Henwick at Vienna Comic Con 2015
30 August 1992 |
Jessica Yu Li Henwick (born 30 August 1992) is an English actress. She is the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series, having starred in the children's show Spirit Warriors. She is also known for her roles as Nymeria Sand in HBO series Game of Thrones, X-wing pilot Jessika Pava in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Colleen Wing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making her debut in the Netflix television series Iron Fist.
Henwick was born and raised in Surrey, the daughter of a Singaporean Chinese mother and a Zambian-English father, Mark Henwick, author of the Bite Back series of novels. She trained at Redroofs Theatre School and the National Youth Theatre.
In June 2009, it was announced that Henwick had been cast in the lead role of Bo for the BBC show Spirit Warriors, making her the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series. For the role, Henwick trained in wushu with martial arts choreographer Jude Poyer. The show was nominated for several awards, including the Broadcast Awards 2011.
In early 2013, Henwick made her professional theatre debut in the international premiere of Running on the Cracks, based on the book by Julia Donaldson. Allan Radcliffe of The Times praised her "excellent" and "understated" performance, while the Guardian wrote, "with tremendous physical presence, Henwick captures the sense of adolescent righteousness, passion and confusion of a girl trying to create order in an unfair universe." Theatre critic Joyce McMillan wrote that Henwick was "outstanding as Leo".
Later that year she was cast as Jane Jeong Trenka in the drama Obsession: Dark Desires, which aired January 2014. The adaptation details Trenka's stalking in Minnesota, 1991, which she details in her book The Language of Blood. Henwick also joined the cast of Silk as new barrister pupil Amy. The series brought in an average of 5 million viewers per episode. She reprised her role for the spin-off radio series Silk: The Clerks' Room and later that year went on to play a young Oxford University student in Inspector Lewis.
In 2015 Henwick joined the cast of the HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 5 as Nymeria Sand, with Oscar-nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers playing her sisters. The process included six months of training to use a traditional bullwhip.
Henwick played the X-wing pilot Jess Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Her full name is established as Jessika "Testor" Pava in the spin-off novel The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure, which establishes her as an admirer of Luke Skywalker. Despite her limited screen time, the character of Pava has become a fan favorite. Since the release of the film, Pava has appeared as a supporting character in the comic book series Star Wars: Poe Dameron.
In 2017, Henwick appeared in the second season of drama series Fortitude, as well as Colleen Wing in the Netflix television series Iron Fist. Although critical reception of Iron Fist was generally negative, Henwick's performance in the series was well received. She will reprise the role for the upcoming series The Defenders.
Henwick's next role will be in Fox feature film Underwater.
|2009–2010||Spirit Warriors||Bo||TV series|
|2012||The Thick of It||Charlotte||TV series|
|2014||Balsa Wood||Scotty||Short film|
|2014||Obsession: Dark Desires||Jane Jeong Trenka||TV series|
|2014||Silk||Amy Lang||TV series|
|2015||The Heart of the Forest||Akira||Film|
|2015–2016||Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey||Enu / Hanna Roth||Video game|
|2015–present||Game of Thrones||Nymeria Sand||TV series|
|2015||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||Jessika Pava||Film|
|2016||The Headhunter||Aiko Koo||Film|
|2017||Iron Fist||Colleen Wing||TV series|
|2017||The Defenders||Colleen Wing||TV series|
|2013||Running on the Cracks||Leo||National tour|
|2011–2012||North by Northamptonshire||Helen||BBC Radio Four
Sony Radio Award Nomination
|2013||Monday to Friday||Julie||BBC Radio Scotland|
|2014–2015||Silk: The Clerks Room||Amy Lang||Seasons 1 & 2|
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- "It's the Resistance!". StarWars.com. 2016-05-02. Retrieved 2016-12-21.
- Official website at the Wayback Machine (archived 1 August 2015)
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- Jessica Henwick on Twitter
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- Knox, Simone Knox. "Reflections on Actors: Minority Identity Actors in the Creative Industries of Contemporary Britain". Flowjournal.org.