Aja Naomi King
Aja Naomi King was born in Los Angeles in 1985. Her mother recognized talent in her daughter's living room song and dance moves, and took the young girl to some auditions in their hometown. Hobbled by stage fright, the early auditions didn't pan out, but King persevered and received a BFA in acting at the University of California at Santa Barbara and an MFA from Yale University's School of Drama. After a couple of short films, her first professional onscreen appearance came in 2010, when she was cast in an episode of the Tom Selleck police drama "Blue Bloods" (CBS, 2010- ). Her first major role was as a regular on the CW medical drama "Emily Owens, M.D." (The CW, 2012-2013). The show lasted for only one season. In 2012, she played in the ensemble independent feature "Four," which won the award for Best Performance at the Los Angeles Film Festival. In 2014, King appeared in a recurring role, as intern Ali Henslee, on "Black Box" (ABC, 2014). Although that show was also cancelled after one season, King again quickly landed a role on another premiering ABC show, "How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC, 2014-). Created by superstar producer Shonda Rhimes, and starring Academy Award-nominee Viola Davis, the show was a quick success and provided King with the most exposure to that point in her career. King's starring role in Nate Parker's slave rebellion drama "The Birth of a Nation" (2016) garnered some of the film's idest acclaim.