Margaret Qualley

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Margaret Qualley
MJK 68550 Margaret Qualley (Berlinale 2020) (cropped).jpg
Sarah Margaret Qualley

(1994-10-23) October 23, 1994 (age 26)
Years active2011–present

Sarah Margaret Qualley (born October 23, 1994) is an American actress. The daughter of actress Andie MacDowell, she trained as a ballerina in her youth and briefly pursued a career in modeling. She made her acting debut with a minor role in the 2013 drama film Palo Alto and gained recognition for playing a troubled teenager in the HBO drama series The Leftovers (2014–2017). Qualley then appeared in the dark comedy The Nice Guys (2016) and in Netflix's supernatural thriller Death Note (2017).

Qualley gained acclaim and a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award for portraying actress and dancer Ann Reinking in the FX biographical drama miniseries Fosse/Verdon (2019). Her biggest commercial success came in 2019 with Quentin Tarantino's comedy-drama Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Qualley also appeared as Mama/Lockne in the video game Death Stranding.

Early life[edit]

Margaret Qualley was born on October 23, 1994, in Montana.[1] She is the daughter of actress and model Andie MacDowell, and model, musician, contractor, and rancher Paul Qualley.[2] She has an older brother, Justin (born 1986), and an older sister, Rainey (born 1990).[3]

The Qualley siblings spent their early years on a ranch in Missoula, Montana, moving to Asheville, North Carolina, when Margaret was four.[4] Qualley's parents separated when she was five years old, and she subsequently split her time equally between each parent.[5] For many years, her parents lived just three miles apart.[6] Her family home with MacDowell is in Biltmore Forest, and they have extended family nearby.[7][8]

Education and training[edit]

As a teenager growing up in Asheville, North Carolina,[9] she and her sister were both debutantes, and Qualley made her debut at the Bal des débutantes in Paris.[10]

She left home at 14 to board at the North Carolina School of the Arts, where she studied dance.[5] She trained as a ballerina, earning an apprenticeship at the American Ballet Theatre and studying at New York's Professional Children's School.[11] However, at the age of 16, following an offer to become an apprentice with the North Carolina Dance Theater company, Qualley decided to quit dance. In order to stay in New York, she began working as a model. Of this period, Qualley says: "I wrote to my mom saying: 'Look, I don't think I want to be a dancer any more so I'm going to quit ballet and stay here. I will have this and this income next week.' I laid it out in a way that she couldn't say no because I was so organized."[5] Qualley later changed her focus to acting and attended London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art summer program.[5][12][13]

Qualley attended New York University [11] but left after a semester for acting roles.[14]



In 2011, Qualley made her modeling debut at the age of 16 during New York Fashion Week, walking for Alberta Ferretti.[citation needed] She modeled during Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 for Valentino and Chanel.[15][16] She again walked for Chanel during their Fall/Winter 2012 show.[17] Qualley has posed for publications such as Vogue, W, Teen Vogue,[15] Interview, Vanity Fair, and Nylon.[16] Qualley appeared in the Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 2016 print campaign, shot by Steven Meisel.[18]

As of 2015, she is signed with IMG Models and Uno Models Barcelona.[19][20]


Qualley first appeared on screen in 2013 playing a small part in Gia Coppola's film Palo Alto.[21] She received the part because she happened to be on set visiting her then-boyfriend, Nat Wolff.[22][23]

Qualley in 2017

In June 2013, Qualley was cast as a series regular in the HBO television series The Leftovers.[24] Qualley reprised her role as Jill Garvey for the subsequent second and third seasons of The Leftovers in 2015 and 2017, respectively.[citation needed]

Qualley next appeared in Shane Black's 2016 comedy The Nice Guys.[25] In April 2016, Qualley was announced to have joined the cast of Shawn Christensen's The Vanishing of Sidney Hall.[26] The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, alongside another film of hers, Novitiate.[27] In Novitiate, Qualley stars as Sister Cathleen, a young woman who begins to question her faith as she trains to be a nun.[28] The film was released on October 27, 2017.[29] That same year, Qualley starred in Death Note, directed by Adam Wingard.[30]

In 2018, Qualley appeared in Donnybrook, directed by Tim Sutton and co-starring Jamie Bell and Frank Grillo. The film had its premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.[31]

