Jo Ellen Pellman

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Jo Ellen Pellman
Born1994/1995 (age 26–27)
Ohio, U.S.
EducationUniversity of Michigan (BFA)
  • Actor
  • singer
Years active2019–present
Known forThe Prom

Jo Ellen Pellman (born 1994 or 1995)[1][2] is an American actor and singer known for her leading role as Emma Nolan in the 2020 musical Netflix film The Prom.

Early life and education[edit]

Jo Ellen Pellman was born in Ohio[3] and grew up in Cincinnati.[4] She was raised by a single mother.[5] Growing up, she was in her school's choir, studied tap and ballet, and went to theater camp.[1]

Pellman graduated in 2018 from the University of Michigan with a BFA in musical theatre and a minor in creative writing.[6] While training, she played roles in Me and My Girl, The Drowsy Chaperone and Grand Concourse.[7] She has also studied Shakespeare at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.


In 2018, Pellman played bit parts on Comedy Central's Alternatino, HBO's The Deuce, and episode 5 of Season 3 of Amazon Prime's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.[6]

Ryan Murphy cast Pellman as the protagonist of The Prom named Emma Nolan, after a nationwide search, in her film debut.[3] Murphy said, "She spoke very movingly about being a queer woman and having a gay single mom who raised her. I remember she walked out and I was just like, 'Thank God, that’s over — we’ve found our girl.'"[8] It was her first film.[6]

In December 2020, Pellman and her co-star from The Prom, Ariana DeBose, launched the Unruly Hearts Initiative. The initiative was created to help young people connect with organisations and charities that advocate for the LGBTQ+ community.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Pellman identifies as queer,[6][8] and came out to her mother, who herself identifies as gay, in her final year of high school.[5][8]


Film and Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2019 Alternatino with Arturo Castro
The University Mary Brandt
The Deuce Bree
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Girl #2
2020 The Prom Emma Nolan Film debut

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominated Work Result Ref.
2020 Hollywood Critics Association Star on the Rise The Prom Won [10]


  1. ^ a b Brody, Caitlin (December 11, 2020). "Getting to Know Jo Ellen Pellman, the Breakout Star of Netflix's The Prom". Glamour. Retrieved December 18, 2020.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Cadenas, Kerensa (December 15, 2020). "Jo Ellen Pellman Knew Her People Were Out There". The Cut. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Gonzalez, Alex (December 10, 2020). "Jo Ellen Pellman Loved The Prom On Broadway. Now She's Its Film Lead". MTV News. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Nordstrom, Leigh (December 11, 2020). "Meet Jo Ellen Pellman, the Breakout Cast as Lead Alongside Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman". WWD. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  5. ^ a b Smith, Josh (December 17, 2020). "The Prom star and GLAMOUR UK's December digital coverstar Jo Ellen Pellman on coming out & being proud". Glamour. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d Fierberg, Ruthie (December 5, 2019). "5 Things You Need to Know About Netflix's The Prom Star Jo Ellen Pellman". Playbill. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  7. ^ Lefkowitz, Andy (November 25, 2019). "Jo Ellen Pellman to Star as Emma in The Prom Film". Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Bahr, Sarah (December 11, 2020). "New Star of 'The Prom' Sees a Chance to Make L.G.B.T.Q. Characters Visible". The New York Times. Retrieved December 12, 2020.
  9. ^ Meyer, Dan (December 14, 2020). "The Prom Stars Ariana DeBose and Jo Ellen Pellman Launch Unruly Hearts Initiative". Playbill. Retrieved December 21, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. ^ Magidson, Joey (December 21, 2020). "The Hollywood Critics Association Releases Their Initial Wave Of Honorary Awards". Retrieved December 21, 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External links[edit]