Mia Wasikowska Australian actress, gained worldwide recognition in 2010 after starring as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and appearing in the comedy-drama film The Kids Are All Right, a role for which she received the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Breakthrough Actress.
Born Name Mia Wasikowska
Occupation Actress, Director
Years active 2004–present
Born October 14, 1989, 31, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Sun Sign Libra
Height 5 ft 4 in or 162.5 cm
Hair Color Blonde
Eye Color Hazel
Measurements 33-24-34 inches (84-61-86 cm)
Bra size 32A
Father – John Reid (Photographer and Collagist)
Mother – Marzena Wasikowska (Photographer)
Siblings – Jess Wasikowska (Older Sister), Kai Wasikowska (Younger Brother)
Mia studied at Cook Primary School and Ainslie Primary School.
Furthermore, she attended the Canberra High School and completed her high school education at Karabar High School‘s Distance Education Center at Queanbeyan, which is near Canberra, through correspondence in order to continue acting while studying.
Mia is represented by California-based William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.
Race / Ethnicity
She has Polish ancestry on her mother’s side and is of British Isles descent on her father’s side.
She has a black mole on her left upper lip.
Mia has done endorsement work for the following brands –
Best Known For
Her critically-acclaimed work in the HBO series In Treatment (2008) where she played a troubled teenager named Sophie at the age of 17.
Receiving worldwide recognition for playing the titular role of Alice in Tim Burton‘s version of Alice in Wonderland which became one of the highest grossing films of 2010 earning a staggering $1.025 billion.
Mia Wasikowska is an Australian actress. She made her screen debut on the Australian television drama All Saints in 2004, followed by her feature film debut in Suburban Mayhem (2006). She first became known to a wider audience following her critically acclaimed work on the HBO television series In Treatment. She was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female for That Evening Sun (2009).
Wasikowska gained worldwide recognition in 2010 after starring as Alice in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland and appearing in the comedy-drama film The Kids Are All Right, a role for which she received the Hollywood Film Festival Award for Breakthrough Actress. She starred in Cary Fukunaga’s Jane Eyre (2011), and Crimson Peak (2015), directed by Guillermo del Toro. The following year, she reprised her role as Alice in the fantasy film Alice Through the Looking Glass, and has since appeared in a number of independent films.
Wasikowska was born and raised in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. She attended Cook Primary School, Ainslie Primary School and Canberra High School, and Karabar High School in Queanbeyan, which neighbours Canberra. She has an older sister, Jess, and a younger brother, Kai. Her mother, Marzena Wasikowska, is a Polish-born photographer, while her father, John Reid, is an Australian photographer and collagist. In 1998, when she was eight years old, Wasikowska and her family moved to Szczecin, Poland, for a year, after her mother had received a grant to produce a collection of work based on her own experience of having emigrated from Poland to Australia in 1974, at the age of eleven. Wasikowska and her siblings took part in the production as subjects; she explained to Johanna Schneller of The Globe and Mail in July 2010, “We never had to smile or perform. We weren’t always conscious of being photographed. We’d just do our thing, and she’d take pictures of us.”
At the age of nine, Wasikowska began studying ballet with Jackie Hallahan at the Canberra Dance Development Centre, with hopes of going professional. She began dancing en pointe at thirteen, and was training 35 hours a week in addition to attending school full-time. Her daily routine consisted of leaving school in the early afternoon and dancing until nine o’clock at night. A spur on her heel hampered her dancing. Her passion for ballet also waned due to the increasing pressure to achieve physical perfection and her growing dissatisfaction with that world in general, and she quit at fourteen. However, she credits ballet with improving her ability to handle her nerves in auditions.
At the same time, she had been exposed to European and Australian cinema at an early age, and was moved particularly by Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Three Colours trilogy and Gillian Armstrong’s My Brilliant Career. Although shy and averse to performing during her school years, Wasikowska was inspired to try to break into acting after watching Holly Hunter in The Piano and Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence. She felt acting in film was a way to explore human imperfections. Wasikowska looked up twelve Australian talent agencies on the Internet and contacted them all, receiving only one response. Despite her lack of acting experience, she arranged a meeting following persistent callbacks.