In 2019, Qualley starred in the Netflix science-fiction film IO. The film was directed by Jonathan Helpert and it was released on January 18, 2019. She played Sam Walden, a teenager surviving as one of the last people on an abandoned post-cataclysmic Earth, who is racing to find a cure for her poisoned home world before the last shuttle off the planet to the distant human space colony leaves her stranded.[32]

Also in 2019, Qualley portrayed the role of Mary Dalton in Rashid Johnson's HBO adaption of Native Son.[33] In 2019, Qualley also portrayed actress and dancer Ann Reinking in the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon, for which she received nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie[34][35] and a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries. She then appeared in Quentin Tarantino's film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, playing a member of the Manson Family named Pussycat[36] where she was nominated along with the rest of the cast for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. She also starred in Seberg opposite Kristen Stewart and Jack O'Connell. directed by Benedict Andrews.[37]

In 2020, Qualley starred in Wake Up, a short film directed by Olivia Wilde.[38] She also starred in My Salinger Year opposite Sigourney Weaver directed by Philippe Falardeau, which had its world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2020.[39][40]

Qualley will next star in the psychological thriller A Head Full of Ghosts directed by Scott Cooper;[41] and in The Stars at Noon opposite Robert Pattinson directed by Claire Denis.[42]

In other media[edit]

In 2015, Qualley appeared in the short promotional film L'Américaine for American fashion label Tory Burch.[43] Qualley appears as the central character in a Spike Jonze-directed commercial for KENZO World.[44] The 2016 short film/ad was choreographed by Ryan Heffington. However, much of the dance routine was improvised by Qualley herself, as she is trained in classical ballet.[45] Qualley and her sister Rainey appeared in the music video for Soko's 2017 single "Sweet Sound of Ignorance."[46]

On May 29, 2019, it was revealed that Qualley would be playing "Mama" in Hideo Kojima's PlayStation 4 game Death Stranding. She also played the character of Lockne, Mama's twin sister, in the game.

Personal life[edit]

As of November 2019, Qualley lives in New York.[47] Qualley formerly lived in Los Angeles with her sister Rainey, with whom she shares a dog named Books.[5][23] Qualley has described her sister as "my idol, my best friend in the whole world."[5]



Year Title Role Notes
2013 Palo Alto Raquel
2016 The Nice Guys Amelia Kuttner
2017 Novitiate Sister Cathleen Harris
2017 The Vanishing of Sidney Hall Alexandra
2017 Death Note Mia Sutton / Kira
2018 Donnybrook Delia Angus
2019 Io Sam Walden
2019 Native Son Mary Dalton
2019 Adam Casey Freeman
2019 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood "Pussycat"
2019 Strange but True Melissa Moody
2019 Seberg Linette Solomon
2020 Wake Up Jane Doe Short film
2020 My Salinger Year Joanna


Year Title Role Notes
2014–2017 The Leftovers Jill Garvey Main role
2018 Asesinato en el Hormiguero Express Margaret Qualley Television special
2019 Fosse/Verdon Ann Reinking Miniseries
TBA Maid Alex Main role

Video games[edit]

Year Title Voice role Notes
2019 Death Stranding Mama / Lockne Also motion capture

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2019 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie Fosse/Verdon Nominated [48]
2020 Critics' Choice Television Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries Nominated [49]
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Nominated [50]


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  4. ^ Rovzar, Chris. "Rainey and Margaret Qualley on Their Singing and Acting Careers". HWD. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
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  13. ^ "Andie MacDowell's Daughters Make the Move to LA". The Daily Truffle. September 2, 2016.
  14. ^ "Margaret Qualley Says People Shouldn't Be Patted on the Back for Hiring Women". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
  15. ^ a b "Margaret Qualley | Uno models Barcelona & Madrid". Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  16. ^ a b "Margaret Qualley – Model". Retrieved 2017-07-25.
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  32. ^ Kroll, Justin (2016-10-06). "Anthony Mackie, Margaret Qualley, and Danny Huston Join Sci-Fi Drama 'IO'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  33. ^ Montgomery, Daniel (2019-04-04). "Nick Robinson and Margaret Qualley ('Native Son') on the controversial story: 'Nobody in this film gets away scot-free' [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]". GoldDerby. Retrieved 2019-04-17.
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