Vanessa Kirby

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Vanessa Kirby
Vanessa Kirby 2018.jpg
Kirby in 2018
Born (1988-04-18) 18 April 1988 (age 33)
Wimbledon, London, England
EducationUniversity of Exeter (BA)
Years active2010–present
RelativesJoe Kirby (brother)

Vanessa Kirby (born 18 April 1988) is an English actress. She is the recipient of several accolades, which include a British Academy Television Award, a Volpi Cup Award, in addition to nominations for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Primetime Emmy Award and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Born in Wimbledon, London to eminent urologist Roger Kirby and his wife, Kirby studied English Literature at the University of Exeter. Following her graduation, she made her professional acting debut on stage with a production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons (2010), and followed this with acclaimed performances in the plays; A Midsummer Night's Dream (2010), As You Like It (2010), Women Beware Women (2011), Three Sisters (2012), and as Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (2014), winning the Ian Charleson Awards for these performances with Variety describing her as "the outstanding stage actress of her generation, capable of the most unexpected choices."[1]

Kirby made her film debut with a minor role in the crime drama The Rise (2012), and rose to international prominence with her portrayal of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, in the Netflix drama series The Crown (2016–2017), for which she won the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress and received a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She garnered wider recognition with her roles in the action films Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018), and Hobbs & Shaw (2019). Her other prominent film roles include About Time (2013), The World to Come (2020), and her performance as a grief-stricken young woman in Pieces of a Woman (2020) for which Kirby received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Vanessa Kirby was born on 18 April 1988 in Wimbledon, London,[4][5][6] to former Country Living magazine editor Jane and urologist Roger Kirby. She has two siblings, Joe and Juliet.[7] Actors Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave were family friends.[8] After attending Lady Eleanor Holles School and being turned down by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, she took a gap year to travel[9] before studying English at the University of Exeter.[10]


2009–2014: Early work and theatrical productions[edit]

Kirby turned down her place at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after she was signed to a talent agency and met the theatre director David Thacker, who gave her three starring roles over 2009 at the Octagon Theatre Bolton:[11] in All My Sons by Arthur Miller, Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, and A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare. For All My Sons she won the BIZA Rising Star Award at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards, worth £5,000.

In 2011, Kirby then went on to appear at the National Theatre as Isabella in Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton, directed by Marianne Elliott, alongside Harriet Walter and Harry Melling.[12] She then starred as Rosalind in As You Like It by William Shakespeare at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds; Alfred Hickling of The Guardian described her as a "significant new talent". In 2011, she was in the première of The Acid Test by Anya Reiss at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Simon Godwin, earning praise for her performance from Paul Taylor of The Independent, who described her as "a star if ever I saw one".[13] That same year, Kirby made her television debut in the BBC's The Hour.[14] She played Estella in the BBC's mini-series adaptation of Great Expectations.

Kirby went on to play Masha in the acclaimed stage production by Benedict Andrews of Three Sisters at the Young Vic in September 2012, earning exceptionally good reviews, with Matt Trueman of Time Out stating: "In a super cast given licence to shine, Kirby stands out as Masha".[15][16] She filmed The Rise in early 2012. The film premièred at the Toronto and London Film Festivals to favorable reviews, and won the Best Debut Category for director Rowan Athale.

In 2013, Kirby returned to the National Theatre to play Queen Isabella in Edward II opposite John Heffernan.[17] In the summer of 2014, she played Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, again collaborating with Benedict Andrews at the Young Vic, alongside Gillian Anderson as Blanche and Ben Foster as Stanley.[18] She won Best Supporting Actress category at the Whatsonstage Awards 2014, which is voted for by the public. Kirby also appeared in Richard Curtis's romantic comedy film About Time.[19]

2015–present: Screen roles and international recognition[edit]

Kirby at the London premiere of Mission: Impossible – Fallout

In 2015, Kirby appeared in Everest as American socialite Sandy Hill Pittman, The Dresser, and in May of that year, was cast as Princess Margaret in Netflix's first original British series The Crown. Her selection came after a six-month search.[20] For this role, she was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2017, and won the award for season two in 2018. She played Elena in Robert Icke's production of Uncle Vanya at the Almeida Theatre in 2016, for which she won rave reviews, with Matt Trueman of Variety writing: "Kirby is a superlative Elena: lithe, fickle, hypocritical, shallow and yet always sympathetic. It's a performance that confirms her as the outstanding stage actress of her generation, capable of the most unexpected choices."[1] Throughout the late 2010s, Kirby appeared in several film such as John Boorman's sequel to his Hope and Glory (1987), Queen and Country (2014), the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending (2015), and Kill Command (2016).