Career – Early work
Wasikowska landed her first acting role in 2004, with a two-episode stint on the Australian soap All Saints. She had just turned fifteen when she was cast in her Australian film debut, Suburban Mayhem (2006), for which she received a nomination for a Young Actor’s AFI Award. That same year, she also appeared in her first short film, Lens Love Story, in which she had no dialogue.
In 2007, Wasikowska appeared in the crocodile horror film Rogue, alongside Radha Mitchell and Sam Worthington. She observed quietly on the set; fellow actor Stephen Curry noted, “We didn’t hear a peep out of her for three weeks, which earned her the nickname of ‘Rowdy'”. She beat nearly 200 other actresses for a part in the drama September (2007), being cast on the spot by director Peter Carstairs following her audition. She starred in Spencer Susser’s acclaimed short film I Love Sarah Jane, which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival.
At the age of seventeen, Wasikowska received her first big break role in the United States when she was cast as Sophie, a suicidal gymnast, in HBO’s acclaimed weekly drama In Treatment; she had auditioned for the role by videotape. The part required her to leave school in Canberra and move to Los Angeles for three months, while enrolling in correspondence courses. She earned critical acclaim for her performance as the troubled teenager treated by psychotherapist Paul Weston (Gabriel Byrne), which included praise for her excellent American accent. Wasikowska revealed in an October 2008 interview with Variety that she was something of a mimic as a child, and that the widely available American films and TV shows in Australia made it easier for Australians to pick up the accent.
This show enabled Wasikowska to gain roles in American films. She played the role of Chaya, the young wife of Asael Bielski (Jamie Bell), in Defiance (2008). Director Edward Zwick cast her, explaining to the Australian edition of Vogue, “Her inner life is so vivid that it comes across even when she’s being still.” Her next role was as aviation pioneer Elinor Smith in Mira Nair’s 2009 biopic Amelia. In June 2008, due to her work on In Treatment, she received an Australians in Film Breakthrough Award.
Wasikowska played the supporting role of Pamela Choat in the 2009 Southern Gothic independent film That Evening Sun, opposite Hal Holbrook. Director Scott Teems, seeking a young actress who bore a resemblance to Sissy Spacek, initially balked at the casting director’s first suggestion of Wasikowska for the role. He had wanted to cast all native Southerners for the sake of authenticity. However, after auditions with other actresses were unsuccessful, Teems relented and summoned Wasikowska for as audition. During the two hours she had to prepare, she watched Coal Miner’s Daughter online in order to quickly learn a Southern accent, and impressed Teems enough to be the only non-American actor cast in the film. She was nominated for a 2009 Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female, and the film received a South by Southwest award for Best Ensemble Cast.
In July 2008, Wasikowska was cast as the eponymous heroine in Tim Burton’s version of Alice in Wonderland, alongside Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Anne Hathaway. She sent a videotaped audition to casting directors in London, and her first live reading in Los Angeles occurred on the same day as her Evening Sun audition. After three more auditions in London, she was awarded the role. Burton cited Wasikowska’s “old-soul quality” as a catalyst in casting her: “Because you’re witnessing this whole thing through her eyes, it needed somebody who can subtly portray that.”
Wasikowska portrayed a nineteen-year-old Alice returning to Wonderland for the first time in over a decade after fleeing from an unwanted marriage proposal. Her affinity for the character played a part in her desire for the role, as she had read the Lewis Carroll books as a child and was a fan of Jan Švankmajer’s 1988 stop-motion film Alice. She considered Burton’s film as a chance to explore a deeper characterisation of Alice, to whom she felt young women her age could relate, saying: “Alice has a certain discomfort within herself, within society and among her peers; I have definitely felt similarly about all of those things, so I could really understand her not fitting in. Alice also is an observer who is thinking a lot, and that’s similar to how I am.”
For Lisa Cholodenko’s indie comedy The Kids Are All Right, Wasikowska was cast as Joni, the bookish daughter of a lesbian couple (Annette Bening and Julianne Moore) who was conceived via artificial insemination. At her younger brother’s (Josh Hutcherson) request, she seeks out their biological father (Mark Ruffalo). During shooting, she successfully campaigned to have Joni wear pajamas in several home scenes. She explained to Orlando Sentinel film critic Roger Moore, “Joni’s very comfortable in her place, with who she is. So I pushed to have her, whenever she was at home, in her pajamas. That’s comfortable! And that’s something I do.”
