10 Things You Never Knew About Vanessa Kirby
Since her BAFTA-winning breakthrough role as Princess Margaret in The Crown, Vanessa Kirby’s career has gone from strength to strength. Following blockbuster appearances in Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw and Mission: Impossible – Fallout, she's building awards season buzz for her performance in a rather different movie, Pieces of a Woman, which just arrived on Netflix.
Starring opposite Ellen Burstyn, Kirby gives a harrowing portrait of a young woman navigating unspeakable grief. To prepare you for this emotional rollercoaster, here are some things you might not know about the talented rising star.
1. She grew up in Wimbledon, an affluent suburb of southeast London that's home to the famous tennis tournament.
Her father, Professor Roger Kirby, is an eminent retired prostate surgeon who was recently appointed President of the Royal Society of Medicine. Her mother, Jane Kirby, is a former editor of Country Living magazine.
2. She now lives with her sister Juliet in nearby Tooting.
And it sounds as though the Kirby sisters are a little calmer than they used to be. “It used to be mad parties non-stop and the vibrations going through to the little old lady who lives next door – her house was constantly shaking at 4am," she told The Guardian .
3. Drama gave her a safe space when she was bullied at her junior high school.
"It was always the drama side of things where I felt the most alive. The most myself," she told The Guardian in 2018. "I was quite badly bullied for a few years and I became self-conscious about everything I did in relation to the bullies. But drama was the place where I didn’t."
Asked if she was bullied by other girls, Kirby replied: "Yeah it was… systematic. Quite awful. A teacher said to my mum on my very last day of school: ‘She survived it. She’s done it,’ which means they knew it was happening."
4. In fact, she believes that the bullying affected her health.
"I still haven’t got to the bottom of it, but I was massively affected, and I got this tropical [intestinal] disease, giardia, and had two years of treatment and hospitals. I think it was all linked, really," she told Marie Claire in 2018. "Now when I look back on it, I feel like those three years gave me a kind of empathy or emotional understanding."
5. Before she landed her first TV or movie role, she starred in a music video by British pop band McFly.
Kirby appeared in the emotional promo for the group's 2007 single “The Heart Never Lies,” which became a number three hit on the U.K. chart.
6. Her friends and family call her "Noo".
The cute nickname is an abbreviation of her middle name, Nuala. Kirby told The Scotsman in 2013 that she decided to use Vanessa as her stage name instead of Noola after her agent reminded her about British acting great Vanessa Redgrave.
7. She suffered a hilarious on-stage accident when starring in A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Gillian Anderson.
Recalling her West End and Broadway run in the play, Kirby describes the unfortunate moment in which she got stuck in a revolving stage while carrying Anderson's character's birthday cake. You can stream her full appearance on a recent episode of The Graham Norton Show.
8. A self-tanning disaster nearly cost Kirby her breakthrough role in The Crown.
Kirby shared the story during a 2018 appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers. She revealed that she had applied some self-tanner to her ankles for a birthday lunch, but it left her legs looking as though she was wearing a "fluorescent football sock."
"I walked into my screen test, and all four of the directors and Peter Morgan, the creator, just went straight to my ankles. Because I was wearing this skirt, and they were looking at them for about ten minutes," she recalled. "Eventually Peter said, 'Look, what has happened to your legs?' And it was a fast-developing, very strong, kind of industrial fake tan. Honestly, I think Peter looked at my ankles more than my face for the whole hour, and he said it nearly cost me the job."
9. She's described herself as a Princess Margaret "pervert" and keeps some memorabilia relating to the late Princess at her house.
"I’ve got a picture of her in my downstairs loo," she told Time Out in 2017. "People never ask me about it, I think they just do a wee and say, “Oooo-kay!” I also have a photo in my bedroom from the Royal Variety Show where Margaret lit up in public for the first time. She’s in this really low-cut top and looks amazing. It reminded me that Margaret and Elizabeth were brought up to be the opposites of each other. That’s what fed their tension."
10. She once got recognized in a slightly embarrassing predicament during a night out in Dalston, east London.
Kirby shared the hilarious story – complete with full-on facial expressions – during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show.
Are you looking forward to watching Vanessa Kirby in Pieces of a Woman?