Mia Kirshner (born January 25, 1975) is a Canadian actress, writer and social activist. She is known for television roles as Mandy in 24 (2001–2005), as Jenny Schecter in The L Word (2004–2009), and as Amanda Grayson in Star Trek: Discovery (2017–present). Her film credits include Love and Human Remains (1993), Exotica (1994), The Crow: City of Angels (1996), Mad City (1997), Not Another Teen Movie (2001) and The Black Dahlia (2006).
Kirshner was born in Toronto, Ontario, the daughter of Etti (Henrietta), a teacher, and Sheldon Kirshner, a journalist who wrote for The Canadian Jewish News. Kirshner is a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors; her father was born in the displaced persons camp at Bad Reichenhall in Germany in 1946, and met Kirshner's mother, a Bulgarian Jewish refugee, after they left for Israel. Kirshner's paternal grandparents were Polish Jews. Kirshner had a middle class upbringing and attended Forest Hill Collegiate Institute but later graduated from Jarvis Collegiate Institute. Kirshner studied Russian literature and the 20th-century movie industry at McGill University in Montreal. Her younger sister, Lauren Kirshner, a writer, was involved in the I Live Here project.
Kirshner started her career in 1989 in "Loving the Alien", a second-season episode of War of the Worlds' as both Jo, a young resistance fighter who is captured and duplicated by the enemy aliens, and her doppelgänger. Kirshner made her film debut in 1993 at the age of 18 in Denys Arcand's Love and Human Remains. She convinced her father to sign a "nudity waiver" to play a dominatrix. The following year, she starred in Atom Egoyan's Exotica. In 1996, she appeared in The Crow: City of Angels. She also played Kitty Scherbatsky in the 1997 version of Anna Karenina.
Kirshner also appeared in the first three episodes of 24 as the assassin Mandy in 2001. She would later reprise the role for the second season's finale and in the latter half of the show's fourth season. Also in 2001, Kirshner played Catherine Wyler, The Cruelest Girl in School, in Not Another Teen Movie. The character is primarily a spoof of Kathryn Merteuil (played by Sarah Michelle Gellar) in Cruel Intentions, and was partially based on Mackenzie Siler (played by Anna Paquin) from She's All That. In Marilyn Manson's music video for "Tainted Love", which was featured on the movie's soundtrack, she made a cameo appearance as her character Catherine Wyler.
In 2006, she starred in Brian De Palma's The Black Dahlia in which she plays the young aspiring actress Elizabeth Short, whose mutilation and murder in 1947 remains unsolved. While the film itself was critically panned, many reviews singled out her performance for acclaim. Stephanie Zacharek of Salon.com, in a largely negative review, notes that the eponymous character was "played wonderfully by Mia Kirshner..." Mick LaSalle wrote that Kirshner "makes a real impression of the Dahlia as a sad, lonely dreamer, a pathetic figure." J. R. Jones described her performance as "haunting" and that the film's fictional screen tests "deliver the emotional darkness so lacking in the rest of the movie." In 2010, Kirshner co-starred in the film 30 Days of Night: Dark Days which began filming in the fall of 2009. In 2010, she was cast as Isobel Flemming, a guest role on The Vampire Diaries.
In 2018, she began a recurring role on Star Trek: Discovery playing Amanda Grayson, foster mother of series protagonist Michael Burnham and mother of Spock, a role originated by Jane Wyatt on the original Star Trek.
On September 5, 2019, Entertainment Tonight's news outlet ET Online reported that Kirshner would play a character in Lifetime Television's movie, The College Admissions Scandal, with co-star Penelope Ann Miller in roles inspired by real life Hollywood stars Lori Loughlin's and Felicity Huffman's involvement in a massive college admissions bribery scam. Describing her role, Kirshner was quoted saying "This story is about privilege and corruption and it's about people who don't follow the rules because they think they're above rules... My character (based on Lori Loughlin but named "Bethany" in the film) is so corrupt, greedy, narcissistic, self-centered, and the dialogue is hilarious, so I'm glad that they're able to capture humor about this as well."
