Born to Nigerian immigrants in London, Cynthia Erivo started performing on stage as an 11 year-old and had some success, starring as Juliet in the Young Vic youth production of "Romeo & Juliet" at age 15 in addition to appearing in a number of commercials. In college, she was set to study music psychology, but an encounter with her Young Vic director convinced her to stick with it and train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. In 2011, she played Deloris Van Cartier, the lead character in the U.K. tour of the musical "Sister Act" based on the 1992 film of the same name, starring Whoopi Goldberg in the role. Ironically, the role led to another staged musical version of a character created by Goldberg, when Erivo played the role of Celie Harris in the 2013 London production of "The Color Purple," a role originated by Goldberg in the 1985 filmed version. In 2015, Erivo was the only member of the British cast to come with the show to Broadway, playing the same role to much acclaim, with Jennifer Hudson in the lead role. She followed this stage success with a recurring role in the historical drama "Mr. Selfridge" (PBS/ITV, 2013-). Her breakthrough film roles came in the quirky drama "Bad Times at the El Royale" (2018) and Steve McQueen's collaboration with Gillian Flynn, "Widows" (2018).