Anika Noni Rose: From a Dreamgirl to a Disney Princess

Anika Noni rose

Anika Noni Rose, an African American actress and singer, has a bright future ahead of her. After graduating high school in 1990, Rose studied at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater. She then moved to New York to jumpstart her acting career. From there, Rose has made many key appearances on both the big screen and the little screen. And for this 37-year-old, it’s only the beginning.

On the Stage

In 1998, Rose made her debut as a performer in Valley Song, a one-act play about the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter in modern South Africa.

In 1999, Rose performed as Marianne in Tartuffe, a French comedy, and as Polly Peachum in the Threepenny Opera, a unique musical that gives audiences a Marxist view of the capitalist world.

Rose never completely left the stage throughout her career. In 2008 she portrayed Maggie “The Cat” in Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.


The 2006 movie version of Dreamgirls was arguably Rose’s big break in the entertainment world. Crudely based off the lives of Diana Ross and The Supremes, Dreamgirls is a musical that follows the lives of three aspiring singers from zeroes to stars. Rose played one of the main characters, Lorrell.

Dreamgirls was so crucial in the career of Anika Noni Rose because she had the privilege of performing alongside Hollywood starts like Eddie Murphy, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, and Beyoncé Knowles.

In a December 2006 interview with Wilson Morales, she said that Murphy was a “joy to work with”. On her transition from the stage to film, she “didn’t find it to be so drastically different”

.Anika Noni Rose

Other Film Work

After Dreamgirls, Rose had the opportunity to work with more big names in the world of film. In 2008 she performed in the comedy Just Add Water with co-star Danny DeVito.

Her pre-Dreamgirls work includes From Justin to Kelly in 2003 and Surviving Christmas in 2004.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency

Guest appearances withstanding, Rose’s major television work has been in the series The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. This HBO and BBC collaboration takes place in the African nation Botswana; the main characters solve an array of mysteries in every episode.

Rose plays an assistant detective named Grace Makutsi.

The series is based off of the novels of Alexander McCall Smith. In an interview with E!, Rose describes Botswana as “fantastic”.

The Princess and the Frog

What’s next for Anika Noni Rose? She’ll be making history as Disney’s first-ever African-American princess in 2009’s The Princess and the Frog. Rose will be the voice of Princess Tiana.

In her interview with E!, Rose reveals that voicing Princess Tiana means that for her three-year-old nephew, she will be the “first princess he sees”.

Anika Noni Rose

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