More Than Just a Zombie: Danai Gurira


Photo By: Natalie Wilson

Danai Gurira is a woman of many talents; it is no wonder she is admired by so many.

With every dramatic show I get sucked into, I tend to end up emotionally clinging onto one character. Their genders vary, but for some reason the role is always the smart mouth of the group, the one who no one challenges. I have submissively decided that my obsession with this personality is because I have the courage of a butterfly and a tongue sweet like sugar, except for those times when I am solitarily confined in the walls of my home and my toe goes to war with every piece of furniture in my household. No matter how hard I try, I can never replicate all of the confidence I see on screen. Between re-watching episodes portraying their greatest moments and taking mental notes on their whole-hearted style and attitude, it seems it is just not enough to ‘walk the walk’ or ‘talk the talk’. One must accept the sass and make it their own- something Danai Gurira has achieved with flying colors.

Gurira’s edgy vibe has landed her many roles through her nine years as an actress. Her biggest break yet, and the one I admire her dearly for, is Michonne from Walking Dead. Playing the dread-rocking, katana-slinging baddie of the bunch, Michonne has a special place in my heart. I get to sit in the comfort of my home with my bowl of cookie dough ice cream and my obnoxious dog while getting to watch my role model punch, slash and kick her way through the zombie apocalypse. Every ‘sword-through-the-eye-socket’ moment intensifies my guilty infatuation with her and every inch of her attitude.  She does such a great job completely fulfilling the role that I believe I am more in love with the fictional character than the woman in her shoes.

I not only admire her amazing acting talent, but also her Christian connection with her community. In 2008, she offered to read a letter of a misplaced victim of Hurricane Katrina at the Global Green Sustainable Design Awards in the honor of a New Orleans native she never even knew. One of Gurira’s plays, In the Continuum, commemorated World AIDS Day in December 2011.  The same year, she co-founded Almasi: an organization dedicated to continuing the education of arts in Zimbabwe, her home country. I find all of her selfless dedication a huge inspiration to my own life, but one of the things I admire most about this strong, beautiful woman is her fearless style.

Now Michonne has the rocking body and perfect attitude to pull off ripped jeans and combat boots, but Danai sticks to the other side of the mall, stunning her fellow actors and actresses with cut-out dresses, eye catching colors and even down-to-earth Zimbabwean accessories every time her heels touch the red carpet.  With her rocking pixie haircut, preference to minimal make-up, and generally warming smirk, she gives off a gorgeous vibe- the kind you would want your daughters to see. You will never catch her exposing women in profanity, as she conquers fashion with self-respect. She has shown me that you do not have to be model skinny or decked with make-up to be stunning, you should just be confident in ‘you’.

All in all, Danai Gurira has shown me much more than how to look cool while surviving the apocalypse. She has been an illustration of my growing personality and confident style, and has also taught me that following your dreams does not relate to ethnicity or wealth, but to your drive to succeed. Although girls like me may not quite be able to obtain the aura of Michonne, Danai has shown me to be confident in myself, and that the beauty will follow shortly after.


Tavis Smiley. “My Conversation with Danai Gurira”.  Huffington Post: The BLOG. The Huffington Post.10 October 2013. Web. 21 October 2013.

Paul Gaita. “Danai Gurira Biography”. Star Pulse. 2013. Web. 22 October 2013.