Who is Jessica Henwick?
Jessica Henwick is an English actress who is best known for her roles as Nymeria Sand in the HBO series Game of Thrones (2011), and also Colleen Wing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, making her debut in the Netflix television series Iron Fist last year.
Jessica Yu Li Henwick (born 30 August 1992), was the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series, having starred in the children’s show Spirit Warriors. She is also known for her roles in X-wing pilot Jessika Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and also The Defenders.
Henwick was born and raised in Surrey, the daughter of a Singaporean Chinese mother and a Zambian-English father, Mark Henwick, author of the Bite Back series of novels. She trained at Redroofs Theatre School and the National Youth Theatre and learned everything hollywood or American culture needs on acting. Since her childhood she was obsessed with acting in different roles and the day came by 2009 when she prepared herself for Spirit Warriors. Two of her recent works Game of Thrones (The story of GOT: Nine noble families fight for control over the mythical lands of Westeros, while an ancient enemy returns after being dormant for thousands of years).
In a snapshot:
- 1992 -Born in Surrey, England
- 2009- Debut in a series named Spirit Warriors
- 2013- Stage performance on Running on the Cracks
In June 2009, it was announced by the director and producer that Henwick had been cast in the lead role of Bo for the BBC show Spirit Warriors, making her the very first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series for the first time. For the role, Henwick trained in wushu with martial arts choreographer Jude Poyer for making all scenes perfect. The show was nominated for several awards for its amazing making, including the Broadcast Awards 2011.
Henwick made her professional theatre debut in the international premiere of Running on the Cracks in the early 2013, based on the book by Julia Donaldson. Allan Radcliffe of The Times praised her “excellent” and “understated” performance, while the Guardian wrote, “with tremendous physical presence, Henwick captures the sense of adolescent righteousness, passion and confusion of a girl trying to create order in an unfair universe.” Theatre critic Joyce McMillan also wrote that Henwick was “outstanding as Leo”.
In the end of that year she was cast as Jane Jeong Trenka in the drama Obsession: Dark Desires, which aired January 2014. The adaptation details Trenka’s stalking in Minnesota, 1991, which she details in her book The Language of Blood. Henwick also joined the cast of Silk as new barrister pupil Amy. The series brought in an average of 5 million viewers per episode while other series at the same time was crying. She reprised her role for the spin-off radio series Silk: The Clerks’ Room and later that year went on to play a young Oxford University student in Inspector Lewis.
In 2015 Henwick joined the cast of the HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 5 once again as Nymeria Sand, with Oscar-nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers playing her sisters. The process included six months of training to use a traditional bullwhip. She continued performing the role until Season 7.
Henwick also played the X-wing pilot Jess Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The character’s full name is established as Jessika “Testor” Pava in the spin-off novel The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure, which establishes her as an admirer of Luke Skywalker. Despite her limited screen time, the character of Pava has become a fan favorite. Since the release of the film, Pava has appeared as a supporting character in the comic book series Star Wars: Poe Dameron.
Her screen appearances:
- 2009-2010- Spirit Warriors as Bo, where she acted for 10 episodes
- 2012- The Thick of it as Charlotte, where she acted for 1 episode
- 2014- Balsa Wood as Scotty, where she acted for a short film
- 2014- Obsession:Dark Desires as Jane, where she acted for 1 episode
- 2014- Silk as Amy, where she acted for 5 episodes
- 2014- Lewis as Chloe where she acted for 2 episodes
- 2015- Dragonfly as Paula Reid where she acted for a film
- 2015- The Heart of the Forest as Akira where she acted for a short film
- 2016- Dreamfall Chapters: The longest journey as Enu where she acted for a video game
- 2015-17- Game of Thrones as Sand where she acted for 8 episodes
- 2015- Star Wars: The Force Awakens as Pava where she acted for a film
- 2016- The Headhunter as Aiko Koo where she acted for a film
- 2017- Fortitude as Bianca where she acted for 1 episode
- 2017- Rice on white as Elena where she acted for a film
- 2017-Present- Iron Fist as Wing where she acted for 13 episodes
- 2017- Newness as Joanne where she acted for a film
- 2017- The Defenders as Wing where she acted for 6 episodes
- 2018- Yo! My Saint as Muse where she acted for a short film
- 2018- Baliko as Mara where she acted for a short film
- 2018- Luke Cage as Wing where she acted for 2 episodes
- 2018- Underwater as Emily.
Trivia about Jessica
- Attended Redroofs Theatre School to learn acting. Previous students include Kate Winslet and Dani Harmer from same institution.
- She is a member of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain. Previous members of this institution include Daniel Day-Lewis, Dame Helen Mirren, Ed Westwick and Orlando Bloom.
- She love to play piano competitively as a child.
- Her role on the children’s series Spirit Warriors by 2009 to 2010, made her the first ever East Asian actress to play the lead role in a British television series.
- Her father is Mark Henwick, an author of the Bite Back series of novels.
Controversy on Iron Fist with Jessica
“It was a hard decision to make to join the show. Not because of the material or anything,” Henwick tells Shirley Li during an appearance on Entertainment Weekly: The Show. “But I’m part of the Asian community. I’m Asian. I’m an actor. If anyone understands the conversation, it’s me. I’ve lived and breathed it.”
She was looking so confident, however, that the era of seeing an Asian lead superhero was there already. “I would love to see an Asian American superhero. And I think it’s going to happen,” Henwick continues. “There’s something about fantasy and sci-fi that seems more welcoming of different ethnicities. It means that I’ve been presented with a lot of really cool opportunities.”
Ultimately, it was the character that drew the actress to the material, potential controversy aside. She also mentioned, “When I came on to Iron Fist, it was really Colleen Wing that sold it for me. I thought it was a good opportunity to see a really strong female Asian American.”
A really strong female is definitely what we get with Henwick’s katana-wielding Colleen. Having undergone an intense regime that included “aggression training,” Henwick says Colleen might actually be a stronger character than any actual superheroes on the show. “She’s not a superhero; she’s just an ordinary person who has the guts to fight people with superpowers. Which I think is amazing!”
Returning to Game of Thrones season 7
Jessica Henwick — who recently appeared in Iron Fist and will star in The Defenders later this year — confirmed her return to the Game of Thrones. However, coming back wasn’t simple for her.
“I wasn’t able to do it [at first],” she told the publication. “My schedule clashed. I was filming Iron Fist for six-to-seven months and they wouldn’t give me the time off.
“[Game of Thrones] was so massive for me in terms of my career and building my profile and as an experience in itself, I wanted to return. [A GoT producer explained] ‘it’s really important that you come back otherwise your character will just disappear.’
“So I spoke to Marvel and I managed to get a release. I literally was flying back and forth while I was doing Iron Fist in New York to Belfast, even during Christmas break.”
Lessons for her life
It’s not about Asian or any outside US person, it’s all about your quality which will make you the one to be chosen by many. Don’t forget to make yourself up in hard working, skills and mostly the personality. You will succeed with your ability to maintain and grow any piece of needs you ever dreamt of. Don’t forget to share and give us your thoughts.. Please!
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