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Ayo Edebiri is not Irish despite what Twitter will have you believe

Despite what Twitter says, no Ayo Edebiri isn’t actually Irish

Ireland seems to accept her anyway


Ayo Edebiri is one of the hottest up-and-coming talents in the world right now, but one thing she is not, despite online rumours, is Irish.

The Emerald Isles has given us some of the hottest talent currently working in Hollywood, like Andrew Scott, Paul Mescal, Saoirse Ronan and many more. Ayo, who has gone from strength to strength in projects like The Bear, Bottoms and Theater Camp, is not one of them.

However, to call them rumours might be a bit light as Ayo has fanned these flames herself. On Sunday night at the Critics Choice Awards, Ayo thanked her “real family” in Ireland while accepting her Best Actress in a Comedy Series gong. To add to the confusion, she highlighted places where she DOES have relatives, like Nigeria and Barbados.

“I want to thank my real family, I don’t know if they CW abroad. To everyone in Boston, Barbados, Nigeria, Ireland in many ways,” she said with her award in her hand.

How did the rumour that Ayo Edebiri is Irish start?

@letterboxd

No thoughts… just Ayo Edebiri as Jenny the Donkey #fyp #foryou #letterboxd #sxsw #ayoedebiri #movie #film #filmtok #bansheesofinisherin #irish

♬ original sound – Letterboxd

While chatting with Letterboxd in March last year, Ayo, using her best Irish twang, explained how she loved living in Ireland while filming the Martin McDonagh movie The Banshees of Inisherin. This spiel was remarkable because she was not involved in the 2022 tragicomedy at all, not even a little bit.

Running with the gag, she quipped about how much she loved bringing to life Jenny the Donkey, a role she had absolutely nothing to do with. But hey, good inside jokes don’t make sense and often do not contain a grain of truth. Instead, the animal was played by an actual donkey and worked alongside the rest of the cast, which was made up of Irish legends like Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon. It was believed to be her last role before retirement, and she now lives somewhere in County Carlow, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

When did the ‘Ayo Edebiri is Irish’ gag get out of control?

It perhaps entered a new level of bizarre when the account Film in Dublin, an outlet dedicated to exploring movies in and around the city, celebrated her nomination for the BAFTA Rising Star Award alongside Jacob Elordi, Mia McKenna-Bruce and Phoebe Dynevor. This added fuel to the speculation that she was indeed from the island of Ireland.

It perhaps entered a new level of bizarre when the account Film in Dublin, an outlet dedicated to exploring movies in and around the city, celebrated her nomination for the BAFTA Rising Star Award alongside Jacob Elordi, Mia McKenna-Bruce and Phoebe Dynevor. This added fuel to the speculation that she was indeed from the island of Ireland.

— Film In Dublin (@filmindublin) January 10, 2024

They followed up by doubling down, adding: “for the record yes we do know where Edebiri is actually from (Ireland)”

They have not stopped there since her nomination, posting other things about Ayo’s Irish roots.

“From Jenny the Donkey to the van in The Van, Ayo Edebiri has a long, and legitimate, string of credits in Irish cinema. Here are the best Irish films starring Ireland’s Ayo Edebiri, who is Irish:,” they wrote on X, attaching a still from the movie Michael Collins. The 1996 flick starred Liam Neeson, Julia Roberts and Adrian Quinn.

They recently added to the joke, writing, “They went to the Debs together” after she was photographed with another much-memed and beloved Irish star, Cillian, at the Critics Choice Awards on Sunday night. The Debs is the nickname for their version of a school leavers ball, in case you didn’t know. It’s apparently a whole thing, a rite of passage known for its fake tan and good vibes.

So, if Ayo Edebiri isn’t Irish, where is she actually from?

Ayo originally hails from Boston in the state of Massachusetts, which is in the United States. This is roughly 3,000 miles away from Ireland. However, it would make sense for someone from that city to capture something of Eire’s charm as it has a massive diaspora from there!

To be fair, Boston is known for its Irish diaspora, who came mainly in the mid-19th century to find a better life. Hardship was aplenty in Ireland due to things like famine and a lack of economic opportunity. These facts were largely because of British colonial rule. Famous Irish-Americans from Boston have included the Kennedy dynasty, Ben Affleck and Glee star Kevin McHale.

Outside of showbiz and politics, the city has probably also done more to hype up St Patrick’s Day than any other geographical location in the world.

What has the wider reaction been?

A resounding thumbs up! This is quite funny as  Americans and their love of their European heritage are among social media’s greatest discourse generators, but Ayo has been accepted wholeheartedly. Her respect for the culture, such as the Irish language, has gone a long way with the online Irish.

The Irish public broadcaster RTE included her in their round-up of homegrown talent recognised at the ceremony over the weekend, which sent posters in hysterics.

“SCREAMING at the article from @rte including Ayo Edebiri in their round-up of Irish actors from the Critics’ Choice Awards,” one person wrote.

It also is a welcome break from British publications like the Telegraph and GQ trying to claim Ireland’s leading lights like Barry Keoghan as one of their own.

 

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