Sonequa Martin-Green
File:Sonequa Martin-Green 2017.jpg
Martin-Green at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Born Sonequa Martin
March 21, 1985 (1985-03-21) (age 35)
Russellville, Alabama, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress, producer
Spouse Kenric Green (m. 2010)
Children 1

Sonequa Martin-Green (/səˈnkwə/;[1] born March 21, 1985)[2] is an American actress and producer. She is best known for her television roles as Michael Burnham, the main character in the web television series Star Trek: Discovery and as Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead.[3] Before that, she had starred in several independent films before gaining her first recurring role as Courtney Wells on The Good Wife. Later, she had recurring roles as Tamara in Once Upon a Time[4][5][6][7] and Rhonda in New Girl.

Early life

Martin-Green was born in Russellville, Alabama. She has one sister and three older half-sisters. She had initially planned to become a psychologist before deciding to pursue a career in acting when she was in the tenth grade.[8] On her decision to become an actor, she said, "I didn't know I was going to be an actor until I was 16. I thought I was going to be a psychologist, which is interesting because it's very similar to acting. I was fascinated with human behavior and why people do what they do. I was in the middle of rehearsal in 10th grade when I had this epiphany. And so I got my theatre degree from the University of Alabama."[9]

After graduating from the University of Alabama in 2007 with a degree in theatre,[10] she relocated to New York City where she and her husband, Kenric, lived for five years before moving to California.



While known primarily for her television roles, Sonequa Martin-Green made her film debut in 2009. In 2009, she played the lead role of Tosha Spinner in Toe to Toe opposite Louisa Krause, the fiercely determined scholarship student who seeks to build a brighter future outside of Anacostia and away from one of Washington's poorest neighborhoods. The film focuses on her friendship and rivalry with Jessie (Louisa Krause), a privileged girl from Bethesda whose promiscuous tendencies threaten to become her undoing. They both strive to gain a better understanding of one another's plight as society threatens to drive them ever farther apart. The film received generally positive reviews, with Martin-Green's performance receiving critical acclaim,[11][12] even from the film's detractors.[13][14] In November 2018, it was announced Martin-Green would star in The Outside Story, opposite Brian Tyree Henry, directed by Casimir Nozkowski.[15]


Sonequa Martin-Green at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International for The Walking Dead.

Martin-Green has had various guest and recurring roles in TV shows. She made her television debut in 2008, appearing on NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent as Kiana Richmond. She then gained her first recurring role on Army Wives as Kanessa Jones the following year. In 2009, she received the role of Courtney Wells on The Good Wife, her first recurring role playing an adult character as opposed to playing a teenager with her previous roles in both film and television. She appeared on the show for two years before making two more appearances in Gossip Girl and NYC 22 in 2011.

In 2012, she was cast in a recurring role on The Walking Dead as Sasha, the sister of Tyreese (Chad Coleman), an original character, exclusive to the television series.[16] Martin-Green auditioned for the role of Michonne albeit with a pseudonym due to the secrecy of the auditioning process. When Danai Gurira, whom Martin-Green said was "the perfect choice", was cast, former showrunner Glen Mazzara still wanted Martin-Green to be a part of the show and decided to create a role specifically for her instead. Martin-Green explained: "[Sasha] was supposed to be a recurring character and as we kept going forward, they picked up my option to be a regular. It's very rare and I'm still quite dumbfounded about it but Glen and I hit it off and I still appreciate him. He wanted to work with me and wrote Sasha for me."[17] She was promoted to a series regular for season 4 with Emily Kinney and Coleman.[18][19][20][21]

After auditioning for the role of Michonne, she read the first three volumes of the graphic novels in preparation for the television series. Knowing they were different, she chose not to continue reading the comic book series to avoid being aware of future storylines that may occur on the television series.[22] Martin-Green's performance as Sasha, particularly in the fifth season[23][24][25] and seventh season, has received favorable reviews.[26][27][28]

After filming for the third season of The Walking Dead ended, Martin-Green was cast in the second season of Once Upon a Time playing the recurring role of Tamara, a woman determined to rid the world of magic.[6] She returned briefly in the third season before returning to her regular role as Sasha on The Walking Dead. As of the first episode of sixth season, Martin-Green's name appears in the opening credits.

In December 2016, her role as the lead actor of Star Trek: Discovery as a lieutenant commander of the USS Discovery was made public.[29] She debuted as First Officer Michael Burnham in "The Vulcan Hello" on September 24, 2017.

