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Jessica Henwick

Jessica Yu Li Henwick ( ⽟李; born 30


August 1992) is an English actress who
was the first actress of East Asian descent
to play the lead role in a British television
series, having starred in the children's
show Spirit Warriors (2009–2010).[1] She is
also known for her roles as Nymeria Sand
in HBO series Game of Thrones (2015–
2017), X-wing pilot Jessika Pava in Star
Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and the
character Colleen Wing in Iron Fist (2017–
2018), The Defenders (2017) and the
second season of Luke Cage (2018).
Jessica Henwick

Henwick at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con

Born Jessica Yu Li Henwick


30 August 1992
Surrey, England, UK

Occupation Actress

Years active 2010–present

Early life
Henwick was born and raised in Surrey, the
daughter of a Singaporean Chinese
mother and Zambian English father.[2][3][4]
She trained at Redroofs Theatre School
and the National Youth Theatre.[5]

Career
In June 2009, it was announced that
Henwick had been cast in the lead role of
Bo for the BBC show Spirit Warriors,[6]
making her the first actress of East Asian
descent to play the lead role in a British
television series.[1] For the role, Henwick
trained in wushu with martial arts
choreographer Jude Poyer.[7] The show
was nominated for several awards,
including the Broadcast Awards 2011.[8]

In early 2013, Henwick made her


professional theatre debut in the
international premiere of Running on the
Cracks, based on the book by Julia
Donaldson. Allan Radcliffe of The Times
praised her "excellent" and "understated"
performance,[9] while the Guardian wrote,
"with tremendous physical presence,
Henwick captures the sense of adolescent
righteousness, passion and confusion of a
girl trying to create order in an unfair
universe."[10] Theatre critic Joyce McMillan
wrote that Henwick was "outstanding as
Leo".[11]

Later that year she was cast as Jane


Jeong Trenka in the drama Obsession:
Dark Desires, which aired January 2014.
The adaptation details Trenka's stalking in
Minnesota, 1991, which she details in her
book The Language of Blood.[12] Henwick
also joined the cast of Silk as new barrister
pupil Amy. The series brought in an
average of 5 million viewers per
episode.[13] She reprised her role for the
spin-off radio series Silk: The Clerks'
Room[14] and later that year went on to
play a young Oxford University student in
Inspector Lewis.

In 2015 Henwick joined the cast of the


HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 5
as Nymeria Sand, with Oscar-nominee
Keisha Castle-Hughes and Rosabell
Laurenti Sellers playing her sisters. The
process included six months of training to
use a traditional bullwhip.[15] She
continued performing the role until Season
7, when Sand was killed off in that
season's second episode, "Stormborn".[16]

Henwick played the X-wing pilot Jess Pava


in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The
character's full name is established as
Jessika "Testor" Pava in the spin-off novel
The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker
Adventure, which establishes her as an
admirer of Luke Skywalker.[17][18] Despite
her limited screen time, the character of
Pava has become a fan favorite.[19] Pava
later appeared as a supporting character
in the comic book series Star Wars: Poe
Dameron, which ran from 2016 to 2018.

In 2017, Henwick appeared in the second


season of drama series Fortitude, as well
as Colleen Wing in the Netflix television
series Iron Fist. Although critical reception
of Iron Fist was generally negative,
Henwick's performance in the series was
well received.[20] She reprises the role for
the series The Defenders, as well as the
second season of Luke Cage.[21]

At the end of 2017, Henwick was listed as


one of Variety's Top Breakout Stars of
2017.[22] Henwick's next role is the Fox
feature film Underwater.[23] In November
2018, Henwick was cast in Godzilla vs.
Kong.[24]

Filmography
Film
Year Title Role Notes

2014 Balsa Wood Scotty Short film

2015 Dragonfly Paula Reid

2015 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Jessika Pava[25][26]

