Arielle Holmes

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Arielle Holmes
Born (1993-09-17) September 17, 1993 (age 25)
Bayonne, New Jersey, U.S.
  • Actress
  • writer
Years active2014–present

Arielle Holmes (born September 17, 1993) is an American actress and writer best known for starring as a lightly fictionalized version of herself in the film Heaven Knows What.[1]

Early life[edit]

Holmes is from Bayonne, New Jersey. Her father is an Irish national and was not part of her upbringing. She was raised mostly by relatives in New Jersey.[2]

Drug use and homelessness[edit]

Holmes' first experience with crack cocaine was when she smoked with her mother at the age of 12. She dropped out of school in the 10th grade. After leaving school, she moved to New York City to live with her boyfriend Ilya Leontyev. The two fell into heavy drug and alcohol abuse, with Holmes first trying heroin at the age of 17.[3] She was largely homeless for the next three years.[2][4]


Holmes was scouted by Josh and Benny Safdie, the directors of Heaven Knows What, in Manhattan's Diamond District while they were working on another film. She had been hired as an unpaid intern by a jeweler after he saw her sketching on a subway train.[3][5]

Intrigued by Holmes' life story, Josh encouraged Arielle to write a memoir, paying her by the page. The resulting unpublished memoir, Mad Love in New York City,[6] served as the basis for Heaven Knows What.[2]

In June 2015, it was announced that Holmes had been cast in Andrea Arnold's American Honey.[7] She also appeared in 2307: Winters Dream, directed by Joey Curtis.[8]

Personal life[edit]

Upon the completion of Heaven Knows What, Holmes asked the Safdie brothers to assist her rehabilitation. She received treatment at Lucida on the Intracoastal Waterway in Florida.[2]



Year Title Role Notes
2014 Heaven Knows What Harley Based on her unpublished memoir, Mad Love in New York City
2016 American Honey Pagan
2016 2307 : Winter's Dream Kix


  1. ^ "'Heaven Knows What' Captures the Hooked and Homeless". The New York Times. May 14, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Star on the Sidewalk: How Arielle Holmes Went From Homeless Addict to Hollywood Actress". Vulture. May 21, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "'Heavens Knows What' star knows all about the street life film depicts". Los Angeles Times. June 1, 2015.
  4. ^ "NYFF Report: 'Heaven Knows What' Star Arielle Holmes Talks About Her Journey From Homelessness and Drug Addiction". Yahoo. October 6, 2014.
  5. ^ "'Heaven Knows What' Adds New Wrinkles to the Street Junkie Narrative". NPR. May 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Drugs, destruction and movie glory: how Arielle Holmes rose from the streets". The Guardian. July 2, 2015.
  7. ^ "'Heaven Knows What' Star Arielle Holmes Joins Andrea Arnold's 'American Honey'". Deadline. June 1, 2015.
  8. ^ Anderton, Ethan (May 18, 2016). "'2307: Winter's Dream Trailer:It's Mad Max on Ice". Slash Film. Retrieved May 21, 2016.

External links[edit]