If you haven’t heard of Quvenzhane Wallis, then please give me the pleasure of introducing you. The 9-year-old actress gave a larger-than-life performance as Hushpuppy in the independent film Beasts of the Southern Wild, and now, she’s the youngest person ever to receive a best actress Oscar nomination.
This award’s season is looking bright for the young scarlet and she’s racking up nominations, including a Spirit Award for Best Female Lead and NAACP Image Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture. Last night, she won her first honor — Critics’ Choice Award for Best Young Actor.
Wallis has already made her mark in the acting world and her future is looking bright! Here are five reasons why we can’t stop talking about her.
1. She has a southern charm.
Quvenzhane has come a long way from her hometown of Houma, Louisiana. She’s as cute as a button and her southern charm, plus a heavy dose of talent, helped turn a mirco-budget film to a mainstream Oscar buzz.
2. She uses her real name.
Quvenzhane isn’t changing her name for anyone’s sake. Her mother, Qulyndreia, said her name is a combination of her own name, Quvenzhane’s father’s name, Venjie, and the Swahili word for fairy. It’s pronounced Kwe-VAWN-zhan-ay, but if you still have trouble saying it take a look at Quvenzhane’s Youtube tutorial here.
3. She’s fearless.
Quvenzhane auditioned for the role of Hushpuppy when she was just 5-years-old. She couldn’t even read yet but she beat out 3,500 other girls for the role. She was 6 when they shot the film, and she even helped cast her onscreen father, Dwight Henry.
4. She not trying to be grown.
The young actress acts like a normal 9-year-old. She calls the Oscars ‘the golden man’ and even admitted to almost missing the nomination ceremony. “I almost missed it. I was sleeping,” she said. And how does she plan to celebrate her history-making win? If she takes home ‘the golden man,’ Quvenzhane said she’ll celebrate with “pizza, chicken and waffles and good stuff.”
5. She’s goal oriented.
With such a big accomplish at a young age, some people may ask what’s next for the young star. Quvenzhane knows the answer. She said her ultimate goal is to be a dentist because she likes “to see people smile.”