Money

Why this 'Ocean's 8' star is too scared to move out of her cheap apartment

Michael Tran | Getty Images

The "Ocean's" heist film franchise has made more than $1 billion at the box office, and the latest installment, "Ocean's 8," raked in another $41.5 million this past weekend. The new all-women film had a better opening weekend than the previous three "Ocean's" movies.

"Ocean's 8" not only featured seasoned actresses such as Sandra Bullock, Mindy Kaling, Anne Hathaway and Cate Blanchett, but it also propelled 29-year-old actress and rapper Nora Lum, best known by her stage name Awkwafina, into her biggest Hollywood role yet.

"As an actress, and one with kind of a limited resume at this point, I never expected that I would shoot a movie in New York, let alone that I would be playing a native New Yorker," Lum, a Queens native herself, told MTV News in a recent interview.

Growing up, she watched her family members take on several jobs after their businesses went bankrupt. Not getting pocket money or an allowance growing up, she says, taught her to appreciate basic necessities.

After graduating from the State University of New York at Albany with a bachelor's degree in journalism and women's studies in 2011, Lum didn't anticipate going into show business. "I never knew I would go into acting, let alone that my music would ever be a career," Lum says.

Today, Lum has an estimated net worth in the millions. In addition to the "big check" she got for "Ocean's 8" and the pay she has received for other roles, she makes $400 to $800 a month from people who download her music, she says. And even though she has another gig lined up this summer in the film adaptation of the bestselling book "Crazy Rich Asians," Lum puts most of her money in her savings account.

She has also resisted moving to Los Angeles in order to hold onto her cheap railroad apartment in Brooklyn, New York.

"I live in the same apartment I've lived in for years. I had a roommate for a long time. Even now, with the way my career is going, I'm scared to leave and move into a bigger, more expensive place," Lum tells WealthSimple.

Given that living in a high-end apartment in New York City and Los Angeles can cost upwards of $4,400 a month, Lum is likely saving a fair amount of money.

Seven years out of college, Lum still has student loans to pay off and is still careful about splurging. "The nicest thing I bought was a Gucci fanny pack. I'm scared to spend lumps of money because in the back of my head I still don't know what's going to happen in my future," she told Newsweek.

But with a newly released album and another upcoming film, Lum says, "as of yet, this is probably the best year of my life."

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