In September of 2020, it was announced that Kirshner would co-star with Ben Savage in a Hallmark Channel holiday film entitled Love, Lights, Hanukkah!, which premiered on December 12th, 2020. Kirshner plays a restaurant owner named Christina, who learns of her Jewish ancestry through a DNA test.
In October 2008, after seven years in production, Kirshner published the book I Live Here, which she co-produced with ex-Adbusters staffers Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons, as well as writer James MacKinnon. In the book, four different groups of women and children refugees from places such as Chechnya, Juárez, Burma and Malawi tell their life stories. The book features original material from well-known comic and graphic artists including Joe Sacco and Phoebe Gloeckner. It was published in the U.S. by Random House/Pantheon. It was supported logistically by Amnesty International, which will receive proceeds from the book. After the release of the book, the Center for International Studies at MIT invited Kirshner to run a 4-week course on I Live Here in January 2009.
In popular culture
Kirshner was ranked #43 on the Maxim Hot 100 Women of 2002. She and Beverly Polcyn were nominated for Best Kiss at the 2002 MTV Movie Awards for Not Another Teen Movie. In 2011 it was announced that Kirshner would be the face of Monica Rich Kosann's jewelry collection.
|1993||Love and Human Remains||Benita|
|1995||Murder in the First||Rosetta Young|
|1995||The Grass Harp||Maude Riordan|
|1996||The Crow: City of Angels||Sarah Mohr|
|1997||Mad City||Laurie Callahan|
|1999||Speed of Life||Sarah|
|1999||Out of the Cold||Deborah Berkowitz|
|2000||Cowboys and Angels||Candice|
|2001||According to Spencer||Melora|
|2001||Not Another Teen Movie||Catherine Wyler|
|2002||New Best Friend||Alicia Campbell|
|2002||Now & Forever||Angela Wilson|
|2003||Party Monster||Natasha Gatien|
|2005||The Iris Effect||Rebecca|
|2006||The Black Dahlia||Elizabeth Short|
|2010||30 Days of Night: Dark Days||Lilith||Direct-to-video film|
|2011||388 Arletta Avenue||Amy Walker|
|2012||The Barrens||Cynthia Vineyard|
|2013||I Think I Do||Julia|
|2016||Milton's Secret||Jane Adams|
|2017||A Swinger's Weekend||Fiona|
|1989||War of the Worlds||Jo||Episode: "Loving the Alien"|
|1990||Danger Bay||Catherine Walker||Episode: "Live Wires"|
|1990–1991||Dracula: The Series||Sophie Metternich||Main role|
|1991||E.N.G.||Risa Timerman||Episode: "Suffer the Little Children"|
|1991||My Secret Identity||Alana Porter||Episode: "My Other Secret Identity"|
|1991||Tropical Heat||Cathy Paige||Episode: "Runaway"|
|1992||Tropical Heat||Sandy||Episode: "Stranger in Paradise"|
|1992||Road to Avonlea||Emily Everett-Smythe||Episode: "High Society"|
|1992||Are You Afraid of the Dark?||Pam / Dora Pease||Episode: "The Tale of the Hungry Hounds"|
|1995||Johnny's Girl||Amy Ross||Television film|
|2001–2002||Wolf Lake||Ruby Cates||Main role|
|2004–2009||The L Word||Jenny Schecter||Main role|
|2007||They Come Back||Faith Hardy||Television film|
|2009||The Cleaner||April May||Episode: "Does Everybody Have a Drink?"|
|2009||CSI: NY||Deborah Carter||Episode: "Dead Reckoning"|
|2010–2011||The Vampire Diaries||Isobel Flemming||Recurring role (seasons 1–2)|
|2012||Kiss at Pine Lake||Zoe McDowell||Television film|
|2013||The Surrogacy Trap||Christy Bennett||Television film|
|2013||Graceland||Ashika Pearl||Episode: "Pizza Box"|
|2013||Lost Girl||Clio||Episodes: "In Memoriam", "Sleeping Beauty School", "Lovers. Apart."|
|2013–2014||Defiance||Kenya Rosewater||Main role|
|2015||Bloodline||Sarah Rayburn||Episodes: "Part 1", "Part 6", "Part 11"|
|2015||Reluctant Witness||Erin Villenueve||Television film|
|2016||Real Detective||Detective Mannina||Episode: "No One Is Safe"|
|2017–Present||Star Trek: Discovery||Amanda Grayson||Recurring role|
|2019||The College Admissions Scandal||Bethany Slade||Television film|
|2020||Love, Lights, Hanukkah!||Christina||Television film|
- 24: The Game (2006), as Mandy
- "Mia Kirshner surprised by character in 'Mad City' film". News Tribune. November 15, 1997. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2007.
