Childhood & Early Life
Vanessa Kirby was born on April 18, 1988 in Wimbledon, London. Her father is the popular urologist Roger Kirby and her mother is a former magazine editor.
She studied at Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton and decided to pursue theatre at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. However, she was turned down. Vanessa decided to take a gap year before finally resuming her studies in English at the University of Exeter.
In 2009, she was offered a seat at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, but she turned it down after she was offered a series of roles by David Thacker at the Octagon Theatre Bolton. This launched her career as an actress on the stage.
Under Thacker, she was seen in ‘All My Sons’, ‘Ghosts’, and ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ These early performances impressed many critics, and she earned many favorable reviews. She also won the BIZA Rising Star Award for her role as Ann Deever in ‘All My Sons.’
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With the trio of plays at Octagon Theatre, Vanessa Kirby’s stage career was cemented. In 2010, she appeared in ‘As You Like It’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. She also made her film debut in the same year with an appearance in ‘Love/Loss’.
In 2011, she was seen in the popular plays ‘The Acid Test’ and ‘Women Beware Women.’ The year also marked her TV debut with the series ‘The Hour’ as Ruth Elms. She later starred as Estella in the BBC Dickens adaptation of ‘Great Expectations.’
Kirby’s career started flourishing as she focused more on film, TV, and theatre. In 2012, she appeared in the Chekov production of ‘Three Sisters’ at the Young Vic. Next, she played the role of Nicola in the comedy ‘Wasteland’ and later appeared as Alice Tanner in adventure drama ‘Labyrinth.’
At the Royal National Theatre in 2013, Vanessa Kirby played the role of Isabella of France in Marlowe’s ‘Edward II.’ She also appeared in the popular films ‘Charlie Countryman’ and ‘About Time.’ Kirby was later seen in the role of Celia Ravenscroft in the TV series ‘Agatha Christie's Poirot.’
In 2014, she played the role of Stella Kowalski in the adaptation of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ at the Young Vic. This was a huge hit. Later in the year, she appeared in the shorts ‘Insomniacs’, ‘Off the Page: Devil in the Details’, and ‘The Exchange.’ She was also seen in the drama ‘Queen & Country’.
In 2015, she landed several major and supporting roles. She was first seen in the role of Katharine Dunlevy in the sci-fi adventure ‘Jupiter Ascending’ and later as Sophie in ‘Bone in the Throat.’ She followed this up with roles in ‘Everest’ and ‘The Dresser.’
Toward the end of 2015, she was cast in the role of Lady Jemima Hervey in the Barry Langford and Benjamin Ross series ‘The Frankenstein Chronicles’. She was seen in seven episodes from 2015 to 2017. Her role was noticed and applauded by many critics.
2016 proved to be a turning point for Vanessa as she featured in several hits and earned her biggest career role. She started off by playing Zelda Fitzgerald in the biography drama ‘Genius’, Mills in the action horror ‘Kill Command’, and Alicia in the romantic comedy ‘Me Before You.’
Kirby also returned to the stage in 2016 with two major roles. She reprised the role of Stella in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire at St. Ann’s Warehouse, amidst much fanfare. She later played Helena Serebryakova in Chekov’s ‘Uncle Vanya’ at Almeida Theatre.
Kirby was cast as Princess Margaret in the history series, ‘The Crown’, in 2016. She shared screen space with the likes of Claire Foy, Matt Smith, and Olivia Colman in this highly acclaimed Netflix series. Kirby’s performance was hailed by many critics.
She played the role of Princess Margaret across two seasons in 17 episodes from 2016 to 2017. She became a popular figure after appearing in ‘The Crown.’ Her role fetched her several nominations, including an Emmy, and she even won a BAFTA award.
In 2018, she appeared in the popular movie ‘Mission: Impossible - Fallout’ as the White Widow. She returned to stage with a play at the Royal National Theatre with the titular role in Polly Stenham’s ‘Julie.’ However, it was received poorly and panned by the media.
In 2019, she was seen in the David Leitch movie ‘Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw’, where she played the role of Hattie. The movie was a hit at the box office. Later in the year, she reprised the character of Ada Brooks in the drama thriller ‘Mr. Jones’, which was a critical hit.
Vanessa Kirby’s career has soared in the last couple of years. She is currently filming for the drama ‘The World to Come’, which is directed by Mona Fastvold. Kirby is slated to play the lead in the movie. It is scheduled for release in the coming year.