Vanessa Kirby is Best Known For her main role of Princess Margaret in the biographical drama series The Crown (2016 – 2017) based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II and her family and cast in Mission Impossible 6 (2018) opposite Tom Cruise.
Born Name Vanessa Noola Kirby
Nick Name Noo, Nu, Hot Mess, Noola Noo
Occupation Actress, Theatre Artist, Producer
Years active 2010–present
Born April 18, 1988, 32, Wimbledon, London, England, United Kingdom
Sun Sign Aries
Height 5 ft 8 in or 173 cm
Hair Color Blonde
Eye Color Pale Greyish Blue
Measurements 34-26-36 in or 86-66-91.5 cm
Bra size 32B
Father – Roger Kirby (Retired prostate surgeon and professor of urology, researcher, writer on men’s health and prostate disease)
Mother – Jane (Former Magazine Editor, Founder of Country Living Magazine)
Siblings – Juliet Kirby (Younger Sister) (Theatrical Agent, Talent Manager), Joe Kirby (Older Brother) (Assistant, Deputy Headmaster of a school)
Others – Kenneth S. Kirby (Paternal Grandfather) (Professor of cell chemistry), Janet Hazel Sturgess (Paternal Grandmother)
Vanessa Kirby in Jupiter Ascending (2015)
She studied in an all-girls private boarding school called Lady Eleanor Holles in Hampton, Middlesex.
Vanessa applied to study acting at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theatre School but was turned down for admission which made her take some time off and travel to South Africa for a year.
Upon her return, she enrolled in the University of Exeter for a Bachelor’s in English Literature that she successfully completed in first division (Scoring an aggregate from 70% – 100% equivalent to 3.7-4.00 GPA in the USA)
Student productions seasoned her presence on the stage which got her a place in The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) after finishing college.
But before she could join LAMDA, Vanessa also signed up with a talent agency and met theatre director, David Thacker. He gave her a starring role in three of his stage productions meant to be performed at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, Greater Manchester.
Vanessa accepted the offer which officially kickstarted her acting career in 2009. She never joined LAMDA and studied her craft on the job.
For her role as Princess Margaret in the Netflix period drama series The Crown (2016–2017), she won the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress and earned a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series. She has also starred in several stage productions, earning three nominations for the Ian Charleson Awards, with Matt Trueman of Variety describing her as the outstanding stage actress of her generation, capable of the most unexpected choices.
She gained wider recognition for her roles in the action films Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) and Hobbs & Shaw (2019), and won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her performance in the drama Pieces of a Woman (2020).
She is the daughter of 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.
Career – Theatre
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 All My Sons by Arthur Miller, Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare. For All My Sons she won the BIZA Rising Star Award at the Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards, worth £5,000.
She then went on to appear at the National Theatre as Isabella in Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton, directed by Marianne Elliott, alongside Harriet Walter and Harry Potter’s Harry Melling. She then starred as Rosalind in As You Like It by William Shakespeare at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds; Alfred Hickling of The Guardian described her as a significant new talent. In 2011, she was in the premiere of The Acid Test by Anya Reiss at the Royal Court Theatre, directed by Simon Godwin, earning praise for her performance from Paul Taylor of The Independent, who described her as a star if ever I saw one.
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. She won Best Supporting Actress category at the Whatsonstage Awards 2014, which is voted for by the public.
Kirby played Elena in Robert Icke’s production of Uncle Vanya at the Almeida Theatre in 2016, for which she won rave reviews, with Matt Trueman of Variety writing Kirby is a superlative Elena: lithe, fickle, hypocritical, shallow and yet always sympathetic. It’s a performance that confirms her as the outstanding stage actress of her generation, capable of the most unexpected choices.
In 2018, Kirby played the title character in Polly Stenham’s Julie, an adaptation of August Strindberg’s Miss Julie, at the National Theatre.
Television and film
In 2011, Kirby made her television debut in the BBC’s The Hour. She played Estella in the BBC’s mini-series adaptation of Great Expectations.
Kirby then starred in Richard Curtis’s film About Time.