Personal life

Martin-Green has been married to fellow actor Kenric Green since December 4, 2010. They met while acting together in the play, Fetch Clay, Make Man, at the McCarter Theater in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2015, in Los Angeles, Martin-Green gave birth to a boy named Kenric Justin Green, Junior. Martin-Green was pregnant during filming of the fifth season of The Walking Dead, which she covered up by wearing thick layers of clothing and using larger guns.[30] She and her husband are vegans.[31]

Since April 2016, she has been an ambassador for Stand Up to Cancer, encouraging clinical trials. Her mother is a three-time cancer survivor and her sister has breast cancer.[32]

Martin-Green has been outspoken against situations of injustice and discrimination based on race, gender, and sexual orientation. After the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, she said, "I push back the hopelessness trying to creep in, believing that God has a plan for all" before declaring "Black. Lives. MATTER."[33] After the Orlando shooting, Martin-Green shared the text message between Mina Justice and her son, Eddie, saying, "To hear those words from your son... I can't imagine the pain. So many are in so much pain right now. This is tragedy. This is devastation. This is hate. Only love can conquer. Not love that you just speak about, love you put into ACTION. I pray we take action. And I pray that all those touched by this horror will find peace."[34] She later joined a charity event supporting the Pulse nightclub victims.[35]

Speaking to Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain about the launch of Star Trek: Discovery, Martin-Green discussed her character's unique name, calling it a "profoundly [...] political statement of the gender fluidity of the future, where a daughter can be named after her father." Morgan stirred up conflict and responded, "I'm very confused and unsettled by gender fluidity, people who wake up one day and think they're Sonequa and the next day Michael". Martin-Green initially clarified her original comment saying, "When I speak of gender fluidity, I'm speaking about gender roles and this industry being more equal[...]. I want us to not pay so much attention to those barriers." Morgan persisted further on gender fluidity, asking if she would like her son to be gender fluid. She responded, "I don't think anyone can speak on those terms because it is such a highly sensitive and personal thing – and everyone has a right to explore that. It's our rights as human beings. Or at least it should be", and, "I couldn’t say that I didn’t like it, because if that’s what [my son] truly believed, I have to support that because I love him unconditionally."[36]



Year Title Role Notes
2005 Not Quite Right Coco Delight
2007 I-Can-D VJ
2008 Blind Thoughts Jenna Lopez
2009 Toe to Toe Tosha Spinner
Rivers Wash Over Me Shawna King
2011 Da Brick Rachel
Yelling to the Sky Jojo Parker
2012 Shockwave Darkside Private Lang
2021 Space Jam 2
Template:TBA The Outside Story Isha


Year Title Role Notes
2008 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Kiana Richmond Episode: "Legacy"
2009 Army Wives Kanessa Jones 3 episodes
2009–2011 The Good Wife Courtney Wells 8 episodes
2011 Gossip Girl Joanna Episode: "The Jewel of Denial"
2012 NYC 22 Michelle Terry 5 episodes
2012–2017; 2018 The Walking Dead Sasha Williams 45 episodes;
Recurring (season 3)
Also Starring (seasons 4–5)
Main Role (seasons 6–7)
Guest (season 9)
2013 Once Upon a Time Tamara 7 episodes
2016 Lip Sync Battle Herself Episode: "Sonequa Martin-Green vs. Lauren Cohan"
2016–2017 New Girl Rhonda 2 episodes
2017 Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero Pirate Maria (voice) 2 episodes
2017–present Star Trek: Discovery Michael Burnham 26 episodes
Series lead[29]
Saturn Award for Best Actress on a Television Series (2018)[37]
Pending - Saturn Award for Best Actress in a Streaming Presentation (2019)[38]


