Australian actresses have long punched above their weight in Hollywood, with homegrown thespians such as Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman pretty much bona fide legends of the silver screen. But there’s a new crop of actresses that have been quietly making their mark stateside, who you might have seen on TV or at the cinema without even knowing they’re one of ours! So let’s scrub up on our pop culture knowledge and give these talented Aussie ladies some well-earned love.
You most recently saw her shine (both figuratively and literally) in the role of Ayesha, leader of the golden-skinned Sovereign race in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but before she was starring in international blockbusters this overachieving Melburnian was busy being named dux of her high school and winning scholarships at the Victorian College of the Arts.
In 2013 she got her breakout role in Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby playing the aloof Jordan Baker, and it’s been pretty much full steam ahead ever since. Last year she played a glamourous American socialite with a dark past in the Emmy-award winning series The Night Manager, living all of our collective dreams by pairing off with Tom Hiddleston’s suave British spy. But if we’re being honest, between two very statuesque blondes (at 190cm she’s actually 2cm taller!) the talented Debicki is making us swoon even harder than #hiddles.
We love Teresa Palmer for her on-screen power, but we also love her for her humble personality and hardworking beginnings. Growing up in public housing, her first acting jobs were dressing up as Strawberry Shortcake and Santa’s Little Helper at the mall on weekends. And her mall career didn’t end there, she also clocked hours working at Hungry Jack’s, Supre and Cotton On. If you’re a 90s kid who grew up in Adelaide, there’s honestly a good chance you were served by this movie star at some point…
However, since being spotted by a talent agent after appearing in a student film, Palmer has been collecting credits in dozens of indie and big name productions. She most recently appeared in every-mom’s-worst-nightmare thriller flick Berlin Syndrome, giving a harrowing performance as an Australian tourist who engages in a one-night fling with a charming local before finding herself imprisoned in his apartment.
You’d never guess it listening to her character Lorna Morello’s distinctive Brooklyn-Boston accent (hailed “the most amazing accent on television by the New Republic), but Yael Stone is actually a born and bred Sydneysider. The Orange Is The New Black Star followed the well-trodden path of many local talents (Newtown Performing School of the Arts, followed by NIDA), working mostly in theatre before making the leap stateside. But no matter how thick the foreign accent, she remains a true Aussie – I mean, once you appear in All Saints, you’re pretty much locked in as one of ours forever.
This Canberra native has been quietly achieving ever since she was thrust into the spotlight as a fresh faced 19-year-old, cast as the eponymous character in Tim Burton’s blockbuster adaptation of Alice In Wonderland. Since then, she’s been steadily collecting credits and garnering respect for powerful performances, often portraying strong-willed women in films such as Jane Eyre, Madame Bovary and Australian expeditioner Robyn Davidson in Tracks.
Although it would be an insult to label this veteran of Australian theatre, film and television as any sort of ‘rising star’, Jacki Weaver’s Hollywood success has only grown in recent years following her scene-stealing turn as a terrifying crime family matriarch in Animal Kingdom. Well, our loss is Tinseltown’s gain as her newfound international fame has catapulted her into a series of supporting roles in major films including Silver Linings Playbook and The Disaster Artist.