In an industry that champions originality and is always on the lookout for fresh new talent, it’s no surprise the cinematic spotlight is currently shining on actor Laura Harrier. The young American beauty who currently stars in the recently released Netflix show Hollywood is poised and ready to take over both the silver and big-screen this year.
Read on to see why this rising star should be on your radar as an actor to watch.
Unlikely fashion-to-film story
Although Harrier was born and raised outside of Chicago, she moved to New York for university but began modeling full-time in her late teens. Her doll-like features captured the attention of leading fashion brands and had the potential to catapult her to a modeling career on the international stage, but the stint was short-lived when she chose to pursue her childhood passion and dream: acting. Harrier soon joined the William Esper Studio, a school for performing arts in Manhattan that has coached various notable students from Black-ish‘s Tracee Ellis Ross to Ramy‘s Ramy Youssef.
Breaking out with Marvel
While Harrier initially started out in student films, her first acting credit on the American soap opera reboot of One Life to Live helped her land parts in an AMC and an HBO television series. Even though they both were canceled before airing, those unfortunate circumstances eventually paved the path to her first leading role in a blockbuster film: Spider-Man: Homecoming. Playing Peter Parker’s one-that-got-away love interest in the widely popular Marvel franchise back in 2017 opened further doors for the breakout star that set the foundation of her increasingly successful career.
Spike Lee personally called her to star in his eventual Oscar-nominated feat
A story that quickly made the media rounds and became the infamous example for the saying “When opportunity calls, answer”, Harrier was lounging at a Greek island getaway when she received a call from an unknown number that turned out to be legendary film director Spike Lee himself asking to meet in New York for a potential part. She jumped on a plane, arrived in the city to audition the very next day, and the rest—as they say—is history. BlacKkKlansman world premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival to a six-minute long standing ovation. The critically-acclaimed drama based on real events surrounding racism and white supremacy in the United States during the 70s garnered the prestigious Grand Prix award that year as well as five Academy Award nominations—including Best Picture—and one triumphant win for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2019 Oscars ceremony.
Budding star on-screen and off
Her latest role in the seven-episode Ryan Murphy Netflix drama Hollywood brings to life a budding actor set to be an award-winning star in the 40s, a character potentially similar to Harrier’s current trajectory. While Harrier shares the screen with a star-studded cast, from Samara Weaving and Queen Latifah to Rob Reiner and Darren Criss, it’s hard to ignore her scene-stealing work as a woman of color who will fight for the opportunity to succeed in a world determined to see her fail.
But wait, there’s more in store
Although Harrier already has an impressive repertoire of roles on her CV to date, there’s no slowing down for this up-and-coming star. Keep your eyes peeled for her later this year in BIOS, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi feature starring Tom Hanks and the upcoming Netflix comedy-drama The Starling with Melissa McCarthy.
In her brief tenure as a red-carpet regular, Harrier has soared to the ranks of a style icon with a series of hit ensembles that has captivated cameras and best-dressed list editors alike. Her roots in fashion taught her from the get-go that she should always wear pieces that help her remain true to herself instead of trying to be someone she’s not while her trademark retro glam and statement lip shades create an alluring combination. Her wardrobe often consists of minimalist chic pieces that are subtly elevated with a daring cut or unique color palette, such as her Calvin Klein by Appointment power dress at the Spider-Man: Homecoming premiere or the peach Louis Vuitton wrap gown she donned to climb the infamous staircase at Cannes. “I’ve always loved dressing up,” Harrier said during an Instyle interview. “It’s probably part of the reason I became an actress. Clothing can help you tap into so many emotions.”
House campaign favorite
It wouldn’t be surprising to see Harrier’s doe eyes staring back at you when flicking through the glossy pages of some of the world’s leading fashion publications. As a member of the Louis Vuitton family, Harrier has starred in multiple campaigns for the iconic French maison and often works with creative director Nicolas Ghesquière to design custom sartorial creations for the grandest nights in the industry, including the Oscars and the BAFTAs. Harrier is also a longtime brand ambassador for Bulgari and usually adorns the luxury jeweler’s masterpieces in an elaborate showing of exquisite high jewelry pairings from the coveted Met Gala to the Grammy’s.
An outspoken advocate for more on-screen diversity
Since the beginning of her career, Harrier has often been vocal about the need for greater exposure for and representation from people of diverse backgrounds in the film industry—a conversation that is still surprisingly happening in 2020 even after #OscarsSoWhite and the unquestionable box-office success of films like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. All of Harrier’s major roles so far question society’s perception of what dictates an empowered female lead and progressively advocates for social change, whether it’s in Spider-Man: Homecoming where “she’s not there just to look pretty”, as she explained in a past interview or in Hollywood where she rewrites history for minorities in past eras of film that can easily be contemporized.
“Using your voice can create a platform for speaking out against injustices,” Harrier shared in an interview with Whowhatwear about the lessons she learned while portraying a student activist and powerful female figure in BlacKkKlansman. “I’m not a revolutionary leader, but I think we can all take something from that. Look at what’s going on around the world and figure out how can we talk to people in our communities and create change, even though it can be scary.”