Rapper and actress Awkwafina became a performer to cope with the trauma of losing her mother at four years old.
After much reflection, the Crazy Rich Asians star has now realised the death of her mum at such a young age helped shape her ability to put on a performance.
"I really do, looking back now, attribute whatever comedic sensibility I have to that traumatic event," she tells PorterEdit. "I think I developed and used humour very early as a defence mechanism, to make people around me feel joy instead of sorrow. That was when I started to perform."
Before breaking into Hollywood, the Ocean's 8 star, born Nora Lum, shot to fame on the underground hip-hop scene under her stage name Awkwafina, and although she's achieved new heights in showbusiness, her initial venture as a professional entertainer was also a traumatic experience, because she was fired from her day job following the release of her graphic video for 2012 hit My Vag.
"I felt disgraced, shamed, and I never got over it," she shares, before revealing a recent victory over the matter. "Recently my old boss wrote me this email congratulating me. I still carry that sadness (about being fired), so it (the email) gave me a level of closure."
Awkwafina, 29, confesses she is often haunted by her future following her meteoric rise to international fame in the wake of her history-making box office smash Crazy Rich Asians, which featured an all-Asian cast.
"I always expect it to end tomorrow," she says. "I always expect that all the money I've made - not a lot - will disappear and (news outlet) Buzzfeed will write a 'Whatever happened to...' article about me... But if it does go away, I won't be mad. Because it happened, you know, and that's a privilege."