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Laura Harrier

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Laura Harrier
A photograph of actress Laura Harrier at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival
Born
Laura Ruth Harrier

(1990-03-28) March 28, 1990 (age 31)
Alma materWilliam Esper Studio
Occupation
  • Actress
  • model
Years active2013–present
Partner(s)Klay Thompson (2018–2020)
RelativesJ. Waskom Pickett (great-grandfather)

Laura Ruth Harrier (born March 28, 1990) is an American actress and model. Harrier began modeling at the age of 17 after she was discovered by a location scout. She moved to New York City where she continued modeling and was represented by such agencies as IMG Models and Wilhelmina Models. She appeared in Vogue, Elle, Glamour, and Cosmopolitan and campaigns for Urban Outfitters, Macy's, and Steve Madden. She was the face of Garnier for a time, appearing in one of their national commercials. After appearing in several commercials and student films, she decided to pursue acting and studied at the William Esper Studio. Harrier was first recognized for her portrayal of Destiny Evans in the 2013 one-season reboot of the American soap opera One Life to Live.

Harrier's role as Peter Parker's love interest Liz in Spider-Man: Homecoming brought her international attention in 2017. She gained further recognition for portraying civil rights activist Patrice Dumas in BlacKkKlansman the following year, for which she received praise and was nominated for a Black Reel Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She starred as an art student in the independent drama film Balance, Not Symmetry in 2019. In 2020, she has received further attention for starring as Camille Washington in the Netflix miniseries Hollywood, and as the lead role in the music video for Kygo's remix of the song "What's Love Got to Do with It".

Harrier is an ambassador for luxury brands Louis Vuitton and Bulgari. She is outspoken about issues relating to civil rights and equality, frequently using her social media to raise awareness.

Early life[edit]

Laura Ruth Harrier[1] was born on March 28, 1990 in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in Evanston, Illinois.[2][3] Her father, Temujin Harrier, is African American and her mother, Linda (née Sagan),[4][5] is of Polish and English descent.[6][7] Her father works in insurance and her mother is a speech pathologist.[8][9] She has one younger brother, William. Her great-grandfather, through her maternal grandmother, Margaret Pickett Sagan, was J. Waskom Pickett, a notable minister, missionary, and philanthropist.[10][11] As a child, she had a speech impediment until three years old, which her mother cured,[9] and was shy and so her mother put her in acting classes to gain more confidence.[12] She attended Evanston Township High School, where she also took some drama classes and played sports, and graduated in 2008.[13][14] During high school, she became particularly interested in fashion and was voted best dressed.[15] She began modeling at the age of 17 after being discovered by her mother's friend, a location scout.[16][17][18]

After graduating high school, Harrier moved to New York City to study art history at the New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study.[15][19][20] Upon arrival, Harrier chose to defer enrollment to continue a career in modeling.[21] Throughout her modeling career she was represented by several prestigious agencies including IMG Models,[22] Wilhelmina Models,[23] and Elite Model Management.[24][25] Harrier modeled for magazines such as Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Glamour.[26][27] Additionally, she modeled for campaigns with companies such as Urban Outfitters, Macy's, American Eagle, Target, ALDO, Steve Madden, and L'Oréal.[28][29][30] She was the face for Garnier for a time and appeared in one of their national commercials.[31][32] She eventually found modeling to be unfulfilling and pursued acting after appearing in commercials and student films.[33] Harrier studied acting in the two-year program the William Esper Studio,[15] graduating in 2015.[34] After graduating, she thought she would be doing "weird, Off Broadway theater".[29]

Career[edit]

2013–2017: Acting debut and breakthrough[edit]

While studying at the William Esper Studio, her first acting job was as main role Destiny Evans in the only season of the web series reboot of the American soap opera One Life to Live (2013).[26] The role of Destiny was originated by actress Shenell Edmonds, who was offered the opportunity to reprise her role in the reboot but declined;[35] Harrier took over the role after auditioning.[36][31] Her performance was generally praised with Errol Lewis from the Soap Opera Network saying she "[has] nicely taken on the life of [her character]" and "the chemistry between [her and her on-screen boyfriend] is instantly there while leaving you wanting more".[37]

