Taissa Farmiga

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Taissa Farmiga
Born (1994-08-17) August 17, 1994 (age 20)
Clifton, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 2011–present
Relatives Vera Farmiga (sister)
Renn Hawkey (brother-in-law)

Taissa Farmiga (/təˈsə/ /fɑrˈmɡə/; born August 17, 1994) is an American actress. She made her acting debut in the film Higher Ground (2011), directed by her sister. She came to prominence playing Violet Harmon in the FX television series American Horror Story debut season, Murder House (2011). She has subsequently appeared in films such as The Bling Ring, At Middleton and Jamesy Boy. In 2013, she returned to American Horror Story for its third season, portraying young witch Zoe Benson, and had her first starring role in Mindscape, alongside Mark Strong. In 2015, she will star in the horror comedy The Final Girls, and the Western drama In a Valley of Violence.

Early life[edit]

Farmiga, the youngest of seven children, was born in Clifton, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants Mykhailo "Michael" Farmiga, a computer systems analyst, and Lubomyra "Luba" (née Spas), a schoolteacher.[1][2] She was raised in the Whitehouse Station section of New Jersey's Readington Township. Farmiga attended public school until fourth grade, when her mother began homeschooling her along with two of her siblings.[3] She can play the guitar.[3] Her family follows the Pentecostal faith.[4] Farmiga's six older siblings are Victor (born 1972),[5] Vera (born 1973),[6] Stephan (born 1975),[7] Nadia (born 1977),[8] Alexander (born 1988),[9] and Laryssa (born 1991),[8] who has spina bifida.[10] She speaks English and Ukrainian fluently, and took American Sign Language classes for three years.[11]


2011–2013: Beginnings and breakthrough[edit]

Farmiga initially had no ambitions to become an actress, stating: "I never wanted to be an actor. Acting had always been Vera's thing, not mine, but when we were at Sundance, I decided I officially loved acting."[12] She was persuaded to appear in sister Vera Farmiga's directorial debut Higher Ground, playing Young Corinne Walker, the 16-year-old version of her sister's character.[13][14] After her performance in the film was acclaimed by critics at the Sundance Film Festival, she decided to pursue an acting career.[15][16] In May 2011, she was cast in the first season of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, which launched Farmiga to worldwide prominence.[17][18][19] She played the role of Violet Harmon, the teenager daughter of Vivien (Connie Britton) and Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott). Farmiga said that she loved Violet "immediately" and that "she had spunk to her, she had attitude."[20] American Horror Story: Murder House premiered on October 5, 2011, and was met with critical acclaim by television critics. The cast was generally praised, and the series drew consistently high ratings for the FX network, ending its first season as the biggest new cable series of the year.[21] Murder House was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and seventeen Primetime Emmy Awards. In March 2012, she joined the cast of Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring, portraying Sam Moore (based on Tess Taylor), the wild child and the adoptive sister of Nicki (Emma Watson).[22] The film is based on actual events centered around a group of teenagers who robbed the Hollywood homes of the rich and famous between 2008 and 2009, stealing over $3 million from the likes of Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.[23] The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival on June 15, 2013.[24]

In June 2012, it was announced that Farmiga had signed on to star in the independent romantic comedy film At Middleton.[25] In an interview, Vera Farmiga said that the film was an opportunity to share the screen with her real-life sister, whom she had cast in her screen debut in 2011's Higher Ground. She stated: "This film is the first time we were on camera together and had the give-and-take of a scene. We felt comfortable. We've had a lot of practice. The first time we read a scene together is when I put her on tape for the first season of American Horror Story. By that time, she was used to taking direction. She's just used to taking direction from me."[26] The film premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 17, 2013, and was released in theaters on January 31, 2014.[27] In February 2013, it was reported that Farmiga would be returning to American Horror Story for the third season of the series.[28][29] In January 2013, series creator Ryan Murphy hinted that a clue about the third season would be hidden in the tenth episode of the second season.[30] In a later interview discussing that episode, he stated: "One of the things that I missed this season was I really loved having that Romeo and Juliet youth story with Violet and Tate in the first season. I want something like that again and we're doing something like that in the third season."[31] Farmiga portrayed Zoe Benson, a young witch who is forced to go to a special school called Miss Robichaux's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies in New Orleans, after she discovers her magical powers in a horrific way. American Horror Story: Coven premiered on October 9, 2013, and The Huffington Post said of Farmiga's character: "Farmiga effortlessly plays the mix of innocence, sardonic wit and tragedy required to make her character work."[32] Like the two previous seasons, Coven was acclaimed by television critics and was nominated for seventeen Primetime Emmy Awards, among other accolades.[33]

2014–present: Focus on film roles[edit]