On 25 October, Wasikowska was honored with the Hollywood Awards’ Breakthrough Actress Award, which was presented to her by Bryce Dallas Howard, and she won the Australian Film Institute International Award for Best Actress on 12 December for her performance in Alice in Wonderland. According to Forbes, Alice in Wonderland was amongst the highest-grossing films of 2010 with $1.025 billion. As of June 2018, it is the 31st-highest-grossing film of all time.
From March to May 2010, Wasikowska filmed Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of Jane Eyre, in which she starred as the title character opposite Michael Fassbender as Mr. Rochester. She began reading the novel after completion of Alice in Wonderland, during which she asked her agent if a script existed. Two months later, she received a script and was asked to meet with Fukunaga Fukunaga was unfamiliar with her work and was undecided about casting her, so he sought the opinion of director Gus Van Sant, who had worked with Wasikowska on his 2011 film Restless. Fukunga told BlackBook magazine in February 2011, “Gus wrote back: ‘Cast her.'” Due to a scheduling conflict, she had to withdraw from the lead in Julia Leigh’s 2011 Australian independent film Sleeping Beauty, and she was replaced by Emily Browning.
Wasikowska appeared in Restless (2011), which was filmed from November to December 2009. The portrayal of her character, a terminally ill sixteen-year-old, required her to crop her long hair. From December 2010 to February 2011, Wasikowska filmed Rodrigo García’s Albert Nobbs, for which she was a last-minute replacement for Amanda Seyfried.
On 21 April 2011, Wasikowska was named to the Time 100, a listing of the world’s most influential people, which featured a brief essay written by Albert Nobbs co-star Glenn Close. In June, Wasikowska was invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In December, she was among a group of actors who filmed a series of shorts from The New York Times titled Touch of Evil, which honored the art of cinematic villainy.
In 2011, Wasikowska played the small supporting role of Shia LaBeouf’s character’s love interest in John Hillcoat’s Lawless. Later in the year, she filmed the lead in Park Chan-wook’s English-language debut, Stoker. Lawless premiered at Cannes in May 2012, while Stoker debuted at Sundance in January 2013. Wasikowska also appeared in Miu Miu’s spring 2012 fashion campaign. In 2012, she made her second appearance in a Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue, this time being featured on the cover panel.
Filming of her next project, Richard Ayoade’s The Double, began in the UK in May 2012. In July, she shot Jim Jarmusch’s vampire drama Only Lovers Left Alive, in which she plays the younger sister of Tilda Swinton’s character. Filming of Tracks, director John Curran’s adaptation of the Robyn Davidson memoir of the same name, began in October 2012 in Australia, with Wasikowska in the lead role. The film was screened in competition at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.
Wasikowska made her directorial debut on a segment of a film adaptation of The Turning, a collection of short stories by Australian author Tim Winton. The film premiered in August 2013 at the Melbourne International Film Festival. In July 2013, Wasikowska began filming David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars in Toronto; the film was released in 2014. She played the title role in Sophie Barthes’ film adaptation of Madame Bovary, which began shooting on 30 September, 2014 in Normandy, France.
Wasikowska replaced Emma Stone in the 2015 gothic romance Crimson Peak, directed by Guillermo del Toro, in which she starred alongside Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain. Production commenced in February 2014, with a 16 October 2015 release date.
In May 2015, Wasikowska joined the cast of Cédric Jimenez’s forthcoming historical thriller film titled The Man with the Iron Heart, based on the novel HHhH, starring alongside Jason Clarke, Rosamund Pike, Jack O’Connell and Jack Reynor. Principal photography on the film began on 14 September 2015 in Prague and Budapest, which ended on 1 February 2016.
Wasikowska reprised the role of Alice in Alice Through the Looking Glass, the 2016 sequel to Alice in Wonderland. She appeared in the David Zellner western Damsel, alongside her Maps to the Stars co-star Robert Pattinson. In February 2017, it was announced that she had filmed the forthcoming thriller Piercing, directed by Nicolas Pesce and based on Ryū Murakami’s 1994 novel of the same name.
