Margaret Qualley

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Margaret Qualley
Margaret Qualley by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Qualley in 2017
Sarah Margaret Qualley

(1994-10-23) October 23, 1994 (age 25)
  • Actress
  • dancer
  • model
Years active2011–present
Parent(s)Andie MacDowell, Paul Qualley

Sarah Margaret Qualley (born October 23, 1994) is an American actress and dancer. Having made her acting debut in 2013, she has since starred in several successful television series and Hollywood productions. Qualley's body of work has earned her nominations for an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

The daughter of actress Andie MacDowell, Qualley 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, but later gained recognition for playing a troubled teenager in the HBO mystery 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 further acclaim and a nomination at the 71st Primetime Emmy Awards 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 as she continued to draw praise for her performances in smaller productions such as Native Son and Io (both 2019).

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]

She first took interest in ballet and studied it as a toddler. 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 organised."[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.[15] She modelled during Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 for Valentino and Chanel.[16][17] She again walked for Chanel during their Fall/Winter 2012 show.[18] Qualley has posed for publications such as Vogue, W, Teen Vogue,[16] Interview, Vanity Fair, and Nylon.[17] Qualley appeared in the Ralph Lauren Fall/Winter 2016 print campaign, shot by Steven Meisel.[19]

She is currently signed with IMG Models and Uno Models Barcelona.[20][21]


Qualley first appeared on screen in 2013 playing a small part in Gia Coppola's film Palo Alto.[22] She received the part because she happened to be on set visiting her then-boyfriend, Nat Wolff.[23][24]

In June 2013, Qualley was cast as a series regular in the HBO television series The Leftovers.[25] Qualley reprised her role as Jill Garvey for the subsequent second and third seasons of The Leftovers in 2015 and 2017, respectively.[26]

Qualley next appeared in Shane Black's 2016 comedy The Nice Guys.[27] In April 2016, Qualley was announced to have joined the cast of Shawn Christensen's The Vanishing of Sidney Hall.[28] The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, alongside another film of hers, Novitiate.[29] In Novitiate, Qualley stars as Sister Cathleen, a young woman who begins to question her faith as she trains to be a nun.[30] The film was released on October 27, 2017.[31] That same year, Qualley starred in Death Note, directed by Adam Wingard.[32]

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.[33]

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.[34]

Also in 2019, Qualley portrayed the role of Mary Dalton in Rashid Johnson's HBO adaption of Native Son.[35] In 2019, Qualley also portrayed actress and dancer Ann Reinking in the FX miniseries Fosse/Verdon, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie nomination.[36][37] She then appeared in Quentin Tarantino's film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, playing a member of the Manson Family named Pussycat.[38] and in Seberg opposite Kristen Stewart and Jack O'Connell directed by Benedict Andrews.[39]

In 2020, Qualley starred in Wake Up, a short film directed by Olivia Wilde.[40] She is also set to star in My Salinger Year opposite Sigourney Weaver directed by Philippe Falardeau.[41]

In other media[edit]

In 2015, Qualley appeared in the short promotional film L'Américaine for American fashion label Tory Burch.[42] Qualley appears as the central character in a Spike Jonze-directed commercial for KENZO World.[43] 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.[44] Qualley and her sister Rainey appeared in the music video for Soko's 2017 single "Sweet Sound of Ignorance."[45]

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.[46] Qualley formerly lived in Los Angeles with her sister Rainey, with whom she shares a dog named Books.[5][24] 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
The Vanishing of Sidney Hall Alexandra
Death Note Mia Sutton / Kira
2018 Donnybrook Delia Angus
2019 Io Sam Walden
Native Son Mary Dalton
Adam Casey Freeman
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Pussycat
Strange but True Melissa Moody
Seberg Linette
2020 Wake Up Jane Doe Short film
TBA My Salinger Year Joanna Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2014–2017 The Leftovers Jill Garvey 18 episodes
2018 Asesinato en el Hormiguero Express Margaret Qualley Television special
2019 Fosse/Verdon Ann Reinking 5 episodes
Nominated–Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries
Nominated–Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie

Video games[edit]

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


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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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  14. ^ Nast, Condé. "Margaret Qualley Says People Shouldn't Be Patted on the Back for Hiring Women". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 18 October 2019.
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  17. ^ a b "Margaret Qualley – Model". Retrieved 2017-07-25.
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  23. ^ "#TheGirlOfNow: Margaret Qualley | Vs. Magazine". Vs. Magazine. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
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  26. ^ [citation needed]
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  31. ^ "Novitiate - 2017 -". Retrieved 2017-07-24.
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  33. ^ Yamato, Jen. "Toronto premiere 'Donnybrook' charts a dark journey into America's heartland and the roots of white rage". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  34. ^ Kroll, Justin (2016-10-06). "Anthony Mackie, Margaret Qualley, and Danny Huston Join Sci-Fi Drama 'IO'". Variety. Retrieved 2017-07-24.
  35. ^ Montgomery, Daniel; 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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  39. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (March 14, 2018). "Kristen Stewart To Play Icon Jean Seberg In Political Thriller 'Against All Enemies'; Jack O'Connell, Anthony Mackie Also Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  40. ^ Russian, Ale (January 22, 2020). "Olivia Wilde Directs Margaret Qualley in First Trailer for 'Wild and Strange' Short Film Wake Up". People. Retrieved January 22, 2020.
  41. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (February 8, 2019). "Sigourney Weaver, Margaret Qualley to Star in 'My Salinger Year' (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
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