Caitríona Balfe

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Caitríona Balfe
Outlander premiere episode screening at 92nd Street Y in New York OLNY 091 (14851934923) crop.jpg
Balfe at an event for Outlander in 2014
Caitríona Mary Balfe

(1979-10-04) 4 October 1979 (age 42)
Dublin, Ireland
Alma materDublin Institute of Technology
  • Actress
  • producer
  • model
Years active1998–present
Spouse(s)Anthony McGill (m. 2019)

Caitríona Mary Balfe (/kəˈtrnə ˈbælf/; born 4 October 1979)[1] is an Irish actress, producer and former fashion model. She is best known for her starring role as Claire Fraser in the Starz drama series Outlander (2014–present), for which she has won the Scottish BAFTA, the Irish Film and Television Award, two People's Choice Awards, three Saturn Awards and received four Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress in a Television Series – Drama along with two Critics' Choice Television Awards nominations.

At the age of eighteen, while studying Drama at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Balfe was offered work as a fashion model in Paris. She was featured both in advertising campaigns and on runways for brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Bottega Veneta, Oscar de la Renta and many others over ten years before refocusing on acting. She had leading roles in the web series The Beauty Inside (2012) and H+: The Digital Series (2012–2013), and appeared in the films Super 8 (2011), Now You See Me (2013), Escape Plan (2013), Money Monster (2016), Ford v. Ferrari (2019), and Belfast (2021).

Early life[edit]

Balfe was born in Dublin, Ireland,[2] and grew up in the village of Tydavnet, near Monaghan, in a family of seven. Her father is a retired Garda Sergeant.[3]



Balfe on the runway for Michael Kors in 2003

Balfe started modelling after she was scouted by an agent while she was collecting money for charity at a local shopping centre.[3][4] At 18, after working as a model in Dublin for a few months, she caught the attention of a visiting Ford Models scout, who offered her the chance to work for them in Paris.[3] Her career highlights include opening and closing fashion shows for Chanel, Givenchy, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Alberta Ferretti and Louis Vuitton. In a three-year period, she walked in more than 250 runway shows.[5] At the height of her career, Balfe was considered to be among the twenty most in-demand models in the world.[6][7]


While living in New York, Balfe played the minor role of an employee of the magazine Runway in the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada.[6] In 2009, after a decade-long modelling career, Balfe returned to her initial career choice and moved from New York to Los Angeles,[3] spending her first year and a half in the city exclusively taking acting classes, first at the Warner Loughlin Studios and then at the Sanford Meisner Center and the Judith Weston Studios.[8][9] Balfe has appeared in the films Super 8, as the protagonist's mother, Now You See Me, as Michael Caine's character's wife, and Escape Plan, as the CIA lawyer that hires Sylvester Stallone's character.[3][10]

In 2012 she portrayed Alex #34 in The Beauty Inside, a social film divided into six episodes telling the story of a man named Alex (Topher Grace) who wakes up in a different body every day.[11] In 2013 she starred in the music videos for "First Fires" by British musician Bonobo[12] and for "Chloroform" by French band Phoenix, the latter directed by Sofia Coppola.[13]

Balfe was part of the main cast of the Warner Bros. web series H+: The Digital Series during 2012 and 2013, in which she played Breanna Sheehan, one of the executives of a biotechnology company that develops an implanted computer which allows people to be connected to the Internet 24 hours a day.[14]

In September 2013 Balfe was cast as the lead character, Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser, on the Starz television series Outlander, based on the novels written by Diana Gabaldon; the series premiered in August 2014. She plays a mid-20th-century nurse who is transported back in time to the war-torn mid-18th-century Scottish Highlands.[15] Both the series and her performance have received critical acclaim,[16] with Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair saying "it helps immensely that Balfe is such an appealing actress, [she] makes Claire a spirited, principled, genuinely heroic heroine".[17] Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter wrote that Balfe is "reason enough to watch; she's a confident actress who brings various shades to her character".[18] James Poniewozik of Time labelled Balfe's portrayal as "wry, [and] infectiously engaging".[19] Angelica Jade Bastién of The New York Times called Balfe "one of the most stunning actresses on television".[20]

In December 2014, Entertainment Weekly named Balfe one of its 12 Breakout Stars of 2014;[21] that month she was also voted "Woman Of The Year" at BBC America's Anglophenia Fan Favorites tournament.