Farmiga had a supporting role in the crime drama Jamesy Boy, which is based on the true story of a young suburban street gang member who gets sent to a maximum security prison and strikes up an unlikely friendship with a convicted murderer.[23] Farmiga portrays Sarah, the main character's love interest.[34] The film was released through Video on Demand on January 3, 2014, and then in select movie theaters on January 17, 2014.[35] Farmiga had her first starring role as Anna Greene in the psychological thriller film Mindscape, produced by Jaume Collet-Serra. The film follows John Washington (Mark Strong), a man with the ability to enter people's memories who begins working on the case of a brilliant but problematic teenager (Farmiga) to determine whether she is a sociopath or the victim of trauma.[36] Farmiga explained her attraction to this project: "When I first read the script I immediately fell in love with Anna, the character. There's always something going on underneath. You never know if what she's saying is what she's really saying. And I loved that and was attracted to the challenge that would be."[37] The world premiere was held at the 46th Sitges Film Festival in October 2013, receiving critical acclaim from audiences in its native Spain. Warner Bros released the film in Spain on January 24, 2014.[38][39] It then had its North American premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival in April 2014, where it was retitled Anna for the American market.[40] The film was released to select theaters and Video on Demand providers in North America on June 6, 2014. In February 2014, Dread Central reported that Farmiga had signed on for a leading role in the horror comedy The Final Girls, opposite Malin Åkerman, Alexander Ludwig and Nina Dobrev. She will portray Max, the daughter of a 1980s scream queen who reunites with her deceased mother when she gets thrust into one of her most famous horror movies.[41] The film is set for release in 2015.[42][43]

In March 2014, it was announced that Farmiga had been cast in director Ti West's 1890s Western drama film In a Valley of Violence, also starring Ethan Hawke and John Travolta.[44] The story follows Paul (Hawke), a drifter with nothing to lose who seeks revenge on the thugs who killed his best friend. Farmiga will play Mary Anne, a young woman who runs the town's hotel with her older sister (Karen Gillan), and helps Paul in his quest for vengeance.[45] The film will be released in the US and UK on December 4, 2015.[46] On May 27, 2014, it was reported that Farmiga joined the cast of Warren Beatty's untitled project, portraying a character called Sarah, opposite Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins and Alec Baldwin.[47] The biographical drama is set in the 1950s and follows reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes (Beatty) as he begins an affair with a much younger woman. It is set for release on May 21, 2015.[48] In June 2014, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Farmiga had filmed a lead role in Hannah Fidell's upcoming drama film 6 Years, starring opposite Ben Rosenfield. The feature tells the story of Mel and Dan, a young couple about to graduate college when events threaten to tear them apart.[49] In late July 2014, Farmiga filmed a main role in the short film Share, which also stars Keir Gilchrist.[50] The film is part of a submission by director Pippa Bianco for the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women program. Farmiga will portray Krystal, a girl who has to make difficult decisions after someone shares an explicit video of her online, from a night she doesn't remember.[51][52] On August 12, 2014, Deadline reported that Farmiga had been cast in the upcoming Mary Shelley biopic Mary Shelley's Monster, directed by Coky Giedroyc. The film has been described as "a story of youth that transcends time, a gothic romance, a love triangle that involves a dark passenger."[53] It follows Shelley as she writes her famous novel Frankenstein. Farmiga will play the author's stepsister Claire Clairmont, alongside Sophie Turner in the title role and Jeremy Irvine as Percy Bysshe Shelley.[54]

In the media[edit]

Farmiga has appeared in many popular magazines, such as Elle,[55] Lucky,[56] Teen Vogue,[57] Nylon, Interview,[58] Muse,[59] Marie Claire,[60] V,[61] Complex,[34] and Rolling Stone.[62] In 2012, she was photographed by Drew Barrymore for Drew's Angels, a feature in the American magazine publication V. Barrymore shot Hollywood's up-and-coming actresses, which, along with Farmiga, included Victoria Justice, Isabelle Fuhrman, Amandla Stenberg, Haley Bennett, and Maika Monroe.[61]

Personal life[edit]

Farmiga is the younger sister of Academy Award-nominated actress Vera Farmiga. The sisters consider each other their best friends. In an interview with Teen Vogue in 2013, Taissa said that her sister is "my stylist, my everything."[57] Vera feels similarly, stating: "Taissa is the person you take with you to choose your Oscar gown and then take to In-N-Out Burger. As much of an age difference as there is (21 years), she is one of my best friends in the world."[63] Taissa also stated: "When I was growing up, people would always confuse me for Vera's daughter."[57] Vera, in a 2014 interview with Parade magazine, reiterated: "We're best friends, but I like to think I've parented her in a way, too."[6] For starring in Vera's directorial debut, Farmiga was given a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck as payment.[57] Her brother-in-law is musician Renn Hawkey. From 1997 to 2005, her brother-in-law was French actor Sebastian Roché.



Year Title Role Notes
2011 Higher Ground Corinne Walker
2013 The Bling Ring Sam Moore
2013 At Middleton Audrey Martin
2014 Mindscape Anna Greene
2014 Jamesy Boy Sarah
2015 6 Years Mel Post-production
2015 The Final Girls Max Post-production
2015 Untitled Warren Beatty project Sarah Post-production
2015 In a Valley of Violence Mary Anne Post-production
2015 Share Krystal Post-production
2015 Mary Shelley's Monster Claire Clairmont Pre-production


Year Title Role Notes
2011 American Horror Story: Murder House Violet Harmon Main role; 11 episodes
2013–14 American Horror Story: Coven Zoe Benson Main role; 13 episodes


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