Actress Laura Harrier attending the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International
Harrier at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con promoting Spider-Man: Homecoming

Harrier next guest starred as Amber in the television series Unforgettable (2014),[38][39] and made her film debut in The Last Five Years (2014) as a young woman who has an affair with Jamie, Jeremy Jordan's character.[40] She was cast in the AMC pilot Galyntine (2014), opposite Alycia Debnam-Carey, which was filmed but was not picked up and never aired.[41][42][43] In 2015, she appeared in the film 4th Man Out,[44] and in her last year at William Esper she was cast in Codes of Conduct, an HBO miniseries pilot created by Steve McQueen.[45] Harrier considers this pilot to be her "first real job".[19][46] The pilot was filmed but the series was canceled and never aired.[47]

Harrier starred alongside Rowan Blanchard and Mahershala Ali in The Realest Real, a campaign film directed by Carrie Brownstein for luxury French fashion brand Kenzo in 2016.[48][49] She also modeled for various campaigns for brands including Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton, and became an ambassador for the latter and luxury Italian jewelry brand Bulgari.[50][15][51][52]

In 2016, she also booked the role of Peter Parker's love interest Liz in Spider-Man: Homecoming.[53][54][55] She did two auditions and then a screen test with Tom Holland before getting the role six weeks later.[56] Her character was loosely based on Liz Allan from the comics and Harrier was given the creative freedom to create a modern version of the character.[27] Released in 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming was Harrier's major film debut and breakthrough, as well as a box office success, grossing over $880 million worldwide and receiving generally positive reviews.[57][58] While the film brought Harrier substantial fame and established her as an actress,[59][60] her performance was met with mixed reviews with some critics praising her for avoiding the damsel in distress trope and breaking barriers as the first love interest of color,[61] while others were disappointed in her character's development and lack of screen time.[62] Dana Schwartz of Marie Claire gave a negative review: "Liz is always reactionary; she doesn't do anything ... [she] could literally be replaced by an object and ... the movie wouldn't change at all."[63] Jim Vejvoda from IGN said "Harrier nicely plays against expectations".[64] Mark Hughes wrote for Forbes that Harrier is a "welcome change to the usual romantic interests in superhero film" and plays Liz as a "likable, sympathetic, type-A person".[65]

In June 2017, it was announced that Harrier would be portraying Millie Montag in Fahrenheit 451, HBO's film adaptation of the 1953 novel of the same name, opposite Michael B. Jordan;[66] however, her scenes were later removed by the director who decided the character did not fit with the storyline and wanted to shorten the film's runtime.[67]

2018–present: BlacKkKlansman and Hollywood[edit]

Side profile of Laura Harrier at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival
Harrier at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival for BlacKkKlansman

Harrier co-starred as Patrice Dumas, a civil rights activist, in the film BlacKkKlansman (2018) opposite John David Washington, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace.[68] The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2018, where it won the Grand Prix,[69] and was subsequently theatrically released in August 2018.[70] The director, Spike Lee, handpicked Harrier after seeing an audition tape she had done for another project.[33] She was on vacation in Greece when Lee demanded that she meet him in New York City for an audition, where he acted as her scene partner.[71] The next day, she was offered the role. In preparation for it, Harrier met with activist Kathleen Cleaver and other women who were in the Black Power movement; studied Angela Davis; and contacted people who were in the Black Student Union at Colorado College during the 1970s.[72][73] She also spoke with her own father, who dealt with racism while living in South Side, and as the only black student at his boarding school in Michigan; his ancestors were slaves.[15] All of these people were Harrier's inspirations and influences for the role.[74][75] Harrier also attended several of Lee's classes at New York University where he is a film professor.[76] For her performance, Harrier received positive reviews,[77][78][79] and was nominated for a Black Reel Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.[80][81]

