Yvonne Orji, the 31-year-old star of the HBO series "Insecure", has opened up about her Christian faith and how she wants to honor God by remaining sexually pure until marriage.
"Before any of [the fame] happened, I sat down with myself and with God and thought, when I make it, how do you want me to represent you while I'm here?" The actress told People Magazine: "It was like, OK, I know why I'm here. It's to make you proud."
Orji said she's not afraid to talk about her faith - or her decision to remain pure - to anyone who asks.
"I'm open, because why not?" she said. "'m grounded in who I am. People ask about it because they're curious, or they may not understand. How will they ever get understand if I don't talk about it? I can inform your curiosity, as opposed to everyone being in the dark and just sort of creating their own narrative about it."
The actress is used to going against the grain; raised in Maryland after emigrating to the U.S. from Nigeria at age 6, she was picked on because of her thick accent.
"My mom would say, 'We didn't come to America for you to be popular.' Which is fair, but as a kid, you're just like, it would be really nice to have this thing that everyone else has," she said.
After graduating with a master's degree in public health from George Washington University, Orji shocked her family by announcing she wanted to move to New York to pursue stand-up comedy. She later landed the role of "Molly" in the hit HBO show, and the rest is history.
"I get people coming up to me and saying like, 'I'm Molly!' or 'We just love that we're seeing a black woman on TV who's a lawyer because I'm a lawyer, too!' " Orji said. "It's giving people an alternative. So much is happening in our community, in our nation, and now we get a chance to look on television and see a version of ourselves that we can actually relate to. I think that's what speaks to the heart of a lot of people. It's super cool to be in the middle of that."
Orji is not the only Hollywood star to admit to being celibate for spiritual reasons.
Actress Meagan Good took a vow of celibacy before she married her husband, Hollywood producer DeVon Franklin. The two dated for 11 months before marrying in 2012 and penned a book about the experience, titled "The Wait".
"I chose this path quite frankly because I wanted to fulfill God's will; I wanted to be obedient," Franklin told The Gospel Herald. "I believe that God wants us to wait until marriage. There are a number of Scriptures that reference that. I grew up in the church and was taught, 'Hey, you need to wait until marriage.' But, oftentimes, you get in relationships and you don't."
While it wasn't easy, Franklin said practicing sexual abstinence ended up being a "real, true blessing" for their relationship.
"As we began to date, we began to see each other for who we really were and didn't have the cloudiness and blurriness of sex," he shared. "We felt like God was bringing us together, we felt like it was a relationship that was leading to marriage, and we wanted our foundation to be strong and clear and powerful.
He added, "Through waiting, it enriched our relationship and gave us a better understanding of who we were and of God."
Similarly, Christian athlete Russell Wilson made headlines when he announced that he and his now-wife, R&B singer Ciara, were practicing celibacy. The two married last year.