Danai Gurira wears a Junya Watanabe Comme des Garçons jacket and pants.

If you only know her as the terse zombie slayer Michonne on AMC’s The Walking Dead, you might be surprised that 35-year-old Danai Gurira is also an award-winning playwright. Born in Iowa and raised in Zimbabwe, Gurira won an Obie in 2006 for In the Continuum, which chronicles the lives of two women—one African, one African-American—living with HIV. She’s also written plays about the arrival of colonialism in Africa and women coping with war in Liberia. “Michonne reminds me of Liberian rebel fighters I met,” says Gurira, who stars in the film Mother of George, out this month. “Certain women turn into warriors when things are dire.”