Who is Margaret Qualley? 7 Things You Didn't Know About the ‘Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood’ Star
From the moment she first catches the eye of Brad Pitt and goes on to deliver a brief, but bewitching performance as a hitchhiking hippie (and member of the Manson family) in Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood, Margaret Qualley has been on our radar. She’s just 25, but even with minimal screen time in the film, Qualley proves instantly she can hold her own next to cinematic legends like Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio, not to mention acting under the direction of Quentin Tarantino. She captivates for another reason, too: While watching her, you’re all but convinced you’ve seen her somewhere before. Spoiler alert...she’s the daughter of rom-com superstar Andie MacDowell. (It all makes sense now.)
So, what else do you need to know about Qualley? Quite a bit.
1. Like We Said, She’s the Daughter of Hollywood Royalty
Her mom, Andie MacDowell, has starred in films ranging from Four Weddings & a Funeral to Sex, Lies and Videotape. Her dad—Paul Qualley—worked as a model before divorcing MacDowell in 1999. (They met on the set of a Gap commercial.) A career in the arts is in her blood.
2. She’s a Former Ballerina, Too
Her mother enrolled her in classes when she was just four years old, according to an interview in British Vogue. She went on to join the American Ballet Theatre, where she danced six days a week. But just as she was set to start an apprenticeship with the North Carolina Dance Theatre Company, she quit. (“I’m tired. My knees constantly hurt. I walk with a limp because my hips don’t turn out perfectly, which means I’ll never be the dancer I want to be. So, I walked out mid-class. It was my dream and I threw it all away,” she told BV.)
3. You Might Recognize Her as the Maniacal Dancer in That Kenzo Commercial
It was the brand’s first fragrance launch in 16 years, so they tapped Spike Jonze to direct a much-buzzed-about short film to announce the product back in 2016. The opportunity allowed Qualley to bust out her dance moves yet again, but also get a little crazy. (“I hope Margaret Qualley takes over the world,” Jonze told BV.)
4. She Grew Up in Montana and North Carolina
Up until her parents divorced, Qualley lived on a ranch in Montana. At the age of five, she moved to Asheville, North Carolina, before eventually making her way to New York City. (According to British Vogue, Qualley still has a slight sing-songy Southern accent.)
5. She Got Her Big Break in ‘The Leftovers’
After quitting ballet, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London to try her hand at acting. Very quickly after, she landed the part of Justin Theroux’s daughter in The Leftovers, a much-acclaimed drama on HBO about a rapture-like disappearance of a part of the world’s population.
6. She Scored an Emmy Nod for Her Work in ‘Fosse/Verdon’
In the limited FX series starring Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, Qualley plays Ann Reinking, Fosse’s lover and muse—another part that allowed her to dance. In fact, she told W Magazine that she already knew all of Reinking’s numbers from repeated viewings of All That Jazz as a kid. To prep for the role, she also watched every dance film she could get her hands on. “I watched Flashdance over and over. And when I got bored, I figured out the dances in music videos. I can do every step of ‘Thriller,’” she explained.
7. Next Up, She’ll Star in ‘My Salinger Year’ Opposite Sigourney Weaver
The film—about a woman (Qualley) who leaves grad school to pursue her dreams of becoming a writer and work for J.D. Salinger’s famed literary agent (Weaver)—just got tapped to be the opener for the Berlin Film Festival. In other words, it’s going to be big and Qualley’s star status is on the rise.