Jessica Henwick is an English actress. She 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 in 2010. She is also best known for Portraying the role of Nymeria Sand in the fantasy drama series Game of Thrones. Her other roles such as X-wing pilot Jessika Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and playing Colleen Wing from the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Netflix shows like Iron Fist and The Defenders.
Born Name Jessica Yu Li Henwick
Years active 2010–present
Born: August 30, 1992, 25 years and 9 months, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Sun Sign Virgo
Hair Color Black
Eye Color Light Brown
Height 5 ft 6½ in or 169 cm
Measurements 34-25-36 in or 86-63.5-91.5 cm
Bra size 34A
Distinctive Features A small black mole on her right cheek above her lips.
Jessica attended the Redroofs Theatre School whose alumni includes Kate Winslet. She was also a member of the National Youth Theatre in Great Britain.
Father – Mark Henwick (Author of the Bite Back novel series)
Mother – Pearlyn Goh Kun Shan (Worked in retail)
Siblings – She has 2 brothers and is the middle child.
Jessica is managed by the London-based Julian Belfrage Associates.
She has Singaporean and Chinese ancestry on her mother’s side and is of Zambian and English descent on her father’s side.
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.
In June 2009, it was announced that Henwick had been cast in the lead role of Bo for the BBC show Spirit Warriors, making her the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series. For the role, Henwick trained in wushu with martial arts choreographer Jude Poyer. The show was nominated for several awards, including the Broadcast Awards 2011.
In early 2013, Henwick made her professional theatre debut in the international premiere of Running on the Cracks, 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 wrote that Henwick was “outstanding as Leo”.
Later 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. 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 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 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.
In 2017, Henwick appeared in the second season of drama series Fortitude, as well as Colleen Wing in the Netflix television series Iron Fist. Although critical reception of Iron Fist was generally negative, Henwick’s performance in the series was well received. She reprises the role for the series The Defenders.
At the end of 2017, Henwick was listed as one of Variety’s Top Breakout Stars of 2017. Henwick’s next role will be in Fox feature film Underwater
Jessica appeared in a commercial for NBC Weather in 2010.
In 2009, she made her theatrical film debut in an uncredited role in St Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold.
Her first credited role was in Dr. Liebenstein in March 2015.
First TV Show
Jessica made her TV show debut by appearing on the talk show Breakfast as herself on January 21, 2010.
Jessica has played many characters that are well-versed in martial arts and hence, she had to take relevant training for such roles. For her role in Marvel’s Iron Fist, she had to undertake training on a regular basis in Japanese martial arts and learn to wield a katana (Japanese sword).
She also had to perfect her moves in Aikido, Karate, and Krav Maga to come off authentically on screen. She has even shared pictures of her self-inflicted wounds during practice on Instagram.
Jessica Henwick Favorite Things
Singaporean Food – Singaporean curry crab, kway teow, Hainanese chicken rice, Milo Dinosaur, Bubble tea, Laksa
Singaporean Actor – Adrian Pang
Jessica Henwick Facts
In order to portray the character of Bo on Spirit Warriors, Jessica trained extensively with martial arts choreographer Jude Poyer in the Chinese martial art form Wushu.
She appeared as Leo in the theatre production of Julia Donaldson’s book Running on the Cracks. The production was performed at the Pilot Theatre and the York Theatre Royal in 2013 with Jessica impressing critics with her understated and nuanced performance.
In 2014, she was a part of another book adaptation, this time a drama series titled Obsession: Dark Desires. Henwick played Jane Jeong Trenka in the series which detailed Jane’s stalking ordeal in Minnesota in 1991.
Henwick was a cast member of Game of Thrones from season 5 to season 7. She had to train for 6 months to learn how to use a traditional bullwhip as a part of her job on the show.
The character of Jessika Pava has become a fan favorite and has also made an appearance in the comic book series Star Wars: Poe Dameron as a supporting character.
In 2017, Jessica joined the cast of the sci-fi psychological thriller series Fortitude in the 2nd season as Bianca Mankyo.
Jessica learned piano as a kid and even played it competitively as a child.
Jessica has a fan-created page dedicated to her on Facebook titled “Jessica Henwick Appreciation Society”.
She reunited with her Silk co-stars Natalie Dormer and Indira Varma on Game of Thrones as the two women have played Margaery Tyrell and Ellaria Sand respectively.
The lead character of Spirit Warriors was meant to be a boy for which they had a casting call. Henwick’s mom had signed up her brother but he was not interested in acting and so Jessica, who was studying acting at the time, auditioned instead and the character was re-written for her.