In 2018, Kirby played the title character in Polly Stenham's Julie, an adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie, at the National Theatre. Kirby has since starred in two action franchise films, Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) opposite Tom Cruise and Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

In 2020, Kirby portrayed a grief-stricken woman in Kornél Mundruzcó's English debut Pieces of a Woman, a film portraying the degradation of a marriage.[21] The film received generally positive reviews, with Kirby garnering universal critical acclaim. Peter Debruge wrote for Variety that "[...] this is ultimately Kirby's movie, as the stage marvel [...] delivers her most impressive screen performance to date."[22] Rolling Stone called her performance "transcendent"[23] and she won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 2020 Venice Film Festival, where the film premiered. She went on to receive nominations for the Academy, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress.

Kirby is set to reprise her dual role of Alanna Mitsopolis and White Widow in Mission: Impossible 7 (2022) and Mission: Impossible 8 (2023).[24]

Personal life[edit]

From 2015 to 2019, Kirby was in a relationship with actor Callum Turner, with whom she co-starred in Queen & Country.[25]

Kirby co-founded the London-based production company Aluna Entertainment[26] which has a first look deal with Netflix.[27]



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Love/Loss Jane
2012 The Rise Nicola
2012 Nora Young woman Short film
2013 Charlie Countryman Felicity
2013 About Time Joanna
2014 The Exchange Woman Short film
2014 Insomniacs Jade Short film
2014 Queen & Country Dawn Rohan
2014 National Theatre Live: A Streetcar Named Desire Stella Kowalski
2014 Off the Page: Devil in the Details Jessica Short film
2015 Jupiter Ascending Katharine Dunlevy
2015 Bone in the Throat Sophie
2015 Everest Sandy Hill
2016 Genius Zelda Fitzgerald
2016 Kill Command Katherine Mills
2016 Me Before You Alicia Dewares
2018 Mission: Impossible – Fallout Alanna Mitsopolis / White Widow
2019 Mr Jones Ada Brooks
2019 Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw Hattie Shaw
2020 Pieces of a Woman Martha Weiss
2020 The World to Come Tallie [28]
2021 Italian Studies Alina Reynolds [29]
2022 Mission: Impossible 7 Alanna Mitsopolis / White Widow Post-production [30]
TBA The Son Emma Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2011 The Hour Ruth Elms 3 episodes
2011 Great Expectations Estella Havisham Miniseries; 3 episodes
2012 Labyrinth Alice Tanner Miniseries; 2 episodes
2013 Agatha Christie's Poirot Celia Ravenscroft Episode: "Elephants Can Remember"
2015 The Dresser Irene Television film
2015 The Frankenstein Chronicles Lady Jemima Hervey Main role; 7 episodes
2016–17 The Crown Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon Main role; 17 episodes


Year Title Playwright Role Venue
2010 All My Sons Arthur Miller Ann Deever Octagon Theatre
2010 Ghosts Henrik Ibsen Regina Engstrand Octagon Theatre
2010 A Midsummer Night's Dream William Shakespeare Helena Octagon Theatre
2010 As You Like It William Shakespeare Rosalind West Yorkshire Playhouse
2011 Women Beware Women Thomas Middleton Isabella Royal National Theatre
2011 The Acid Test Anya Reiss Dana Royal Court Theatre
2012 Three Sisters Anton Chekhov Maria "Masha" Kulygina Young Vic
2013 Edward II Christopher Marlowe Isabella of France Royal National Theatre
2014 A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams Stella Kowalski Young Vic
2016 Uncle Vanya Anton Chekhov Helena Serebryakova Almeida Theatre
2016 A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams Stella Kowalski St. Ann's Warehouse
2018 Julie Polly Stenham Julie Royal National Theatre

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Artist Role
2007 "The Heart Never Lies" McFly Female lead