In April 2015, Balfe received Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama and Rising Star Award nominations for the 12th Irish Film & Television Awards,[22][23] and was named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World". She won Saturn Awards for Best Actress on Television in 2015[24] and 2016.[25] In November 2016, Balfe won the Scottish BAFTA award for Best Actress on Television[26] and in February 2018 she won the Irish IFTA for Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama.[27] Balfe also received four nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama for her role in Outlander.[28]

Balfe with Outlander co-stars Tobias Menzies and Sam Heughan

Balfe co-starred in the film Money Monster (2016), directed by Jodie Foster and starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts. She played the head of PR of a company whose stock bottoms out, causing a man to lose all of his savings and subsequently take hostages on a live TV show.[29] Eric Hills of The Movie Waffler wrote "But it's relative newcomer Balfe who leaves the greatest impression; she's magnetic, stealing scenes even when her character is only glimpsed reacting to the situation on a background monitor. Expect to see a lot more of this Irish actress in the coming years."[30]

In 2019, Balfe had a recurring voice role as Tavra in the Netflix fantasy series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. The series, which was a prequel to the 1982 fantasy film The Dark Crystal and produced by the Jim Henson Company, was released to critical acclaim.[31] Also in 2019, she had a starring role opposite Matt Damon and Christian Bale in the sports drama film Ford v Ferrari. Balfe portrayed Mollie Miles, the wife of professional race car driver Ken Miles, a role which earned her an IFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.[32] The film received universal acclaim upon release and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.[33]

In 2021, Balfe had a co-starring role in Kenneth Branagh's semi-autobiographical film Belfast, for which she received critical acclaim and awards buzz.[34]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2014, Balfe was based in Glasgow,[35] having previously lived in Los Angeles where she started acting professionally, and in New York City, Paris, London, Milan, Hamburg, and Tokyo while she worked as a model.[8][36][37] In addition to English, she is a fluent speaker of the Irish language.[38]

On 10 August 2019, Balfe married her longtime boyfriend, Scottish band manager Anthony "Tony" McGill.[39] She announced on 18 August 2021 that she had given birth to their son.[40]

Philanthropic work and other ventures[edit]

She is a patron of the organisation World Child Cancer.[41] In April 2018, she ran the London Marathon raising over $41,000 in support of the organisation.[42]

She is also a supporter of charitable causes involving refugee relief and the environment. In October 2020, an annual birthday fundraising initiative was started by fans to raise money for the environmental charity One Tree Planted. To date over $100,000 has been raised in her honor, resulting in over 100,000 trees being planted around the world.[43]

In August 2020, Balfe launched Forget Me Not, a Scottish-based small batch gin with 25% of the proceeds funding arts programmes.[44]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Devil Wears Prada Clacker Uncredited[6]
2009 Picture Me Herself Documentary; also producer
A Herculean Effort Emily Short film
2011 Super 8 Elizabeth Lamb
Lust Life Aubrie Short film
2012 The Wolf Sally
Lost Angeles Veronique
2013 Crush Andie
Now You See Me Jasmine Tressler
Escape Plan Jessica Miller
2015 The Price of Desire Gabrielle Bloch
2016 Money Monster Diane Lester
2019 Ford v. Ferrari Mollie Miles
2020 Angela's Christmas Wish[45] Dorothy's Mom (voice)
2021 Belfast Ma


Year Title Role Notes
2010 The Model Scouts Herself / Runway Mentor Cycle 2, Episode 2[6]
2012 The Beauty Inside Alex #34 Main role; 5 episodes
2012–2013 H+: The Digital Series Breanna Sheehan Main role; 7 episodes
2014–present Outlander Claire Beauchamp Fraser Lead role; 67 episodes
Also producer; 12 episodes[46]
2019 The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance Tavra (voice) 9 episodes
2019 The Christmas Letter[47] Ellie (voice) Television film

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Work Award Category Result Ref.
2015 Outlander BBC America Anglophenia Fan Favorite Awards Woman Of The Year Won
The Anglophile Channel Awards Best Actress in a Television Series Won
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Won
Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama Nominated
Rising Star Award Nominated
EWwy Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Won
2016 People's Choice Awards Favorite Cable Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Television Ensemble Won
Women's Image Network Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Won
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Won
Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actress in a Lead Role Drama Nominated
The Anglophile Channel Awards Best Actress in a Television Series Won
EWwy Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Won
BAFTA Scotland Awards Best Actress on Television Won
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Oscar Wilde Awards N/A Won
Women's Image Network Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actress in a Lead Role TV Drama Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Nominated
2018 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated [48][49]
Women's Image Network Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actress in a TV Drama Series//Genre Series Nominated
Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actress in a Lead Role TV Drama Won
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Nominated
2019 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Television Series Drama Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress on a Television Series Nominated [50]
2020 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actress in a Lead Role TV Drama Nominated [32]
Ford v Ferrari Best Actress in a Supporting Role Film Nominated
Outlander Women's Image Network Awards Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series Nominated [51]
Film/Show Produced by a Woman Nominated
Gold Derby Awards Best Drama Actress Nominated
2021 Critics' Choice Super Awards Best Actress In A Science Fiction/Fantasy Series Nominated [52]
Satellite Awards Actress in a Series, Drama/Genre Nominated [53]
46th Annual Gracie Awards Actress in a Leading Role – Drama Won [54]
Saturn Awards Best Actress on Television Won [55][56]
Belfast Napa Valley Film Festival Awards Spotlight Award Won [57]
British Independent Film Awards Best Actress Nominated [58]
Sunset Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actress Won [59]
Hollywood Critics Association Pending [60]
Best Ensemble Cast Pending
Satellite Awards Best Supporting Actress Pending [61]
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards Nominated [62]
Best Ensemble Cast Nominated


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  57. ^ "2021 TRIBUTES". October 2021.
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  62. ^ {{cite news|url=https:

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