Charmaine Bingwa Biography: Early Life | Education | Theatre and Film Career | Emancipation | Awards
Charmaine Bingwa is a rising Zimbabwean star in Hollywood who has starred in The Good Fight, Emancipation, and King Shaka. She is also a singer, writer, producer, and director who has won several awards and scholarships for her work.
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Charmaine Bingwa Early Life and Education
Charmaine Bingwa was born on November 13, 1985, in Perth, Western Australia, to Zimbabwean parents who migrated to Australia. She identifies as a lesbian. She attended Santa Maria College, a Roman Catholic school for girls in Perth, and graduated in 2001.
She began her career as a singer and completed a Bachelor of Music at university. She discovered her passion for acting when she took it as an elective in her final year of study. She signed with an acting agent soon after graduating.
Theatre and Film Career
Bingwa made her theatre debut in 2013 in the play The Motherf**ker with the Hat. She went on to star in several other stage productions, including Doubt: A Parable, for which she received a Sydney Theatre Award nomination in 2017. She also collaborated with acclaimed playwright John Patrick Shanley, who praised her as “a rare talent” and “a force of nature”.
Bingwa made her film debut in 2018 in the horror comedy Nekrotronic. She also wrote, produced, and co-directed the web series Little Sista, which won the Best Screenplay award at the LGBT Toronto Film Festival in 2018. She also received recognition for her writing on Stille Nacht, which premiered at the Academy-qualifying and BAFTA-recognized film festival Flickerfest.
Bingwa’s breakthrough role came in 2021 when she joined the cast of the CBS series The Good Fight as Carmen Moyo, a talented and morally complex lawyer. The creators of the show, Michelle and Robert King, said they were thrilled to have her on board and that they knew she was perfect for the role from her audition. Bingwa received critical acclaim for her performance, with many calling her “the season’s standout performer”.
Charmaine Bingwa On Emancipation With Will Smith
Bingwa also appeared in Antoine Fuqua’s film Emancipation (2022) as Dodienne, the wife of Peter (Will Smith), a runaway slave who joins the Union Army during the American Civil War. Bingwa’s performance was praised as “unflinching”, “incredibly moving”, and “Oscar-worthy” by critics and audiences alike. Bingwa will reteam with Fuqua for his upcoming historical epic King Shaka (2023), in which she will play Isisa, a fierce and formidable warrior.
Bingwa’s other recent credits include Black Box (2020), a psychological thriller produced by Amazon Studios; The Pitch (2021), a comedy short film; Trees of Peace (2022), a Netflix drama about four women who survived the Rwandan genocide; and KAPŌ (2022), a sci-fi thriller about a futuristic prison system.
Awards and Recognition
Bingwa has won several awards and scholarships for her work as an actor and filmmaker. In 2018, she became the first person of colour and the first openly gay recipient of the Heath Ledger Scholarship, which is awarded annually to an emerging Australian actor who wants to pursue a career in Hollywood.
The judging panel included Oscar-winner Matt Damon, Naomi Watts, Elizabeth Debicki, Rose Byrne, Carmen Cuba, and Jeremy Podeswa. Debicki commented that Bingwa’s audition “showcased her raw and vivid talent” and that she “blew them away”. Watts also praised her as “an incredible talent”.
Bingwa also won the Equity Atlantic Award in 2018, which allowed her to study at the Atlantic Theater Company in New York. She was also selected to be part of APRA AMCOS’ Screen SongHubs 2019, a program that connects screen composers with filmmakers.
Bingwa is also an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. She has spoken out about the challenges and opportunities for actors of colour and LGBTQ+ actors in Hollywood. She has also supported various causes and charities, such as UNICEF, Amnesty International, The Trevor Project, and The Actors Benevolent Fund.
Charmaine Bingwa Personal Life
Bingwa is currently based in Los Angeles, California. She is married to Australian actress Nicole Shostak, whom she met on the set of Little Sista. They tied the knot in 2019 in a private ceremony in Malibu. Bingwa is also a singer-songwriter and plays guitar. She has supported international artists such as Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony, and Rachel Platten on their tours in Australia.