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Willa Holland

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Willa Holland
Holland in 2017
Born (1991-06-18) June 18, 1991 (age 33)[1]
  • Actress
  • model
Years active1995–present
Parent(s)Brian De Palma (stepfather; 1995–1996)

Willa Joanna Chance Holland (born June 18, 1991) is an American actress and model. She is best known for her roles as Kaitlin Cooper in the Fox teen drama The O.C., Aqua in Kingdom Hearts, and Thea Queen in The CW series Arrow as well as its spin-off The Flash.

Early life[edit]

Holland grew up with two sisters: Brianna Holland and Piper De Palma, from mother Darnell Gregorio's then-marriage to film director Brian De Palma.[2] Holland attended Palisades Charter High School for only six weeks because her career was taking off and school peers were dismissive of her acting pursuits.[3]


At age seven,[4] Holland was playing at her stepfather Brian de Palma’s neighbor's house in The Hamptons, New York. The neighbor, Steven Spielberg, was filming home videos and told Holland's parents, "You've got to put her in front of a camera."[5][6][7] Upon returning to Los Angeles that September, Holland signed with Ford Modeling Agency at age seven,[7][8] and immediately booked a shoot for Burberry.[8] She has modeled for Guess, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Ralph Lauren.

In 1999, De Palma took Holland to a theatrical talent agency.[7] Since then, she has appeared in many national commercials. In 2001, when Holland was ten, she worked alongside her father in Ordinary Madness. She was even slated to co-star in the 2005 Fox series The Inside with fellow model Rachel Nichols, but left the show when writer Tim Minear was brought in to overhaul it. She initially played the role of Kaitlin Cooper on The O.C.,[7] replacing Shailene Woodley, as a recurring character in season 3, and then as a regular in season four.[9]

Holland at the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival

In December 2007, Holland was cast in the independent drama film Garden Party, playing the role of April, a troubled teenage aspiring model who tries to make it in Los Angeles. In September 2008, The CW announced Holland would appear in three episodes of the second season of the teen-drama television series Gossip Girl, created by The O.C. creator Josh Schwartz. Holland played the role of a rebellious 16-year-old model[7] who befriends and creates havoc for Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen). In March 2010, Holland made a one-off return in the 16th episode of the third season, "The Empire Strikes Jack".

In May 2010, Square Enix announced she would be voicing Aqua in the PlayStation Portable title, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep, which was released on September 7, 2010, in North America.[10] That same year, Holland starred in her first major studio film, the apocalyptic thriller film Legion, playing the role of a bratty teenager.[11] She played Janice Heddon in the film Straw Dogs (2011), a remake of the 1971 film of the same name.

In February 2012, Holland was cast in The CW action-adventure series Arrow, which is based on the Green Arrow comic books, where she played Thea Queen / Speedy, the sister of Oliver Queen / Green Arrow.[7][12][13] She remained a regular cast member in the series until leaving during the sixth season episode, "The Thanatos Guild".[14] Holland returned for a cameo during the season seven episode, "Emerald Archer".[15] She returned twice during the eight and final season, first in the episode "Leap of Faith", then in the series finale, "Fadeout".[16][17]

In the 2012 film Tiger Eyes, Holland played Davey Wexler.[7][18] The film was based on the 1981 novel of the same name written by Judy Blume.[7][18][19]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
2001 Ordinary Madness Young Faye
2008 Garden Party April
Genova Kelly
Middle of Nowhere Taylor Elizabeth Berry
2010 Chasing 3000 Jamie
Humanity's Last Line of Defense Herself Documentary
Legion Audrey Anderson
2011 Straw Dogs Janice Heddon
2012 Tiger Eyes Davey Wexler
2016 Blood in the Water Veronica
2023 The Dirty South Sue Parker
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2005 The Comeback Kalla Episode: "Valerie Hangs with the Cool Kids"
2006–2007 The O.C. Kaitlin Cooper Recurring role (season 3); main role (season 4)
2008–2012 Gossip Girl Agnes Andrews Recurring role; 5 episodes
2012–2020 Arrow Thea Queen Main role (seasons 1–6); special guest star (season 7); recurring role (season 8)[20]
2015–2016 The Flash Special guest star; 2 episodes
Video game roles
Year Title Voice role Notes
2010 Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Aqua
2012 Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance
2014 Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix New footage for Final Mix-exclusive Secret Episode and archived footage
2017 Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep – A Fragmentary Passage
2019 Kingdom Hearts III Also provided additional footage for the Re:Mind (2020) DLC
2020 Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory
Music video roles
Year Title Artist
2008 "Keep Me Up All Night" The Glitterati
2010 "Fearless Love" Melissa Etheridge
2011 "8050 (Too Fast, Too Slow)" White Arrows

