25 Things About Jennifer Lawrence
Think you know everything there is to know about Silver Linings Playbook star Jennifer Lawrence? Think again!
Congratulations Jennifer Lawrence for winning her first Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook! Even though these days she’s most well known for her ongoing portrayal of Katniss Everden in The Hunger Games series, this talented gal has been a busy bee for years. She first burst onto the scene in 2010 with her powerhouse performance in Winter’s Bone, and we’ve been following her massively promising career ever since. You probably have, too—but how much do you really know about her? We’ve dug up a couple of facts that might surprise you, like what her childhood nickname was and how she scored her first job. So here you go: A crash course in everything you need to know about Jennifer. Let the games begin!
1. Jennifer Shrader Lawrence was born on August 15, 1990. That makes her 22 years old. (And it makes the rest of us feel REALLY old.)
2. She’s from Kentucky—Louisville, to be exact. Her mother, Karen, runs a summer camp for kids there, and her father, Gary, used to run a construction business (he sold it a number of years ago). She also has two older brothers, Ben and Blaine, who still live there.
3. Jennifer is sort of the black sheep in her family (though a much-loved one!): Growing up, most of their activities were related to sports and athletics.
4. Her nickname growing up? “Nitro”—because she was always so hyper. We prefer to think of it as “energetic.”
5. She graduated from high school not one, but two years early so that she could pursue acting. Smartypants!
6. Jennifer acted in church plays when she was younger, but she has no formal training. She did, however, play Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello at Kentucky’s Walden Theater when she was 14. Charlie Sexton, Walden Theater’s artistic director, said of Jennifer, “[She] stood apart from the standpoint of seeing herself in a career. Most eighth-graders weren’t thinking that far ahead, but she was ready to get to L.A.“
7. Though she got to L.A. eventually, she headed to New York first—right after finishing up Othello. She told her parents that she wanted to act professionally, so they took her to the Big Apple to try to find an agent.
Jennifer in her breakout role, Ree, in Winter’s Bone.
8. Although her mother said that initially, they just wanted to get the acting bug out of their daughter’s system, the trip to New York turned out to be a good move: While watching some street dancers one afternoon in Union Square, Jennifer got approached by a man scouting for an H&M commercial, who snapped her picture and snagged her info. The agents started calling shortly thereafter; indeed, the agents she read for told her mother that she gave the best cold read by a 14-year-old they had ever heard. She subsequently spent the summer in the city, with her family members taking it in turns to stay with her.
9. Jennifer owns a Yorkshire terrier named Alden. Awwww.
10. Her first notable job came in 2007, when she was cast as comedian Bill Engvall’s daughter, Lauren Pearson, on The Bill Engvall Show. Alas, it was canceled after three seasons.
11. The early cancelation ended up not being too bad of a thing, though; in fact, Jennifer ultimately sees it as a blessing. “At 15, I signed a seven-year contract,” she said. “Then I realized that I had an absolute passion for deep, dark indie movies, which is the exact opposite. I love the show, and I love the people on it … but if I had to turn down a movie for the show, I would die. That was always my biggest fear.” Onward and upward, eh?
12. Before her breakout performance in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer actually starred in another dark indie drama: The Burning Plain, which was written and directed by Babel’s Guillermo Arriaga and costarred Charlize Theron. Though the film was an entrant in the Venice Film Festival, it only had a limited theatrical release, so don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of it.
13. And then came Winter’s Bone in 2010. Jennifer beat out 200 (!) other actresses for the role of Ree Dolly, a poor 17-year-old raising her two young siblings in the Ozarks while trying to look for her missing, meth-cooking father. Director Debra Granik said that one of the main things that landed Jennifer the part was her sensitivity to the circumstances and her comfort with the Ozark accent. The accent was particularly important; said Granik about her audition, “Jennifer was comfortable with the accent, and it made her reading really pop. For the first time I felt like I was really hearing Ree.”