Quvenzhané Wallis is a child actress, model and singer. She was born on August 28, 2003 to a teacher named Qulyndreia, and a truck driver named Venjie Wallis, Sr. Her unique name reflects a combination of her parents’ names and the word “zhané” is Swalihi for fairy. She has two sisters and a brother. Wallis auditioned for her first acting job at the age of 5, although her parents lied about her age to make her eligible for the part as the minimum age specified for the role was 6 years. She was selected out of 4000 other candidates to play the part of “Hushpuppy” in the film “Beasts of the Southern Wild”.
The director of the film was Benh Zeitlin was very impressed by Wallis’s audition as well as her outspoken personality, reading ability and clear voice. This was especially impressive, given Wallis’s lack of acting experience. Her role was the main character of the film, that of a child prodigy living with her dying father in Louisiana. Zeitlin said in several interviews how impressed he was by Wallis’s personality and even rewrote some of the dialogue to cater it to her confident, outspoken personality. The film was released on June 27, 2012 and it was immediately a huge success.
The film was featured at the Sundance Festival in January 2012, where it received excellent reviews and also won the Grand Jury Prize. It was also featured at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival, for which Quvenzhané Wallis flew to France. Here it won the Caméra d’Or award for Best first Feature Film and Wallis’s performance received critical acclaim. She received several awards and nominations for her performance, including the African-American Film Critics Association Award for best breakthrough performance, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for best breakthrough performance, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for best young performer, and the Hollywood Film Festival New Hollywood Award.
In January 2013, at the age of 9, she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar, making her the youngest actress in history to