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominated work Result Ref.
2006 Spike Video Game Award for Best Cast Scarface: The World Is Yours Nominated
2012 Boston International Film Festival Award for Best Actress Tiger Eyes Won [21]


  1. ^ "Willa Holland | Bio - caso, casado, marido, salário, patrimônio líquido, filmes e muito mais - Biografia".
  2. ^ Kappes, Serena (January 19, 2006). "Introducing... Willa Holland". People. Archived from the original on May 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Lewis, Casey (June 2013). "Willa Holland Tells Us All About Starring in the Judy Blume Flick 'Tiger Eyes': The Arrow actress is making a leap to the big screen". Teen Vogue. In all honesty, I only went to high school for about six weeks, partly because I got a job and also because I just didn't get along with high school too well. I got bullied, and just didn't have a good school experience throughout...At school no one believed I was an actress at first—that was the funny part. They just thought I was a total liar. I proved them all wrong, right?
  4. ^ Clarke, Cath (January 8, 2009). "First sight: Willa Holland". The Guardian. She was discovered by Steven Spielberg — in his garden no less...she was seven years old at the time, playing with his kids. Her stepdad is Brian de Palma.
  5. ^ DeBruge, Peter (October 2, 2008). "Willa Holland: Discovered by Spielberg". Variety. "I was playing over at Steven Spielberg's house' – next door to stepfather Brian De Palma's place in the Hamptons – 'and he was filming little wedding scenes and doing homevideos,' she says. When her parents came to pick her up, Spielberg insisted, 'You've got to put her in front of a camera.' De Palma was for it, too.
  6. ^ "Spielberg Gave The Oc's Holland Her Big Break". World Entertainment News Network. March 29, 2006. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2015 – via Contactmusic.com.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Jessica Holland (February 25, 2013). "Willa Holland: Interview". Wonderland Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  8. ^ a b "Shooting Stars: How We Got That Picture". Teen Vogue. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  9. ^ Kappes, Serena (January 19, 2006). "Introducing ... Willa Holland". People. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  10. ^ "Return to the Magical Realm of Kingdom Hearts on September 7, 2010" (Press release). Square Enix. May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on May 21, 2010. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  11. ^ Weintraub, Steve (December 14, 2009). "First 'Legion' Clip". Collider.com. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  12. ^ Gonzalez, Sandra (April 2, 2014). "'Arrow' preview: Willa Holland teases Thea's 'major turning point'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  13. ^ "'Arrow' cast has some fun aboard the TV Guide Yacht". Cwtvsource.com. October 8, 2014. Archived from the original on February 14, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
  14. ^ Abrams, Natalie (March 29, 2018). "'Arrow' boss on that shocking cast departure". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  15. ^ Drum, Nicole (February 4, 2019). "'Arrow': Every Character Who Returns in "Emerald Archer"". DC. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  16. ^ "Arrow - "Leap of Faith" - CW Atlanta". www.cbsnews.com. October 23, 2019. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  17. ^ Anderson, Jenna (January 28, 2020). "Arrow: Every Character Who Returns in Series Finale". DC. Retrieved July 13, 2023.
  18. ^ a b Peter Travers (June 6, 2013). "Tiger Eyes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  19. ^ "Meet Hollywood's Next Big Things: Kat Graham, Willa Holland, Ashley Madekwe, and More". Glamour. June 2013. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2015.
  20. ^ Mitovich, Matt Webb (September 18, 2019). "Arrow Favorite Willa Holland to Return and Recur During Final Season". TVLine. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  21. ^ "Boston International Film Festival Announces 2012 Winners". bostoniff.org. April 22, 2012. Retrieved April 25, 2016.

External links[edit]