Willa Holland

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Willa Holland
Willa Holland PaleyFest 2015 (cropped).jpg
Holland at the 2015 PaleyFest
Born Willa Joannachance Holland
(1991-06-18) June 18, 1991 (age 24)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Occupation Actress, voice actress, model,
Parent(s) Keith Holland (father)
Darnell Gregorio (mother)
Brian De Palma (stepfather; 1995–1997)

Willa Joannachance Holland[1] (born June 18, 1991)[1] is an American actress, voice actress and model. She is best known for her role as Kaitlin Cooper, Marissa Cooper's younger sister in the television series The O.C., Agnes Andrews in The CW series Gossip Girl and Thea Queen / Speedy in Arrow.

Early life[edit]

Holland was born in Los Angeles,[1] to cinematographer Keith Holland and actress Darnell Gregorio-De Palma. Her mother was remarried to director Brian De Palma from 1995–97.[2] She grew up with two sisters: Brianna Holland (b. 1988)[citation needed] and Piper De Palma (b. 1996).[citation needed] 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 played at her stepfather'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]

The following year, 1999, De Palma took Holland to a theatrical talent agency.[7] Since then she has appeared in many national commercials. During 2001 when Holland was ten, she worked alongside her cinematographer 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 played the role of Kaitlin Cooper on The O.C.;[7] initially as a recurring character in season 3, but then as a regular in season four.[9]

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 Taylor Momsen's character. In March 2010 Holland made a one-off return in the 16th episode of the third season, "The Empire Strikes Jack," which aired March 29, 2010.

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 in the apocalyptic thriller film Legion playing the role of a bratty teenager.[11] She played teen-temptress Janice Heddon in the film Straw Dogs, a remake of the 1971 film of the same name. The film opened in September 2011.

In February 2012, Holland was cast in The CW action-adventure series Arrow, which is based on the Green Arrow comic books, where she plays Thea Queen, the sister of Oliver Queen.[7][12][13]

In April 2012, the film Tiger Eyes was released where Holland starred as Davey Wexler.[7][14] The film was based on the 1981 novel of the same name written by Judy Blume.[7][14][15]


Year Title Role Notes
2001 Ordinary Madness Young Faye
2008 Garden Party April
2008 Middle of Nowhere Taylor Elizabeth Berry
2008 Genova Kelly
2010 Legion Audrey Anderson
2010 Chasing 3000 Jamie
2010 Humanity's Last Line of Defense Herself Documentary
2011 Straw Dogs Janice Hedden
2012 Tiger Eyes Davey Wexler
Year Title Role Notes
2005 Comeback, TheThe Comeback Kalla Episode: "Valerie Hangs with the Cool Kids"
2006–07 O.C., TheThe O.C. Kaitlin Cooper Recurring cast (season 3); main cast (season 4): 22 episodes
2008–12 Gossip Girl Agnes Andrews 5 episodes
2012–present Arrow Thea Queen/Speedy Main cast
Video games
Year Title Voice role
2006 Scarface: The World Is Yours Various
2010 Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Aqua
2012 Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Aqua
2014 Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix Aqua
Music videos
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
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 Nominated


  1. ^ a b c "Willa Joannachance Holland, Born June 18, 1991". Californiabirthindex.org. Archived from the original on November 1, 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-07. 
  2. ^ Watkins, Jade (February 21, 2013). "Check mate! Arrow star Willa Holland shows off her superhero figure as she bares her toned midriff in chic monochrome ensemble". Daily Mail (UK). Willa was born into a Hollywood family - her mother Darnell De Palma was an actress and father Keith Holland is a cinematographer. Her stepfather is Brian De Palma, famed director of films such as Scarface and Mission Impossible, and also introduced Willa to talent agencies at the age of seven 
  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 via Contactmusic.com. March 29, 2006. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-07. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Jessica Holland (February 25, 2013). "Willia Holland: Interview". Wonderland Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  8. ^ a b "Shooting Stars: How We Got That Picture". Teen Vogue. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-07. 
  9. ^ Kappes, Serena (January 19, 2006). "Introducing ... Willa Holland". People. Archived from the original on December 21, 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-07. 
  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 2015-02-07. 
  11. ^ Weintraub, Steve (December 14, 2009). "First 'Legion' Clip". Collider.com. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-07. 
  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 2015-02-07. 
  13. ^ "‘Arrow’ cast has some fun aboard the TV Guide Yacht". Cwtvsource.com. October 8, 2014. Retrieved 2015-02-14. 
  14. ^ a b Peter Travers (June 6, 2013). "Tiger Eyes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-02-13. 
  15. ^ "Meet Hollywood’s Next Big Things: Kat Graham, Willa Holland, Ashley Madekwe, and More". Glamour. June 2013. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-07. 

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