The rise of Riz Ahmed, Hollywood’s latest leading man

The British Pakistani actor, activist, and rapper turns 39 on December 1

Stars Insider

01/12/21 | StarsInsider


British Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed is set to receive the British Independent Film Awards’ top honor this year, the Richard Harris Award, meaning he'll be joining the ranks of UK greats like Kristin Scott Thomas, Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave, Daniel Day-Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julie Walters, John Hurt, Emma Thompson, Jim Broadbent, and Glenda Jackson.

Every year the prize is given to an actor who has “contributed significantly to British films throughout their career,” but Ahmed has done so much off-screen as well. Not only has he earned himself a spot at the top, but he’s also fighting to help other minorities make it alongside him. He has quickly become one of the most prominent British advocates for diversity on screen.

Ahmed's rise has meant not only that we get to enjoy the perfection of his craft, but we're also generating long overdue conversations about diversity and Muslim representation in entertainment. And as if that weren’t enough, he’s also a rapper, a writer, a producer, and an established Hollywood heartthrob.

But it hasn't been an easy ride for the eloquent star. Click through to see how Riz Ahmed became Hollywood's latest leading man.


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