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
2010 Ian Charleson Awards Special Commendation Ghosts Nominated
2011 Third Prize A Midsummer Night's Dream Won
As You Like It Won
Women Beware Women Won
2012 Special Commendation Three Sisters Nominated
2015 WhatsOnStage Awards Best Supporting Actress in a Play A Streetcar Named Desire Won
2017 BAFTA TV Awards Best Supporting Actress The Crown Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
Glamour Awards UK TV Actress Won
2018 BAFTA TV Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Nominated
2020 Venice Film Festival Volpi Cup for Best Actress Pieces of a Woman Won
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Actress Nominated
Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress Nominated
London Film Critics Circle Awards Actress of the Year Nominated
British/Irish Actress of the Year Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards Best Leading Actress Nominated
St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
New Mexico Film Critics Best Actress Won
Academy Awards Best Actress Nominated
BAFTA Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Critics' Choice Awards Best Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuosos Award Herself Won


  1. ^ a b Trueman, Matt (17 February 2016). "London Theater Review: 'Uncle Vanya' at the Almeida Theatre". Variety. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  2. ^ "Venice Film Festival 2020 Winners: "Nomadland" Takes Golden Lion, Vanessa Kirby Is Best Actress". IndieWire. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Oscar Nominations 2021".
  4. ^ "Everyone Is Pointing Out The Same Age Problem With 'Hobbs And Shaw'". Uproxx.
  5. ^ "Vanessa Kirby: 'I was bullied at school and became self-conscious about everything I did'". The Guardian. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  6. ^ Black, Claire (23 March 2013). "Interview: Vanessa Kirby, Labyrinth star". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020.
  7. ^ Nicol, Patricia (14 January 2016). "Vanessa Kirby: meet south-west London's hottest export". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  8. ^ "Interview: Vanessa Kirby". 30 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Vanessa Kirby: Whirlwind year brings rising star Vanessa to leading role".
  10. ^ "Hurtwood House Performing Arts". Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Octagon Theatre Bolton". Archived from the original on 19 September 2012.
  12. ^ "National Theatre | London, UK".
  13. ^ "The Acid Test, Royal Court: Theatre Upstairs, London". 26 May 2011.
  14. ^ "Series 1, The Hour - BBC Two".
  15. ^ "Review: Three Sisters, Young Vic | Matt Trueman".
  16. ^ "Accounts".
  17. ^ "Interview: Vanessa Kirby, Labyrinth star".
  18. ^ BWW News Desk. "Vanessa Kirby and Ben Foster Join Gillian Anderson in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Young Vic This Summer".
  19. ^ "Rachel McAdams to Star in Working Title's 'About Time' (Exclusive)".
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (15 May 2015). "Vanessa Kirby To Play Princess Margaret In Netflix's 'The Crown'".
  21. ^ "With Best-Actress Win at Venice Film Festival, Vanessa Kirby Leaps to the Front of This Year's Oscar Race". Vogue. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
  22. ^ Debruge, Peter (5 September 2020). "'Pieces of a Woman' Review: Vanessa Kirby Delivers the Performance of Her Career Opposite Shia LaBeouf". Variety. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  23. ^ Fear, David (8 January 2021). "'Pieces of a Woman' Review: A Grief History of Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  24. ^ "Vanessa Kirby Returning For Mission: Impossible 7". ScreenRant. 7 February 2020. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  25. ^ "The Crown actress Vanessa Kirby splits from The Capture star Callum Turner". The Mirror. 16 February 2020.
  26. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (31 August 2021). "Netflix Inks Multi-Year First Look Deal With Vanessa Kirby's New Production Company Aluna Entertainment". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  27. ^ Ritman, Alex (31 August 2021). "Vanessa Kirby Strikes First-Look Deal With Netflix for Female-Focused Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  28. ^ Lawson, Richard. "Vanessa Kirby Sparks a Forbidden Romance in 'The World to Come'". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  29. ^ Ehrlich, David (13 June 2021). "'Italian Studies' Review: Vanessa Kirby Forgets Herself in a Dreamy Portrait of Pre-Pandemic New York". IndieWire. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  30. ^ "Vanessa Kirby's 'Mission: Impossible 7' Return Teased in New Chris McQuarrie Set Photo". Collider. 15 March 2021. Retrieved 16 June 2021.

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