Vanessa Kirby

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Vanessa Kirby
Vanessa Kirby MTV.jpg
Kirby in 2018
Vanessa Kirby

(1988-04-18) 18 April 1988 (age 32)
London, England
EducationUniversity of Exeter
Years active2010–present

Vanessa Kirby (born 18 April 1988) is an English actress. For her role as Princess Margaret in the Netflix historical drama series The Crown (2016–2017), she won the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress and earned a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She has also starred in several stage productions, winning three Ian Charleson Awards, with Matt Trueman of Variety describing her as "the outstanding stage actress of her generation, capable of the most unexpected choices."[1]

She gained wider recognition for her roles in the action films Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) and Hobbs & Shaw (2019), and won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her performance in the drama Pieces of a Woman (2020).[2]

Early life[edit]

Kirby was born in Wimbledon, London, on 18 April 1988,[3][4][5] the daughter of former Country Living magazine editor Jane and urologist Roger Kirby. She has two siblings, Joe and Juliet.[6] Actors Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave were family friends.[7] After being turned down by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, she took a gap year to travel[8] before studying English at the University of Exeter.[9]



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:[10] 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.

She 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 Potter's Harry Melling.[11] 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".[12]

In 2013, Kirby returned to the National Theatre to play Queen Isabella in Edward II opposite John Heffernan.[13] 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.[14] She won Best Supporting Actress category at the Whatsonstage Awards 2014, which is voted for by the public.

Kirby 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."[15]

In 2018, Kirby played the title character in Polly Stenham's Julie, an adaptation of August Strindberg's Miss Julie, at the National Theatre.

Television and film[edit]

In 2011, Kirby made her television debut in the BBC's The Hour,[16] alongside Ben Whishaw, Dominic West, and Romola Garai. She played Estella in the BBC's mini-series adaptation of Great Expectations alongside Ray Winstone, Gillian Anderson, and Douglas Booth.

Kirby then starred in Richard Curtis's film About Time as Rachel McAdams's best friend Joanna.[17]

She went on to play Masha in the acclaimed 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".[18][19]

She filmed The Rise in early 2012 alongside Matthew Lewis and Timothy Spall. The film premièred at the Toronto and London Film Festivals to favorable reviews, and won the Best Debut Category for director Rowan Athale.

Other film roles include Kill Command, opposite Thure Lindhardt, the Wachowskis' Jupiter Ascending, with Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, and Queen and Country, John Boorman's sequel to his Hope and Glory (1987).

In 2015, she 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. In 2020, Kirby won the Best Actress Award at the 2020 Venice Film Festival for Kornél Mundruzcó's English debut Pieces of a Woman, a film portraying the degradation of a marriage.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Kirby was in a long-term relationship with actor Callum Turner, with whom she co-starred in Queen & Country.[4][21] The relationship ended in February 2020.[22]



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 Carson
2020 The World to Come Tally
2021 Mission: Impossible 7 Alanna Mitsopolis / White Widow Filming
2022 Mission: Impossible 8 Alanna Mitsopolis/ White Widow Filming


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
2016–2017 The Crown Princess Margaret 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 Ian Charleson Awards Third Prize A Midsummer Night's Dream Won
Ian Charleson Awards As You Like It Won
Ian Charleson Awards Women Beware Women Won
2012 Ian Charleson Awards 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 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


  1. ^ 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. ^ "Everyone Is Pointing Out The Same Age Problem With 'Hobbs And Shaw'". Uproxx.
  4. ^ a b "Vanessa Kirby: 'I was bullied at school and became self-conscious about everything I did'". The Guardian. 22 July 2018. Retrieved 9 April 2020.
  5. ^ Black, Claire (23 March 2013). "Interview: Vanessa Kirby, Labyrinth star". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 10 April 2020.
  6. ^ Nicol, Patricia (14 January 2016). "Vanessa Kirby: meet south-west London's hottest export". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Interview: Vanessa Kirby". 30 August 2012.
  8. ^ "Vanessa Kirby: Whirlwind year brings rising star Vanessa to leading role".
  9. ^ "Hurtwood House Performing Arts". Archived from the original on 21 February 2010. Retrieved 27 September 2010.
  10. ^ "Octagon Theatre Bolton". Archived from the original on 19 September 2012.
  11. ^ "National Theatre".
  12. ^ "The Acid Test, Royal Court: Theatre Upstairs, London". 26 May 2011.
  13. ^ "Interview: Vanessa Kirby, Labyrinth star".
  14. ^ Desk, BWW News. "Vanessa Kirby and Ben Foster Join Gillian Anderson in A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE at the Young Vic This Summer".
  15. ^ Trueman, Matt (17 February 2016). "London Theater Review: 'Uncle Vanya' at the Almeida Theatre". Variety. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Series 1, The Hour - BBC Two".
  17. ^ "Rachel McAdams to Star in Working Title's 'About Time' (Exclusive)".
  18. ^ "Review: Three Sisters, Young Vic - Matt Trueman".
  19. ^ "Accounts".
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (15 May 2015). "Vanessa Kirby To Play Princess Margaret In Netflix's 'The Crown'".
  21. ^ Rose, Hilary. "Callum Turner, your TV heart-throb for the autumn". The Times.
  22. ^ "The Crown actress Vanessa Kirby splits from The Capture star Callum Turner". The Mirror. 16 February 2020.

External links[edit]