Uhl grew up near Stralsund, in the (very) small town of Franzburg. She lived with her mother in a three-generation house, shared with aunts and her grandparents, who had moved in shortly after the war. (Her father left the family home when she was two: she never got to know him.) Many years later, after setting up her own multi-generation multi-family house in Potsdam in 2005, with friends and relations ranging in age from 20 to 90, she told an interviewer that childhood experience of living with aunts and grand parents taught her that this type of extended family community in a single home was a challenge which could only succeed if each member was allowed some free space.
At school she tried shooting, ballet, table tennis and gymnastics. A perceptive school report noted that "Nadja likes to be part of a group". An art teacher spotted her talent for entertaining others and arranged for her to take part in a weekly amateur drama group after school each Monday. That became a weekly highlight.
She studied at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy College of Music and Theatre in Leipzig between 1990 and 1994, beginning her career as a theatre actress at the Hans Otto Theater in Potsdam in 1994. There, she opened a music hall with her partner (and business manager) Kay Bockhold in 2006.
She first appeared in a film in 1993 (Thomas Koerfer's Der Grüne Heinrich, playing Agnes' role), but in 2000 she attracted international attention acting in Volker Schlöndorff's The Legend of Rita (Die Stille nach dem Schuß). In this film she played Tatjana, an East German waitress who rebels against the system of her country. Due to her work in this film, she won the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Deutscher Filmpreis (German Film Awards).
In 2002 she appeared in Twin Sisters (De Tweeling), directed by Dutch director Ben Sombogaart and based on the novel The Twins, a bestseller by Tessa de Loo. Here she played Anna, Lotte's sister. They are separated from each other after the death of their parents; the Second World War and the Holocaust will consolidate their situation. The film was a 76th Academy Awards nominee for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 2003.
In 2008 she participated in Uli Edel's Der Baader Meinhof Komplex, based on the bestseller of the same title by Stefan Aust; the film and the book are based on real events. In the film, Nadja Uhl plays Brigitte Mohnhaupt, a member of the Red Army Faction (Rote Armee Fraktion or R.A.F., a German terrorist group of Marxist ideology active from the late 1960s to 1998), and leader of its second generation. Also in 2008, Nadja Uhl participated in a TV production, also based on real events, about the Lufthansa Flight 181 hijacking (during the German Autumn of 1977), which was perpetrated by four terrorists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in collusion with the R.A.F. Here, Nadja Uhl plays flight attendant Gabriele Dillmann, who was one of the victims of the hijacking. Coincidentally, at the moment of the hijacking, the R.A.F.'s leader was Brigitte Mohnhaupt. In the film Mogadischu she plays a flight attendant aboard hijacked Flight LH181.
In a 2017 Nadja Uhl told an interviewer that she still loves the land of her birth, the German Democratic Republik (GDR) "in spite of everything ... that happened with my family". Although the family in which she grew up was not particularly politicised during her early childhood, they were forced to confront an uglier side of the socialist paradise when her uncle was arrested during the later 1980s and imprisoned at Bautzen in connection with his "environmental activism which at that time was not welcome [to the authorities] in the GDR ... [Those activists] did nothing wrong. They just pointed out the abuses. That alone was enough to be seen as an attack on the system."
One day the leader of the drama group that she attended after school each Monday asked Nadja Uhl if she had ever considered making acting her profession. Suddenly new possibilities opened up and with them a legitimation for the future:
Filmography and roles
- Der grüne Heinrich (1993) … Agnes
- Zerrissene Herzen (1996, TV) … Britta
- Polizeiruf 110: Kleine Dealer, große Träume (TV series, season 25, episode 4, 19 February 1996) … Bibi
- Alarmcode 112 (TV series aired on 25 September 1996)
- First Love - Die große Liebe (television series aired in 1997) … Wolke
- Tatort: Eiskalt (TV series, episode 370, 28 September 1997) … Petra Schächter
- Mein ist die Rache (1997, TV) … Evi
- Beichtstuhl der Begierde (1997, TV)
- Mörderisches Erbe - Tausch mit einer Toten (1998, TV) … Helen Braddy
- Blutiger Ernst (1998, TV) … Marysa Heeren
- Gefährliche Lust - Ein Mann in Versuchung (1998, TV) … Sophie
- Stan Becker - Auf eigene Faust (1998, TV) … Laura Basenius
- Ufos über Waterlow (1998, TV)
- No Sex (1999, TV) … Isabell Jacobi
- Schnee in der Neujahrsnacht (1999) … Nora
- Verrat (2000)
- Die Stille nach dem Schuß (2000) … Tatjana
- Verhängnisvolles Glück (2000, TV) … Gloria
- La Volpe a tre zampe (2001) … Doris
- My Sweet Home (2001) … Anke
- What to Do in Case of Fire? (2001) … Nele
- Scherbentanz (2002) … Zitrone
- De Tweeling (2002) … Anna
- Das Wunder von Lengede (2003, TV) … Helga Wolbert
- Soundless (2004) … Nina
- Mord am Meer (2005, TV) … Paula Reinhardt
- Sommer vorm Balkon (2005) … Nicole "Nike" Pawelsky
- Artour (TV series)
- Dornröschen erwacht (2006, TV) … Juliane Meybach
- Die Sturmflut (2006, TV) … Katja Döbbelin
- Vier Minuten (2006) … Nadine Hoffmann
- Nicht alle waren Mörder (2006, TV) … Anna Degen
- Kirschblüten - Hanami (2008) … Franzi
- Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (2008) … Brigitte Mohnhaupt
- Mogadischu (2008, TV) … flight attendant Gabriele Dillmann
- So glücklich war ich noch nie (2009) … Tanja
- Men in the City (Männerherzen) (2009) … Susanne Feldberg
- Die Stunde der Nutria (2009, TV) … Tania Bartko
- Die Toten vom Schwarzwald (2009, TV) … Inka
- Jungle Child (2011) … Doris Kuegler
- The Tower (2012, TV) … Josta Fischer
- Tannbach (2015)
- Anja Bölck. "Nadja Uhl". kultur-mv.de. Kulturportal MV. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- "Nadja Uhl". gala.de. G+J Medien. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
- Katja Hübner (November 24, 2008). "Schauspielerin Nadja Uhl: Die Frau mit dem extremen Etwas". Der Tagesspiegel.
- Louis Lewitan (February 23, 2017). "Nadja Uhl: Ich liebe meine Heimat, die DDR, trotz allem". 2017 (6). ZEITmagazin.
- "Nadja Uhl: Ihre zweite Tochter ist auf der Welt". BUNTE Entertainment. October 1, 2009.