Vanessa Kirby

2 mins read

Vanessa Kirby was born 18 April 1988 and is an English actress.

Kirby was born in Wimbledon, London, to former Country Living magazine editor Jane and urologist Roger Kirby. She has two siblings, Joe and Juliet. Actors Vanessa Redgrave and Corin Redgrave were family friends. After being turned down by Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, she took a gap year to travel before studying English at the University of Exeter.

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. In 2011, she then went on to appear at the National Theatre as Isabella in Women Beware Women. She then starred as Rosalind in As You Like It by William Shakespeare at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds. In 2011, she was in the première of The Acid Test by Anya Reiss at the Royal Court Theatre. That same year, Kirby made her television debut in the BBC’s The Hour. She played Estella in the BBC’s mini-series adaptation of Great Expectations.

She went on to play Masha in the acclaimed stage production by Benedict Andrews of Three Sisters at the Young Vic in September 2012. She filmed The Rise in early 2012. The film premièred at the Toronto and London Film Festivals. In 2013, Kirby returned to the National Theatre to play Queen Isabella in Edward II opposite John Heffernan. 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. Kirby also appeared in Richard Curtis’s romantic comedy film About Time.

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. Kirby played Elena in Robert Icke’s production of Uncle Vanya at the Almeida Theatre in 2016. Throughout the late 2010’s Kirby appeared in several film such as John Boorman’s sequel to his Hope and Glory (1987) Queen and Country (2014), the Wachowskis’ Jupiter Ascending (2015), and Kill Command (2016). In 2018, Kirby played the title character in Polly Stenham’s Julie, an adaptation of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, at the National Theatre. Kirby has since starred in two action franchise films, Mission: Impossible 6 (2018) opposite Tom Cruise and Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw (2019) alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham.

In 2020, Kirby starred as Martha Weiss in Pieces of a Woman, a film portraying the degradation of a marriage and as Tallie in The World to Come, opposite Katherine Waterston.