Wasikowska played the role of Ralph in the Sydney Theatre Company production of Nigel Williams stage adaptation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies from July to August 2019.
In her spare time, Wasikowska is an avid photographer, often chronicling her travels and capturing images of her film sets with a Rolleiflex camera. During production of Jane Eyre, she had a secret pocket sewn into one of her costumes in order to conceal a smaller digital camera that she used between takes. One of her on-set images, featuring Fukunaga and Jane Eyre co-star Jamie Bell, was selected as a finalist in the 2011 National Photographic Portrait Prize hosted by Australia’s National Portrait Gallery on 24 February 2011.
Wasikowska resides in Bronte, New South Wales. She was in a relationship with Jesse Eisenberg, her co-star in The Double, in 2013.
Mia Wasikowska Facts
Mia’s family shifted base to Szczecin in Poland, for a year when she was 8 years old. The move was made after her mother received a grant to produce a collection of photographs inspired from her own experience of having emigrated from Poland to Australia at the age of 11 in 1974.
Mia and her siblings were featured in their mother’s production which was more informal and didn’t require them to pose or smile for the camera. According to her interview in 2010, they weren’t made conscious of being photographed and were captured doing everyday things.
Wasikowska took up ballet lessons at the age of 9 from Jackie Hallahan at the Canberra Dance Development Centre, wanting to make a career out of it. She began dancing en pointe at 13 and trained for as much as 35 hours a week in addition to her school commitments.
However, she quit ballet at the age of 14 as a spur (a painful, calcified mass) on her heel hampered her prospects of being a dancer. Additionally, the growing demands of attaining physical perfection made her feel dissatisfied, in general.
From early on, Mia was exposed to the European and Australian cinema. Although she never performed during her school years, she found inspiration to become an actress after watching Holly Hunter in The Piano (1993) and Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence (1974).
In a bid to jumpstart her acting career, she looked up 12 Australian talent agencies on the internet and called all of them, only to receive one response. She managed to arrange a meeting due to her determination and persistent callbacks in spite of her lack of acting experience.
In 2008, Mia was named as one of Variety magazine’s Top Ten Actors to Watch.
Mia was the second highest-grossing actor of 2010, behind Leonardo DiCaprio. She shared the second place with her Alice in Wonderland co-star Johnny Depp.
While on the Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2014, Mia admitted that her real birth date is not October 14, 1989, as mentioned on the internet. She added that she likes to keep her real birthdate a secret and it is privy only to those close to her.
She made into the list of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World on April 21, 2011. Her listing featured a brief article written by her Albert Nobbs co-star Glenn Close.
In December 2011, Mia joined a group of actors to film a series of shorts from The New York Times called Touch of Evil which honored the art of cinematic villainy.
She made her directorial debut in 2013 by directing a segment of the film The Turning, which was adapted from the short stories of the same name by Australian author Tim Winton.
She is an avid photographer and is known to capture unfiltered moments from her film sets with her Rolleiflex camera.
While shooting for Jane Eyre, she got a digital camera sewn into one of her costumes and would shoot her co-stars between takes.
One such image which featured director Cary Fukunaga and co-star Jamie Bell was selected as a finalist at the 2011 National Photographic Portrait Prize which was hosted by Australia’s National Portrait Gallery on February 24, 2011.
She was one of the many actresses in contention for the role of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s 2011 film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. However, she turned down the role due to the time commitment required for the series and the role eventually went to Rooney Mara.
Mia made her theatrical film debut as Lilya in the drama-thriller film Suburban Mayhem in 2006.
First TV Show
Mia made her first TV show appearance in 2004 in the medical drama All Saints in the “Out on a Limb” episode as Lily Watson.
Mia Wasikowska Favorite Things
Book – Neapolitan novels by Elena Ferrante
Hobby – Photography
Movie – Home Alone
Film Character – Holly Hunter as Ada in The Piano
Designers – Rodarte, Miu Miu, Comme des Garçon
Authors – Miranda July, JM Coetzee, Elena Ferrante
Character Played By Her – Sophie in In Treatment
Horror Movie – The Shining, Eyes Wide Shut
Restaurant – Tilley’s