Summer Bishil is an American actress who is best known for her portrayal of Margo Hanson in the Syfy fantasy drama series 'The Magicians' (2015-present). She had previously gained recognition for playing the role of a 13-year-old Lebanese-American girl, Jasira Maroun, who undergoes tumultuous personal experiences in the backdrop the U.S. invasion of Iraq during the Gulf War in the Alan Ball film 'Towelhead'. She was subsequently selected as one of 'Variety's '10 Actors to Watch' in 2007. She played another powerful character, Taslima Jahangir, in the 2009 crime drama film 'Crossing Over', for which she was nominated for the 'Independent Spirit Award' in the 'Best Female Lead' category. She has also acted in films like 'Mooz-lum', 'The Last Airbender', 'Pop Star' and 'Under the Silver Lake', and has played several guest roles on television, apart from playing the co-lead in 'Lucky 7'.
Summer Bishil wanted to be an actress ever since she saw Kevin Kline in 'Sophie's Choice' at the age of four or five. She watched lots of movies growing up in Saudi Arabia, even watching films that were not suitable for her age, such as 'Pretty Woman' and 'Edward Scissorhands'. She took her first acting class at the age of 14, soon after coming to Los Angeles. She drove with her mother to the studios for auditions for nearly nine months before signing her first contract for a role on the short-lived Nickelodeon show 'Just for Kicks' in 2006. It was followed by appearances in several other shows, including Disney's 'Hannah Montana', Nickelodeon's 'Drake and Josh', the NBC daytime soap 'Days of Our Lives', and the Disney Channel Original Movie, 'Return to Halloweentown'. However, it was her lead role of Jasira Maroun in Alan Ball's 2007 film, 'Towelhead', an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Alicia Erian, which first earned her widespread critical acclaim. While the film received overall mixed reviews from critics, she was lauded as "one of the finest natural film actresses" for her "gutsy, quietly riveting performance".
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Despite her initial critical success, Summer Bishil received little work in the following years and was repeatedly declined for roles. During this time, she worked on a loosely autobiographical script called 'Pilgrim' that was about a young Saudi Arabian woman who moves to US in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Fond of writing, she even considered a career in journalism if her acting ambitions fell through.
She risked the possibility of being typecast with her second film role of Taslima Jahangir, an illegal Bangladeshi immigrant who draws the attention of the US authorities after writing an essay sympathizing with the 9/11 hijackers, in Wayne Kramer's 'Crossing Over'. She again received praise for her performance, and was cast as Azula in the 2010 film 'The Last Airbender' by M. Night Shyamalan. Following a recurring role in the TV series '90210' in 2011, she appeared in the drama film 'Pop Star' and bagged one of the lead roles in the ABC series 'Lucky 7' in 2013.The following year, she was cast as Margo Hanson in Syfy's drama series 'The Magicians', which has been running successfully for five seasons.
Family & Personal Life
Summer Yasmine Bishil was born on July 17, 1988, in Pasadena, California, the United States. Her mother is an American citizen of Mexican and Caucasian descent, while her father is a Saudi Arabian citizen of East Indian descent. She has German, English, and distant Dutch ancestry through her maternal grandfather. She is the youngest of three children and has a sister, Sunshine, and a brother, Skylar.
In 1991, when she was only three years old, her family moved to Saudi Arabia, and then settled in the Kingdom of Bahrain two years later. While in Bahrain, she attended the U.S. Department of Defense School. She only spoke English while oversees and didn't know about her East Indian heritage until her teenage years.
Soon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred, she moved back to the United States with her family at the age of 14, following which they briefly resided in a Mormon community in San Diego. She began attending a regular public high school but was forced to stop within a week as she was subjected to severe verbal bullying because of her father's lineage. She went through panic attacks for nearly a year and was homeschooled by her mother after the family moved to Arcadia. It was her passion for acting that eventually helped her in assimilating into the American society. She later took classes at Citrus College in Glendora, California.
In March 2016, she received media attention after posting, and then quickly deleting, a picture with a mystery man captioned "Me and the boo". In December that year, it was rumored that she had married David Murphy, even though there has not been any official announcement.