated feature “The Princess and the Frog” and the very first African-American Disney Princess. Here’s my favourite quote of hers about that experience:

Anika Noni Rose at the unveiling of the "Princess Tiana" Barbie

Awww! Does anyone else just feel like giving her a giant hug right now?

I remember seeing ‘Snow White and saying to my mother,’Will there ever be a Chocolate Brown?’ She said ‘Probably. Why not?’ I just never thought the first black princess would be me.

Completing her triple-threat status, Anika tackled television next, in a variety of roles. You can currently catch her in a recurring role on CBS’s “The Good Wife”, where she plays a calculating and conniving lawyer who scares the heck out of me. A princess she most emphatically is not. 

Congratulations on all your accomplishments Anika! I can’t wait to see what you do next!

love amb

About amb

Would rather spend time in TV land than Corporate World. Writes at and wishes she was more like Ingrid Bergman.
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25 Responses to Anika Noni Rose

  1. Love this post! I must say she did a wonderful job in Princess and the Frog and an even better job letting little girls of color see their inner princess on the big screen.

    • amb says:

      Why thank you 🙂 I agree – I thought she was wonderful in The Princess and the Frog and I thought she handled herself really well in all of the media coverage that followed. She talked about what it meant to her personally instead of what it meant for her career. Very classy!

  2. Pingback: I Almost Forgot! « words become superfluous

  3. Liz says:

    bee-you-ti-fully done, amber:-) Had known nothing about this amazing woman. Love hearing how folk work extremely hard and eventually come to great success. Yay, Anika! (I have a friend who named her daughter Anika Rose–does that mean she has a funny-named daughter?)

    • amb says:

      Thanks Liz! I hadn’t known much about her when I started researching either – I only knew her from tv (surprise surprise!) And now I’m totally impressed by her work ethic and accomplishments!

      That’s so cool your friend’s daughter has the same name! Though I think it’s the middle “Noni” that really pushes this one into funny-named territory … 🙂

    • Dave says:

      “Love hearing how folk work extremely hard and eventually come to great success.” … Haha, someday I’d love to finish that story as well. I feel like I have the first part down… 🙂

      • amb says:

        You’ll get to that second part, no worries. And you have an entire BoFN cheering section here for you until you do! 🙂

      • Liz says:

        You’ve already done some pretty cool things with your life, Young Dave;-) If you’re talking the money part of success, that will follow for sure and will ask that when it does, you please remember those who helped keep your blog afloat while you attended classes, taught students, and other such things. heehee.

  4. Amb-Great job once again. This time I remembered not to drink anything while I read it.

    • amb says:

      I’m glad … though I must admit, my inner drama-geek likes the staging possibilities that open up when a hot beverage is involved 😉 Thanks for the support as always, Fannie!

  5. Dave says:

    Looking at this post, I notice (and realize how fantastic it is) that our choices for who to blog always represent a little piece of ourselves. Looking back at my posts, all I can say is I must be a very fragmented person. A fragmented person who loves Outerbridge Horsey VII, Bitsie Tulloch, Boxing, Dick Butkus, and paleontologists.

    Just noticed another parallel for the “Dave is Ross” line of thought… maybe my best post ever was about rival paleontologists. Damn… I’m not Tom Selleck after all!

    • amb says:

      I suspect my post selections would be fragmented if I had to showcase a different funny name every weekday, too. It helps that I’m not here as often – I can be more selective with my material! But you’re right, blogging is definitely personal – I love that we’re all letting our own selves shine through and not trying to sound the same. So much more fun this way!

      Yup. Face it, you’re Ross. A less whiny and less divorce-able version of Ross … but still Ross. My lobster 😉

      • Liz says:

        very funny with the Lobster, comment, Amb! And Dave Dave Dave–I repeat: Tom Selleck is just too derned hairy to be all that attractive. I, for one, preferred David Schwimmer.

        • amb says:

          As long as it was funny in a good way, and not in a “oh for crying out loud amb, just give the guy a break already.” way! Poor Dave. I really should at least pretend to be a grownup at least some of the time around here. 🙂

          • Liz says:

            don’t you dare go grown-up on us, amber. Would ruin the dynamics of the entire Blogosphere 0-:

          • Dave says:

            Wow, it took me forever to get that reference. Had to Wikipedia it…”My lobster”! I’m blown away by your Friends knowledge! Mind-blowing!

  6. Deborah says:

    noni, huh? i’m not sure how they came up with noni but the noni is a fruit that is native to parts of asia and does well in the peruvian rainforest (i discovered this while i was there). while it’s not the most tasty of fruits, it’s toted for its anti-cancer properties.

  7. Pingback: Lennon Stella and Maisy Stella | The Blog of Funny Names

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