She went on to play Masha in the acclaimed production by Benedict Andrews of Three Sisters at the Young Vic in September 2012, earning exceptionally good reviews, with Matt Trueman of Time Out stating In a super cast given licence to shine, Kirby stands out as Masha.
She filmed The Rise in early 2012. The film premièred at the Toronto and London Film Festivals to favorable reviews, and won the Best Debut Category for director Rowan Athale.
Other film roles include Kill Command, the Wachowskis Jupiter Ascending, and Queen and Country, John Boorman’s sequel to his Hope and Glory (1987).
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. For this role, she was nominated for a BAFTA award in 2017, and won the award for season two in 2018. In 2020, Kirby won the Best Actress Award at the 2020 Venice Film Festival for Kornel Mundruzcó’s English debut Pieces of a Woman, a film portraying the degradation of a marriage.
Kirby was in a long-term relationship with actor Callum Turner, with whom she co-starred in Queen & Country. The relationship ended in February 2020.
Big, piercing blue eyes
Oval face with healthy, full cheeks
A resemblance to Tom Cruise’s Top Gun (1986) co-star Kelly McGillis
In 2016, the British luxury brand Smythson declared Vanessa Kirby as their brand ambassador alongside actor James Norton to showcase the brand’s Spring Summer 2016 Collection.
She regularly lends her voice to all kinds of TV commercials/public interest messages. Her formerly recorded voice-over work includes leading brands such as:
Mercedes Benz E-Class
She played a supporting role of a character named Jane in the love story of two elderly people in Love/Loss (2010).
First TV Show
She appeared in the pilot and two more episodes of the BBC drama series, The Hour in 2011.
Vanessa Kirby Favorite Things
Characters (From Her Own Work) – Masha in Three Sisters, Elena in Uncle Vanya
Activity to Unwind – Cooking for her friends
Books – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Awareness by Anthony De Mello
Film – Victoria (2015)
Band – The National, First Aid Kit
Fashion Icon – Emma Stone
Makeup Item – Christian Dior’s BB Creme
Accessory – Her Mulberry Handbag
Cocktail – A glass of martini with an olive
Vanessa Kirby Facts
- She was inspired to become an actress at the age of 12 when she saw family friends Vanessa and Corin Redgrave perform in the play The Cherry Orchard (2000) staged at the National Theatre.
- She briefly suffered bullying at her private school and was once beaten up by another drunken student.
- While studying in college, Vanessa used to dye her hair brown so that people would take her more seriously.
- Acting in student productions in college made her decide she wanted to base her life around acting even if she had to do it for free.
- She is a close friend of the fellow actress, Jessica Brown Findlay.
- Her career started with hectic, 18 straight months of theatre acting. Vanessa reveals that acting on the stage is totally unglamorous and no actor gets any importance for their social standing, popularity, or dating life.
- Vanessa was extremely disinterested in the British monarchy and knew nothing about them until she was cast in The Crown. She became fascinated by the royal family after she did intensive research on her character.
- She describes herself as someone who worries a lot. She took up meditation to keep herself stress-free.
- Social media gives Vanessa anxiety, so she restricts sharing information online.
- To prepare herself mentally before every performance, Vanessa listens to music on her iPhone till the very last moment before walking on to the set or the stage.
- Despite landing a role in MI6, Vanessa wasn’t interested in moving to Hollywood but looked forward to the opportunity of taking up challenging roles with independent film directors both in the USA and Europe.
- Alongside the likes of Shia LaBeouf, Molly Parker, Sarah Snook, and Ellen Burstyn, she co-starred as Martha Weiss in the 2020 drama film, Pieces of a Woman.
- Vanessa won the Best Actress award at the 2020 Venice Film Festival for her role in the Pieces of a Woman. The movie was then sold to Netflix.
- Her theatre credits include playing Helena in William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Octagon Theatre in 2010, Regina Engstrand in Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts at Octagon Theatre in 2010, Rosalind in William Shakespeare’s As You Like It at West Yorkshire Playhouse in 2010, Isabella in Thomas Middleton’s Women Beware Women at Royal National Theatre in 2011, and Stella Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire at Young Vic in 2014.