Mia Wasikowska born 14 October 1989 is an Australian actress. After starting her career in Australian television and film, she first became known to a wider audience following her critically acclaimed work on the HBO television series In Treatment. She gained worldwide prominence in 2010 after starring as Alice in Tim Burton's $1 billion-grossing Alice in Wonderland and appearing in The Kids Are All Right, for which she received the Hollywood Awards' Breakthrough Actress Award. In 2011, Wasikowska portrayed the title character in Cary Fukunaga's adaptation of Jane Eyre, and starred in Gus Van Sant's Restless and Rodrigo Garcia's Albert Nobbs. In 2012, she appeared in John Hillcoat's Lawless and will appear in Park Chan-wook's Stoker.
She was born and raised in Canberra, Australia, and is the middle child of three, with an older sister, Jess, and a younger brother, Kai. Her mother, Marzena Wasikowska, is a Polish-born photographer, while her father, John Reid, is an Australian photographer and collagist. In 1998, when she was eight years old, Wasikowska and her family moved to Szczecin, Poland for a year, after her mother received a grant to produce a collection of work based on her experience of having emigrated to Australia in 1974 at the age of eleven. Wasikowska and her siblings took part in the production as subjects; she explained to Johanna Schneller of the Toronto Globe and Mail in July 2010, "We never had to smile or perform. We weren't always conscious of being photographed. We'd just do our thing, and she'd take pictures of us."
Wasikowska began training as a ballerina at the age of nine, with hopes of going professional. She began dancing en pointe at thirteen, and was training 35 hours a week in addition to going to school full-time, her daily routine consisting of leaving school in the early afternoon and dancing until nine o'clock at night. A spur on her heel hampered her dancing. Her passion for ballet also waned due to the increasing pressure to achieve physical perfection and her growing dissatisfaction with the industry in general, and she quit at fourteen. However, she credits ballet with improving her ability to handle her nerves in auditions.
At the same time, she had been exposed to European and Australian cinema at an early age, particularly Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors trilogy and Gillian Armstrong's My Brilliant Career. Although she was shy and averse to performing during her school years, she became inspired to break into acting after watching Holly Hunter in The Piano and Gena Rowlands in A Woman Under the Influence, in addition to the opportunity of exploring imperfections in film. Despite having no prior acting experience, Wasikowska looked up twelve Australian talent agencies on Google and contacted them all, receiving only one response; she successfully arranged a meeting following persistent callbacks.
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