The Rigors of Ilfenesh Hadera’s Career Growth and Facts About Her Ethnicity & Boyfriend

Ilfenesh Hadera is a rising Hollywood star who has made her presence felt in the industry since the inception of her acting career in 2010. If you’ve been following the ABC-aired crime procedural drama series, Deception, then you must be fond of, or perhaps, be a fan of the actress. She featured in the series as Kay Daniels – the hard-working FBI special agent.

This TV show is just one of the many series this beautiful American actress has been a part of. You may also have seen her in other series like Godfather of Harlem, Billions, She’s Gotta Have It, and Show Me A Hero, among many others but she is best known for her role in the hit movie, Baywatch, where she portrayed the character of Stephanie Holden. Obviously, her role in films and TV series plays a part in her rise to prominence, as well as her works as a volunteer in her Ethiopian father’s non-profit organisation, African Services Committee.

Intriguing Facts About The Rising Star’s Ethnicity

Born on December 1, 1985, in the New York City of the United States of America, Ilfenesh Hadera is of European-American ancestry but she holds an American nationality. She is the daughter to Asfaha Hadera, an Ethiopian refugee and founder of the African Services Committee, where she is a member. Her mother, Kim Nicholas belongs to the European-American ancestry. Hadera on her own belongs to Ethiopian European ethnicity. Her name Ilfenesh has an Ethiopian root as it means in her father’s language of Tigrinya, “You are Infinite”. Her family seems to be committed to charity and public advocacy. Information about other members of her family cannot be reached.

Making Acting a Career Choice and Starting Out as a Waitress

Hadera took a determinant step in her chosen career by studying at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and Performing Arts, New York, USA. Her passion for acting pushed her into furthering her studies at Harlem School Of Arts and equally attending graduate school in London. There, she opted for a joint program between the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and King’s College, where she eventually earned her Master of Fine Arts degree.

Before joining the entertainment industry, Ilfenesh Hadera worked as a waitress for ten years and a member of the African Services Committee which aimed at improving the lives of poor African citizens. Hadera also enrolled in a DJ school with the thought that it would be her plan-B career should her acting career fail. Unfortunately, she was not as good in DJing as she is as an actress. While working as a waitress, Ilfenesh Hadera anticipated for a budding acting career. Thankfully, her lifelong dream has been brought to fruition in recent years.

Ilfenesh Hadera’s Rise To Popularity

Making a successful landing in the entertainment industry wasn’t so much of an issue for young Hadera who already gathered all the acting training she needed. Ilfenesh Hadera began her acting career proper in 2010 with small roles in movies like 1/20. She further appeared in the 2011 film, Da Brick which focused loosely on Mike Tyson‘s upbringing. It was followed by her appearance in the neo-noir action thriller film, Oldboy, and in the crime thriller TV series, The Blacklist, which premiered on September 23, 2013.

Later in 2015, she played a role in the popular musical drama film Chi-Raq. She also had a role in the miniseriesShow Me a Hero, portraying the character of Carmen Febles. In the same year, the gorgeous actress scored a recurring role in three episodes of the American action drama TV series, Chicago Fire. Following her sensational display in the aforementioned series, Ilfenesh Hadera was cast in one of her best-recognized acting career roles – Deb Kawi – in TV series, Billions, from 2016 to 2017.

Also in 2016, Hadera featured as Abby in the web TV series, Difficult People, as well as Naomi Golden in two episodes of Conviction. Then in the year 2017, The Blacklist actress gained global recognition for her outstanding portrayal of Stephanie Holden in the action comedy film, Baywatch. She starred alongside Dwayne Johnson, Zac Efron, Jon Bass, Alexandra Daddario, Kelly Rohrbach and Priyanka Chopra in the box office hit which follows the story of the legendary Mitch Buchannon, leading his elite squad of lifeguards on a mission to take down a drug lord, whose devious plans pose a threat to the future of the bay.

In the same 2017, Ilfenesh Hadera landed three TV roles; she was cast as Lisa in Master of None, Mistress in The Punisher, and Opal Gilstrap in She’s Gotta Have It. The latter played a fundamental role in skyrocketing Hadera’s height of fame, as her recurring character of Opal Gilstrap became one of the show’s fan-favorite characters. Her performance equally garnered numerous praise from the critics. Consequently, the adept actress gained a lead role in the American crime drama TV series, Deception in the year 2018.

She portrayed Kay Daniels in the short-lived ABC series that starred Jack Cutmore-Scott and Lenora Crichlow. After running for one season, the show was canceled by ABC on May 11th, 2018. The cancellation, however, served as an open door for the actress to land her acclaimed role of Mayme Johnson – the spouse of drug trafficker Bumby Johnson, played by Forest Whitaker in the crime drama TV series, Godfather of Harlem that was premiered on Epix on September 29th, 2019.

Having been renewed for a second season in February 2020, Hadera will continue to prove her mettle in the film industry with her sensational displays in the Epix series. Though the actress is yet to claim any award or nomination, there is no denying the fact that she will surely nab many accolades in the ensuing years. Interestingly, Ilfenesh Hadera has not only earned fame but the financial balance to go with it.

The American actress earned lofty salaries from her appearances in films like Baywatch which gathered up to $177.9 million with a production budget of $69 million. So far, her net worth is estimated at $1.5 million.

See Also: Who is Actress Sara Martins of Death in Paradise, What is She Doing Now?

What We Know About Her Love Life

The Hollywood actress Ilfenesh Hadera is not yet married but she is engaged to her boyfriend, Alexander Soroken who is neither in the entertainment business like her nor a celebrity. Soroken is a bartender at the La Esquina bar located in New York City. The couple is known for sharing pictures of themselves on social media. They have been engaged since 2016 but are yet to announce any plan to officially become husband and wife.

Ilfenesh and Alex Soroken
Ilfenesh and Alex Soroken (Image Source)

In September 2019, the two lovebirds attended the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI) “Place for Peace” held at Gotham Hall, New York City. They are obviously waxing strong as a couple, enjoying precious time together as they continue to work towards tying the knot anytime soon.

Although there is no record of her past relationships, the beautiful actress seems to have a clean slate which is probably why she is not involved in any rumor or controversy.

Chika Udeh
Chika holds a B.A in English language/History and has over 5 years experience in content development and journalism. She loves playing with writing, wordsmiths, and storytelling in all its forms, and when she is not writing about famous people and events that matter, she is probably listening or dancing to some cool jams.


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