2016 The Heart of the Forest Akira Short film

2016 The Headhunter Aiko Koo Short film

2017 Rice on White Elena Film

2017 Newness Joanne Film

2018 Yo! My Saint Muse Short film with Kenzo

2018 Baliko Mara Short film

2019 Underwater Emily In post-production

2020 Godzilla vs. Kong TBA Filming

Television
Year Title Role Notes

2009–2010 Spirit Warriors Bo 10 episodes

2012 The Thick of It Charlotte Episode #4.1

2014 Obsession: Dark Desires Jane Jeong Trenka Episode: "Silent Scream"

2014 Silk Amy Lang 5 episodes

2014 Lewis Chloe Ilson 2 episodes

2015–2017 Game of Thrones Nymeria Sand 8 episodes

2017 Fortitude Bianca Mankyo Episode #2.1

2017–2018 Iron Fist 23 episodes

2017 The Defenders Colleen Wing 6 episodes

2018 Luke Cage Episode: "Wig Out"


Video games
Year Title Role Notes

Enu
2015–2016 Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey
Hanna Roth

Stage
Year Title Role Notes

2013 Running on the Cracks Leo National tour

Radio
Year Title Role Notes

BBC Radio Four


2011–2012 North by Northamptonshire Helen
Sony Radio Award Nomination

2013 Monday to Friday Julie BBC Radio Scotland

2014–2015 Silk: The Clerks Room Amy Lang Seasons 1 & 2

References
1. Thomas, Shane (30 September 2013).
"Actors of Colour" . Media Diversified.
2. "Where exactly are my British Chinese
role models?" . New Statesman. 17 October
2013. Retrieved 16 October 2014.
3.
https://twitter.com/JHenwick/status/90847
9007867490304
4.
https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/entert
ainment/tv/news/2015/04/11/jessica-
henwick-is-the-new-face-in-game-of-
thrones/
5. "BBC One - Silk - Amy Lang" . BBC.
Retrieved 16 October 2014.
6. "Bo and the Spirit World casting news" .
ScreenTerrier. 3 June 2009. Archived from
the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved
1 December 2010.
7. "Press Office – Spirit Warriors press
pack: cast interviews" . BBC. Retrieved
18 November 2013.
8. "Broadcast Awards 2011: shortlist
announced | News | Broadcast" .
Broadcastnow.co.uk. 30 November 2010.
Retrieved 18 November 2013.
9. helen cadbury [@helencadbury] (8
February 2013). "Hurray! @katieposner
@JHenwick & cast of @pilot_theatre
@TronTheatre's show Running On the
Cracks. 4*s in TheTimes" (Tweet) – via
Twitter.
10. Mark Fisher (18 February 2013).
"Running on the Cracks – review | Stage" .
London: The Guardian. Retrieved
18 November 2013.
11. "Theatre review: Running On The
Cracks, Tron, Glasgow" . The Scotsman. 8
February 2013. Retrieved 18 November
2013.
12. "Shows" . Crime and Investigation.
Retrieved 4 November 2014.
13. Dowell, Ben (2014-03-20). "Will Silk get
a fourth series?" . Radiotimes.com.
Retrieved 2016-12-21.
14. "TV drama Silk in radio spin-off" . BBC
News. 20 March 2014.
15. "Daggers drawn: The Sand sisters vs
Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones
Season 5" , The Telegraph, Calcutta, India,
29 March 2015. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
16. " 'Game of Thrones': Sand Snake
Actress on That Brutal Episode ending" .
Retrieved 19 March 2018.
17. "Meet Star Wars: The Force Awakens'
new female hotshot pilot! – Making Star
Wars" . Makingstarwars.net. 2015-07-09.
Retrieved 2016-03-20.
18. "New TV spot reveals Jessika Pava and
Nien Nunb in Star Wars: The Force
Awakens! – Making Star Wars" .
Makingstarwars.net. 2015-11-21. Retrieved
2016-03-20.
19. Erickson, Christine (2016-03-13). " 'Star
Wars' fandom is in love with Jessika Pava,
the female X-wing pilot from 'The Force
Awakens' " . Dailydot.com. Retrieved
2016-03-20.
20. Patten, Dominic (8 March 2017). " 'Iron
Fist' Review: Jessica Henwick & Rosario
Dawson Are Real Muscle In Marvel Series" .
Retrieved 19 March 2018.
21. Hibberd, James (April 1, 2016).
"Marvel's Iron Fist casts The Force Awakens
actress in lead role" . Entertainment Weekly.
Archived from the original on 1 April 2016.
Retrieved April 1, 2016.
22. Otterson, Joe (18 December 2017). "Top
Breakout TV Stars of 2017" . Retrieved
19 March 2018.
23. McNary, Dave (7 March 2017). "T.J.
Miller, Jessica Henwick Join Kristen
Stewart in Thriller 'Underwater'
(EXCLUSIVE)" . Retrieved 19 March 2018.
24. Kroll, Justin (November 8, 2018).
" 'Game of Thrones' Actress Jessica
Henwick Joins 'Godzilla vs. Kong'
(Exclusive)" . Variety. Retrieved
November 8, 2018.
25. Lovett, Jamie (November 26, 2014).
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adds
Jessica Henwick To Cast" .
Comicbook.com.
26. "It's the Resistance!" . StarWars.com.
2016-05-02. Retrieved 2016-12-21.

External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Jessica Henwick.

Official website at the Wayback


Machine (archived 1 August 2015)
Jessica Henwick on IMDb
Liang, Lu-Hai (17 October 2013). "New
Statesman" . Newstatesman.com.
Knox, Simone Knox. "Reflections on
Actors: Minority Identity Actors in the
Creative Industries of Contemporary
Britain" . Flowjournal.org.

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