Jessica Henwick

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Jessica Henwick
Jessica Henwick by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Henwick at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Jessica Yu Li Henwick

(1992-08-30) 30 August 1992 (age 27)
Surrey, England, UK
Years active2010–present

Jessica Yu Li Henwick (李玉) is an English actress. She was 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 (2009–2010).[1] She is also known for her roles as Nymeria Sand in HBO series Game of Thrones (2015–2017), X-wing pilot Jessika Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and the character Colleen Wing in Iron Fist (2017–2018), The Defenders (2017) and the second season of Luke Cage (2018).

Early life[edit]

Henwick was born and raised in Surrey, the daughter of a Singaporean Chinese mother and Zambian English father.[2][3][4] She trained at Redroofs Theatre School and the National Youth Theatre.[5]


In June 2009, it was announced that Henwick had been cast in the lead role of Bo for the BBC show Spirit Warriors,[6] making her the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series.[1] For the role, Henwick trained in wushu with martial arts choreographer Jude Poyer.[7] The show was nominated for several awards, including the Broadcast Awards 2011.[8]

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,[9] 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."[10] Theatre critic Joyce McMillan wrote that Henwick was "outstanding as Leo".[11]

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.[12] Henwick also joined the cast of Silk as new barrister pupil Amy. The series brought in an average of 5 million viewers per episode.[13] She reprised her role for the spin-off radio series Silk: The Clerks' Room[14] 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.[15] She continued performing the role until Season 7, when Sand was killed off in that season's second episode, "Stormborn".[16]

Henwick played the X-wing pilot Jess Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The character's 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.[17][18] Despite her limited screen time, the character of Pava has become a fan favorite.[19] Pava later appeared as a supporting character in the comic book series Star Wars: Poe Dameron, which ran from 2016 to 2018.

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.[20] She reprises the role for the series The Defenders, as well as the second season of Luke Cage.[21]

At the end of 2017, Henwick was listed as one of Variety's Top Breakout Stars.[22] Henwick's next role is the Fox feature film Underwater,[23] Godzilla vs. Kong,[24] Monster Problems and Sofia Coppola's On the Rocks.[25]



Year Title Role Notes
2014 Balsa Wood Scotty Short film
2015 Dragonfly Paula Reid
2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Jessika Pava[26][27]
2016 The Heart of the Forest Akira Short film
The Headhunter Aiko Koo Short film
2017 Rice on White Elena
Newness Joanne
2018 Yo! My Saint Muse Short film with Kenzo
2019 Baliko Mara Short film, also writer
2020 Underwater Emily
Monster Problems Aimee Post-production
On the Rocks Fiona Post-production
Godzilla vs. Kong TBA Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2009–2010 Spirit Warriors Bo Main role; 10 episodes
2012 The Thick of It Charlotte Episode: #4.1
2014 Obsession: Dark Desires Jane Jeong Trenka Episode: "Silent Scream"
2014 Silk Amy Lang Recurring role; 5 episodes
2014 Lewis Chloe Ilson Guest role; 2 episodes
2015–2017 Game of Thrones Nymeria Sand Recurring role; 8 episodes
2017 Fortitude Bianca Mankyo Episode: #2.1
2017–2018 Iron Fist Colleen Wing Main role; 23 episodes
2017 The Defenders Main role; 6 episodes
2018 Luke Cage Episode: "Wig Out"
2020 Gods and Heroes Alexia Post-production

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2015–2016 Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey Enu
Hanna Roth


Year Title Role Notes
2013 Running on the Cracks Leo National tour


Year Title Role Notes
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


  1. ^ a b Thomas, Shane (30 September 2013). "Actors of Colour". Media Diversified.
  2. ^ "Where exactly are my British Chinese role models?". New Statesman. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Jessica Henwick is the new face in 'Game of Thrones' - News | the Star Online".
  5. ^ "BBC One - Silk - Amy Lang". BBC. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Bo and the Spirit World casting news". ScreenTerrier. 3 June 2009. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Press Office – Spirit Warriors press pack: cast interviews". BBC. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  8. ^ "Broadcast Awards 2011: shortlist announced | News | Broadcast". 30 November 2010. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  9. ^ helen cadbury [@helencadbury] (8 February 2013). "Hurray! @katieposner @JHenwick & cast of @pilot_theatre @TronTheatre's show Running On the Cracks. 4*s in TheTimes" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  10. ^ Mark Fisher (18 February 2013). "Running on the Cracks – review | Stage". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Theatre review: Running On The Cracks, Tron, Glasgow". The Scotsman. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Shows". Crime and Investigation. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  13. ^ Dowell, Ben (20 March 2014). "Will Silk get a fourth series?". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  14. ^ "TV drama Silk in radio spin-off". BBC News. 20 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Daggers drawn: The Sand sisters vs Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones Season 5", The Telegraph, Calcutta, India, 29 March 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  16. ^ "'Game of Thrones': Sand Snake Actress on That Brutal Episode ending". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Meet Star Wars: The Force Awakens' new female hotshot pilot! – Making Star Wars". 9 July 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  18. ^ "New TV spot reveals Jessika Pava and Nien Nunb in Star Wars: The Force Awakens! – Making Star Wars". 21 November 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  19. ^ Erickson, Christine (13 March 2016). "'Star Wars' fandom is in love with Jessika Pava, the female X-wing pilot from 'The Force Awakens'". Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  20. ^ Patten, Dominic (8 March 2017). "'Iron Fist' Review: Jessica Henwick & Rosario Dawson Are Real Muscle In Marvel Series". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  21. ^ Hibberd, James (1 April 2016). "Marvel's Iron Fist casts The Force Awakens actress in lead role". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 1 April 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  22. ^ Otterson, Joe (18 December 2017). "Top Breakout TV Stars of 2017". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  23. ^ McNary, Dave (7 March 2017). "T.J. Miller, Jessica Henwick Join Kristen Stewart in Thriller 'Underwater' (EXCLUSIVE)". Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  24. ^ Kroll, Justin (8 November 2018). "'Game of Thrones' Actress Jessica Henwick Joins 'Godzilla vs. Kong' (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  25. ^
  26. ^ Lovett, Jamie (26 November 2014). "Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adds Jessica Henwick To Cast".
  27. ^ "It's the Resistance!". 2 May 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.

External links[edit]