She has graced the big screen for over a decade, in films that cover the gamut of genres; scifi, romcom, adventure and horror. Declared the most successful actor of her generation, Jennifer Lawrence was the highest-paid actress in the world in 2015-16 when The Hunger Games films grossed over $5.5 billion worldwide. At 22, she won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the David O. Russell film “Silver Linings Playbook”.
Born in 1990 in Louisville Kentucky, Jennifer, known as “JLaw” in the tradition of contractions, began on the path to acting in Church productions. “My nickname was ‘Nitro,’ as in Nitroglycerin,” she told British Vogue in a piece about her rise to fame.
“I was hyperactive, curious about everything. When my mother told me about my childhood, she always told me there was like a light in me, a spark that inspired me constantly. When I entered school, the light went out. We never knew what it was, a kind of social anxiety.”
She turned to acting as an outlet and it worked. “I begged my parents to take me to a casting. We went to New York, and that’s where I started acting. Just on stage, my mother saw the change that was taking place in me. She saw my anxieties disappear.
She found her daughter, the one who had this light and joy before school. I finally found a way [to] open the door to a universe that I understood, that was good for me and made me happy, because I felt capable.”
During the trip to New York at the age of 14, she was cast in an ad for fashion behemoth H&M. At the shoot, an agent spotted her and invited her to the studio for another audition. The agent encouraged her mum, Karen to allow Jennifer to spend the
summer in NYC, and she appeared in commercials and scored a role in the movie, “The Devil You Know”. With opportunities coming in constantly, Jennifer and her family relocated to LA, where she was cast in a sitcom, “The Bill Engvall Show”, and a few arthouse movies.
Her big break came in 2010, in the form of the role Ree in “Winter’s Bone”, which attracted the Academy’s Bone”, which attracted the Academy’s attention and an Oscar nomination, Golden Globe nomination and a gig with the X-Men franchise.
Then followed what Jennifer describes as “the role of a lifetime” when she was cast as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games in 2012. The film was a global hit and propelled Jennifer to the A-list. Three Hunger Games sequels followed, and a flurry of critically acclaimed films such as “Silver Linings Playbook”, “American Hustle”, “Joy”, “Passengers” and “Red Sparrow”
kept her in the public eye.
After a couple of years acting hiatus, Jennifer is currently working on a star-studded Netflix series pitched as “a political satire disaster comedy” that totally captures the madness and chaos of 2020. “Don’t Look Up”, written and directed by Andy McKay the comedic team behind “Anchorman” and “Step Brothers”, tells the story of two junior astronomers who undertake a worldwide media tour to warn mankind of a giant, approaching asteroid that will destroy Earth in six months, only to find an unreceptive populace. Alongside JLaw and her co-star Timothee Chalamet in what is definitely the biggest title on its 2021 Netflix slate are luminaries the stature of Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Meryl Streep, Jonah Hill, Ariana Grande, Matthew Perry, Ron Perlman and many more.
Jennifer explained her brief absence from the limelight as fearing fans were getting sick of the sight of her. “We were in Whole Foods and I was on a lot of the magazine covers. And I was like God, I’m going to be one of those people everybody hates, because it’s like, ‘Hey here I am!’ like all the time and it’s just like ‘Get out of my face’.” Despite the fame and the high-profile
romances, luxury homes in New York and LA, her aim is to stay unaffected. “I want my life as normal as possible,” she said. “One of the dangers in the film industry is that things are too fast … I want to keep it simple.” And to that end, she says she tries to be as unincumbered as possibly with the trappings of the “celebrity lifestyle”. “I do not have an assistant!” Instead,
her best friend of 22 years, Laura Simpson accompanies her on location. “At the end of a day of shooting, I can go home and hang out with her. Do what we do … and not share time with someone who works for me.” In October 2019, she married
art dealer, Cooke Maroney, in a match-made by Laura. Said Jennifer at the time on podcast “Naked with Catt Sadler, “I definitely wasn’t at a place where I was like, I’m ready to get married. I just met Cooke and I wanted to marry him. We wanted
to commit fully. He’s my best friend. I want to legally bind him to me forever. And fortunately, the paperwork exists for such a thing. You find your favourite person on the planet and you’re like: You can’t leave.”
For millions of girls the world over, the arrow-slinging Katniss in The Hunger Games was an inspiration. Jennifer says she understands she is a role model for women and takes that seriously. “It would be hypocritical of me to deny that girls take me as an example, and say that I don’t have responsibility to them, because clearly, I have. I know the influence of celebrities on
young people. I was a teenager, and I want to send a positive message.”
Speaking to the media after her Golden Globe win for Best Supporting Actress in “American Hustle”, the actress said her advice for young women would be “Be strong. Don’t be a follower”. “Always do the right thing. If you have a choice between the right or wrong, do the right. Always be nice. It’s never not cool to be the nice girl.” She said she owes her squeak-clean
reputation to her ability to stay grounded, thanks to the people around her and keeping busy. “I have a good group of friends.
I have an amazing family. I’m just always busy. I don’t have time to get in trouble,” she said. Commenting on her infamous
fall on the stairs at the Academy Awards on her way to accept the Oscar for Best Actress in “Silver Linings Playbook” in 2013.
She recovered quickly and laughed the whole thing off, but said it stayed with her for a long time, particularly when critics called the episode “fake” and “attention seeking”. “They call my name and I’m elated and in shock, and then I fell – I mean, look at my dress – and it just erased everything from my mind. My brain went blank. I can look back at it now that I’m a little bit older fondly, but for a very long time the fall thing was very sensitive.” Thankfully, she has thick skin and a sense of humour in her impressive arsenal of weapons. “I’m a big believer of accepting yourself and not really worrying about it.”