  1. "Sonequa Martin-Green | Behind the Scenes GH". Good Housekeeping. October 14, 2015. Retrieved March 28, 2019. 
  2. @WalkingDead_AMC (2017-03-21). "We're all in for @SonequaMG's birthday. #TWD". Retrieved 2017-04-04. 
  3. Garrett, Tommy Lightfoot (2012-12-31). "Actress Sonequa Martin-Green Does Double Duty On ABC's 'Once Upon A Time' And AMC's 'The Walking Dead', Highlight Hollywood News". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  4. Mitovich, Matt Webb (2012-12-31). "'Once Upon a Time' Season 2 Spoilers — Sonequa Martin-Green as Tamara". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  5. "'Walking Dead' Actress Sonequa Martin-Green Is Headed To 'Once Upon A Time'". HuffPost. 2012-12-31. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fletcher, Alex (2013-01-02). "'Walking Dead' actress Sonequa Martin-Green joins 'Once Upon a Time'". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  7. Flanagan, Ben (2013-01-03). "UA theatre alum Sonequa Martin-Green lands role on ABC hit 'Once Upon a Time'". Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  8. Lloyd, Sarah (2013-10-23). "Sonequa Martin-Green: 5 Things You Didn't Know About The Walking Dead Star" (in en-US). Wetpaint. 
  9. Berk, Philip (2017-09-28). "Sonequa Martin-Green Shines Bright On Star Trek: Discovery" (in en-US). star2. 
  10. Flanagan, Ben (April 4, 2013). "UA alum Sonequa Martin-Green upgraded to 'The Walking Dead' series regular". Retrieved April 5, 2013. 
  11. Fine, Marchall (2010-02-25). "'Toe to Toe': Face to face with race" (in en-US). 
  12. Hornaday, Ann (2010-04-02). "Movie review: 'Toe to Toe,' a teen lacrosse drama Washingtonians will recognize". The Washington Post. 
  13. Musetto, V.A. (2010-02-26). "Schoolgirls stuck in stereotype". New York Post. 
  14. "Toe to Toe". 
  15. N'Duka, Amanda (November 28, 2018). "Sonequa Martin-Green Joins Brian Tyree Henry In ‘The Outside Story’ Movie". Retrieved November 28, 2018. 
  16. "'Walking Dead' Dissection: Robert Kirkman on the Major Fatalities and Comic Book Detour". 2013-01-04. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  17. "'The Walking Dead' Audition Tales: 26 Stars Tell All". 2015-08-20. Retrieved 2015-08-22. 
  18. Slezak, Michael. "The Walking Dead's Season 4 Cast — Tyreese, Sasha, Beth Upgraded To Series Regulars". TVLine. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  19. Abrams, Natalie. "The Walking Dead Promotes Chad Coleman, Sonequa Martin-Green and More to Series Regular". Retrieved 2013-04-04. [dead link]
  20. "'Walking Dead' Promotes Three to Series Regular for Season 4". 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  21. "'The Walking Dead' Promotes Three To Series Regulars". 2009-11-15. Retrieved 2013-04-04. 
  22. AfterBuzz TV (17 February 2014). "Sonequa Martin-Green (AMC's Walking Dead) Interview - AfterBuzz TV's Spotlight On". 
  23. Straker, Alex (2015-03-23). "The Walking Dead, Try – review: Rick Grimes' vendetta against Paul intensifies as finale looms". The Independent (London). 
  24. Hogan, Ron (2015-02-16). "The Walking Dead season 5 episode 10 review: Them" (in en). Den of Geek. 
  25. Hogan, Ron (2015-03-10). "The Walking Dead season 5 episode 13 review: Forget". 
  26. Jackson, Josh (March 26, 2017). "The Walking Dead Review: "Something They Need"". Paste. Wolfgang's Vault. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  27. Marnell, Blair (March 26, 2017). "THE WALKING DEAD 7.15 'Something They Need' Review". CraveOnline. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  28. Murray, Noel (March 26, 2017). "'The Walking Dead' Recap: Knives Out". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 2, 2017. 
  29. 29.0 29.1 "'Star Trek: Discovery' Casts 'Walking Dead' Actress as Star". Entertainment Weekly. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  30. Ross, Dalton (2015-02-06). "'Walking Dead' star Sonequa Martin-Green explains how they hid her pregnancy on the show" (in en-US). Entertainment Weekly. 
  31. Reilly, Phoebe. "Sonequa Martin-Green is Set to Stun". American Way. 
  32. Robertson, Regina A. (2018-02-15). "Sonequa Martin-Green Is Honoring Her Mother, A Three-Time Cancer Survivor, With This Campaign". Entertainment Weekly. 
  33. "Instagram post by Sonequa Martin-Green • Jul 7, 2016 at 8:15pm UTC". Retrieved 16 March 2019. 
  34. Gemmill, Allie (2016-12-15). "What you should know about Sonequa Martin-Green, the newest Star Trek lead". SheKnows. 
  35. "Sonequa Martin-Green on Instagram: “I believe this event is #loveinaction. And #loveconquersall. #orlandostrong #togetherwecan #togetherwestand”". Retrieved 16 March 2019. 
  36. Thomas, Kate (2017-11-07). "'It's such a highly sensitive and personal thing': Star Trek actress Sonequa Martin-Green clashes with Piers Morgan over gender fluidity during GMB appearance". Daily Mail. 
  37. Hammond, Pete (27 June 2018). "‘Black Panther’ Tops 44th Saturn Awards With Five; ‘Blade Runner 2049’ , ‘Shape Of Water’, ‘Get Out’ Also Score". Retrieved 28 June 2018. 
  38. Mancuso, Vinnie (16 July 2019). "'Avengers: Endgame', 'Game of Thrones' Lead the 2019 Saturn Awards Nominations". Retrieved 16 July 2019. 

External links

Template:Saturn Award for Best Actress on Television

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