She was seen in the television series like Bad Girls, Doctor Who and Marple in 20 respectively.
One of her earliest breakthroughs in the drama was in Romeo and Juliet in Manchester in 2005 at the Royal Exchange Theatre.
The British star takes on the lead role in period drama Belle, and she certainly looked the belle of the ball in her green satin Grecian-style gown, by Lanvin, at the New York premiere of the new film.
Gugu was joined by her co-star and onscreen love interest Sam Reid, at the screening of the movie that tells the tale of a mixed race woman who could well have been one of the catalysts in stopping the slave trade in Britain.
She also won a scholarship in prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.
She was brought up by her Caucasian mother after her father left her.
But after meeting a young abolitionist John Davinier, played by Sam Reid, they together work to persuade Lord Mansfield to make a ruling in a slavery case that would become a significant step in recognising the illegality of slavery, and towards the abolition of it in the British Empire in 1834.
Historic fiction: The film is based on the life of Dido Elizabeth Belle who was taken in by her aunt and uncle, Lord and Lady Mansfield, along with her cousin Lady Elizabeth Murral (played by Sarah Gadon) in 18th century Britain Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Amma Asante, the director of Belle, said: 'I think it would be disingenuous to believe her presence in the house didn't have some impact on him.
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held at Royal Albert Hall on Sunday (February 18) in London, England.