- "Defiant actor has impressive goals - The Canadian Jewish News". Retrieved April 22, 2015.
- "Mia Kirshner basks in an erotic mystery". Thelwordonline.com. April 5, 2004. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "A Sentimental Journey To Bad Reichenhall". Sheldon Kirshner. July 15, 2016. Retrieved April 6, 2019.
- "Film Rap: Mia Kirshner – I Live Here". The Warren Report. November 26, 2008. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
- Kirshner, Sheldon (August 19, 2009). "Buildings in the former Lodz Ghetto still stand". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- Aurthur, Kate (October 19, 2008). "Mia Kirshner backs up her commitment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 19, 2009.
- "Give yourself permission to write". the Varsity (University of Toronto). September 24, 2009. Archived from the original on December 28, 2009. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
- Pfefferman, Naomi (March 16, 2009). "Mia Kirshner Documents A Different 'L' Word: Living". Baltimore Jewish Times. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- "Mia Kirshner". IMDb. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Ausiello, Michael (December 21, 2009). "Exclusive: 'Vampire Diaries' lures 'L Word' babe Mia Kirshner". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 1, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2010.
- Stephanie Zacharek (September 15, 2006). "The Black Dahlia". Salon.com. Retrieved March 23, 2021.
- Mick LaSalle (September 15, 2006). "'Black Dahlia' may look good, but it's noir lite". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
- J. R. Jones (August 29, 2006). "The Black Dahlia". Chicago Reader. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
- Timothy Brayton (September 18, 2007). "In This Corner: The Most Notorious Unsolved Murder In California History". Antagony & Ecstasy. Retrieved August 29, 2011.
- "BD's Got Your '30 Days of Night: Dark Days' Casting!". Bloody-disgusting.com. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- Monk, Katherine. "Sundance: Interactive film, Bear 71, blurs lines between wild and wired". canada.com. Postmedia News. Archived from the original on January 26, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- Makarechi, Kia (January 24, 2012). "'Bear 71': Interactive Film At Sundance Tells Dark Side Of Human Interaction With Wildlife". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 25, 2012.
- Nellie Andreeva. "Mia Kirshner And Fionnula Flanagan Join Syfy Series 'Defiance'". Deadline. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
- "Showcase". Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved April 22, 2015.
- "Felicity Huffman & Lori Loughlin-Inspired 'College Admissions Scandal' Movie Gets First Trailer (Exclusive)". Retrieved October 7, 2019.
- "Hallmark Unveils 2020 'Countdown to Christmas' Slate, Including Gay Adoption Movie, Hanukkah Celebration". Retrieved September 28, 2020.
- "Tavis Smiley Show". Tavis Smiley Show – Mia Kirshner. December 16, 2008. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
- "I Live Here Foundation". I-live-here.com. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "The Goggles". The Goggles. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
- "MIT CIS: IAP 2009, I Live Here, Mia Kirshner". IAP COURSE: I Live Here—A Human Rights Multimedia Project. Retrieved December 31, 2009.
- "FreeJose.com". Maxim Magazine Hot 100 Women of 2002. Archived from the original on February 23, 2007. Retrieved April 19, 2007.
- "About.com". Best Kiss nomination, 2002 MTV Movie Awards. Archived from the original on December 14, 2007. Retrieved June 1, 2007.
- "Mia Kirshner: the new face of Monica Rich Kosann". PRWeb. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Sam Shepard and girlfriend Mia Kirshner shopping in Soho rexfeatures.com, 23 November 2014
- "Sam Shepard with girlfriend Mia Kirshner out and about, New York" rexfeatures.com, 30 March 2015
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