2024 NAACP Image Awards: Gail Bean’s Rising Star: 5 Roles That Illuminate Her Promising Career

The “Snowfall” breakout star won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series at the 2024 NAACP Image Awards.

Gail Bean is truly a star in the making. The St. Louis-born actress emerged as a breakout star in recent years thanks to her role as Wanda Bell in FX’s hit crime drama “Snowfall,” which helped build her reputation for humanizing Black women in troublesome positions on television. Her scene-stealing performances and knack for bringing authenticity and compassion to our screens are felt in every role she takes on, which is why she continues to be one to watch.

Bean’s ascent in Hollywood is still in progress, as we’ve only begun to see what she’s capable of, but she’s still achieved some significant milestones so far. She recently took home an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for her “Snowfall” role, and she’s rumored to be leading her own spinoff.

Until that arrives, check out five notable roles that helped Bean build a promising acting career.

  • Wanda Bell / Snowfall

    Bean became a fan-favorite among “Snowfall” fans for her moving portrayal of Wanda. Though her arc in the series, led by Damson Idris, went from being a fun-loving drug dealer’s girlfriend to struggling with a brutal crack addiction, many applauded the actress for bringing nuance and grace to an issue that’s plagued so many communities. Seeing her climb to redemption by the show's end was an even better treat for viewers.

  • Jasmine / Unexpected

    “Snowfall” may have put Bean on the map, but an indie drama titled “Unexpected” is what gave the actress her big career start. The heartwarming movie, which debuted at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, starred her in a tale of two pregnancies, as she and her inner-city high school teacher (Cobie Smulders) form a bond over being pregnant at the same time. Thanks to Bean’s breakout performance, The Hollywood Reporter named her one of the “Top 10 Next Generation Breakout Stars of Sundance.”

  • Roulette / P-Valley

    Bean picked up her streak of taking on standout roles in Starz’s Southern strip club drama “P-Valley.” For the second season, the actress ventured down to the valley to star as Roulette, a new fearless dancer at the Pynk with a mean rebellious streak and vicious pole skills. She’s returning for the show’s highly anticipated third season.

  • Leota Hynek / The Belko Experiment

    One of Bean’s first big movie credits was 2016’s “The Belko Experiment,” a horror-thriller starring Scandal’s Tony Goldwyn. In the sinister film, Bean plays one of 80 employees who get locked in their corporate office and are forced to play a deadly game of kill or be killed for a twisted social experiment.

  • Nadine / Atlanta

    During its four-season run, FX’s “Atlanta” was known to cast remarkable guest stars for its oddball episodes, and Bean was no exception. She played a small part as Nadine, one of Van’s (Zazie Beetz) friends, in season two’s seventh episode but left quite an impression during a steal-stealing moment with LaKeith Stanfield’s Darius.

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