Jessica Henwick (Chinese: 李玉) is a British actress and writer. She is known for her roles as Nymeria Sand in the HBO series Game of Thrones (2015–2017), X-wing pilot Jessika Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the character Colleen Wing in Marvel’s Netflix television series (2017–2018) and her role as Bugs in The Matrix Resurrections (2021).
- Birth Name: Jessica Yu-Li Henwick
- Born: August 30, 1992 in Surrey North Western, Surrey, England, UK
- Height: 1.68 m (5′ 6″)
In June 2009, it was announced that Henwick had been cast in the lead role of Bo for the BBC show Spirit Warriors, making her the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series. For the role, Henwick trained in wushu with martial arts choreographer Jude Poyer. The show was nominated for several awards, including the Broadcast Awards 2011.
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, 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.” Theatre critic Joyce McMillan wrote that Henwick was “outstanding as Leo”.
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. Henwick also joined the cast of Silk as new barrister pupil Amy. The series brought in an average of 5 million viewers per episode. She reprised her role for the spin-off radio series Silk: The Clerks’ Room.
In 2015 Henwick joined the cast of the HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 5 as Nymeria Sand. She continued performing the role until Season 7.
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. Despite her limited screen time, the character of Pava has become a fan favorite. Pava later appeared as a supporting character in the comic book series Star Wars: Poe Dameron, which ran from 2016 to 2018, and reprised the role for the Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga game.
In 2017, Henwick appeared 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. She reprised the role for the series The Defenders, as well as the second season of Luke Cage.
At the end of 2017, Henwick was listed as one of Variety’s Top Breakout Stars. In 2020, she co-starred in the Fox science fiction thriller Underwater, and the films Love and Monsters and Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks. That same year she was listed as one of The Hollywood Reporter’s Rising Stars and won the Brit to Watch award at the Newport Beach Film Festival.
In 2020, she was cast in The Gray Man. In 2021, she was cast in Knives Out 2.
In 2021, she starred in The Matrix Resurrections. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress by Gold House and CAPE.
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