In 2019, director Jamie Adams offered Harrier the lead role in his film Balance, Not Symmetry; she accepted the part due to the project being mostly improvised and being good friends with Bria Vinaite, her co-star in the film.[82] She plays Caitlyn Walker, an art student at the Glasgow School of Art, who is struggling with the recent death of her father. The film was a critical failure.[83][84] Cath Clarke of The Guardian thought Harrier gave a "blank performance".[85]

She starred in the Netflix miniseries Hollywood (2020) by Ryan Murphy as Camille Washington, an up-and-coming black actress facing prejudice during the Hollywood Golden Age in the post-World War II era.[86][87] Before booking her role, Harrier only knew that it was an untitled Old Hollywood project. Months after her initial audition, she did a chemistry read with her on-screen boyfriend Darren Criss.[88] Harrier primarily drew inspiration for her role from actress Dorothy Dandridge, and to a lesser extent from singer and actress Lena Horne as well.[61][89][90] Both Dandridge and Camille were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, but only Camile won it. To prepare for the Academy Award scene, Harrier studied Halle Berry's acceptance speech at the 74th Academy Awards.[89][90] The series and Harrier's performance received mixed reviews,[91][92] and some critics compared her performance unfavorably to her work in BlacKkKlansman.[93] Darren Franich and Kristen Baldwin from Entertainment Weekly thought she was "so charismatic in BlacKkKlansman", but remarked "there’s no sign of that fire here".[94] The Hollywood Reporter's Daniel Fienberg noted she "looks the part", but believed Camille was underdeveloped.[95] There were positive reviews including Gabriel Tate from the i newspaper who called her "heartbreakingly convincing".[96][97]

On July 17, 2020, Harrier starred as the lead role, a young woman going through a breakup, in the music video for "What's Love Got to Do with It", the remix version by Kygo of the original Tina Turner song.[98][99]

Harrier is set to star in BIOS with Tom Hanks,[100][101][102] which is scheduled to premiere on April 16, 2021,[103] and in The Starling alongside Melissa McCarthy, which is set to premiere on Netflix.[104]

Personal life[edit]

Harrier has been a vegetarian since she was eight years old.[9] After graduating high school, Harrier moved to New York City in 2008,[8] relocating to Los Angeles in 2019;[33][100] she has said that she made the move to advance her career.[90] Harrier is also a patron of the arts and exhibitions and collects art that decorates her home.[105][106][107]

Harrier is a supporter of civil rights and advocates for issues such as intersectional feminism,[73] transgender rights, gun control, gender equality, and representation for both black people and people of color in general.[108][109][110] She frequently uses her Instagram to call out injustices and has voiced support for Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union.[111][112][113] She was also one of the celebrity signatories for the Time's Up movement,[33][114][115] and donated $1,000 to support the cause.[116][117]

Harrier was in a relationship with American basketball player Klay Thompson from 2018 to early 2020.[118][119][120]

Filmography[edit]

Projects that have not yet been released Denotes projects that have not yet been released

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2014 The Last Five Years Manuscript Woman
2015 4th Man Out Dorothy Cuda
2016 The Realest Real Abby Short film
2017 Spider-Man: Homecoming Liz
2018 BlacKkKlansman Patrice Dumas
2019 Balance, Not Symmetry Caitlin Walker
2021 BIOSdagger Linda Post-production
2021 The Starlingdagger TBA Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 One Life to Live Destiny Evans Main role
2014 Unforgettable Amber Episode: "The Island"
2014 Galyntine Wylie Pilot (unaired)
2015 Codes of Conduct Unknown Pilot (unaired)
2018 Fahrenheit 451 Millie Montag Television film; deleted scenes
2020 Hollywood Camille Washington Main role

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist(s) Role Ref.
2020 "What's Love Got to Do with It" Kygo & Tina Turner Young woman [98]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2019 Black Reel Awards Outstanding Breakthrough Performance, Female BlacKkKlansman Nominated [80]
2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture BlacKkKlansman Nominated [81]

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