Sonequa Martin-Green, who plays Michael Burnham on Star Trek: Discovery, was born and raised in Russellville, Alabama. She studied theater at the University of Alabama, graduating in 2007. While there, she appeared in a number of campus productions and also performed with Alpha Psi Omega's Guerrilla Theatre.

Martin-Green comes to Discovery immediately following a long and bloody run as Sasha Williams on The Walking Dead. She started on the zombie series as a recurring character, and was promoted to a series regular during that show's fourth season. Her other television and film credits include Toe to Toe, New Girl, Once Upon a Time, The Good Wife, Army Wives and Law & Order: Criminal Intent.