A Natural Talent

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Kentucky-born, Jennifer Lawrence has come a long way since her first major role in the TV sitcom ‘The Bill
Engvall Show’, where she was part of the lead cast. After her transition into movies, her breakout performance in ‘Winter’s Bone’ won her instant praise. Since then, there has been no stopping her. Lawrence earned an Academy Award for her role in ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ making her the second youngest actress to win an Oscar. She was only 22. Shweta Bhatia discovers more about the actress and the force that drives her

It’s hard to miss a face like Jennifer Lawrence. Her dirty blond hair, pursed lips, icy blue eyes, husky voice and athletic build make her one of the most sought after actors today. J-Law, as her fans and colleagues fondly call her, always knew that she wanted to be an actor. After saving enough money from jobs like babysitting she decided to try her hand at acting and, at 14, moved to New York with her brother. “I didn’t grow up in an artistic house. I watched movies like ‘Home Alone’, but it was definitely Charlize Theron’s ‘Monster’, that convinced me to give acting a go,” Lawrence shared. After spending a few years struggling with crappy apartments, countless auditions and playing small characters in various shows, she bagged her first proper role in the TV series, ‘The Bill Engvall Show’, where she played Lauren Pearson, the oldest daughter. The show ran for three seasons and Lawrence was 16 when she won the ‘Young Artist Award’ for that role. But it was her acting ability in ‘Winter’s Bone’ that had the industry sitting up and noticing the young actor. Her performance was highly acclaimed by film critics and then there was no turning back for the utterly charming actor.

By 2012, she became a force to be reckoned with in the form of two franchises, ‘X-Men’ and ‘The Hunger Games’, which changed the actor’s life. But what many don’t know is that Lawrence hesitated when the offer for the famous trilogy came her way. She feared that she would lose her freedom. According to the actor, the ‘Twilight’ movies had catapulted its young actors into an extreme level of fame and she sensed that ‘The Hunger Games’ series would do the same to her. Lawrence worried that the fame that followed the release would affect her ability to go out in public or impact her future plans to start a family. But then she thought about the character and how much she believed in the story and agreed to the role. Post the release, just as she predicted, Katniss Everdeen, the role she played, captured hearts all over. Jennifer Lawrence had set a benchmark by her body of work.

Often described as a muse to the director, David O. Russel, Lawrence has worked on three films with him, ‘Joy’ being the last one. It hit the silver screens and received instant success at the box office. The first two were ‘Silver Linings Playbook’, for which she won her Academy Award for best actress and ‘American Hustle’. ‘Joy’ tells the story of a woman who is determined, strong, and ambitious while fighting all the challenges life throws at her. Much like the actor herself. Lawrence is known for her affable nature, strong personality and as a feminist who isn’t scared to speak her mind.

Lawrence was the first of the many actors to raise their views on gender equality and questioned the wage gap in Hollywood. “I was aware of the 21 percent general pay gap between men and women but when the Sony hack happened (where emails from Sony Pictures were leaked by a group called Guardians of Peace that revealed that Lawrence was paid considerably less than Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper). I saw those numbers and thought that it’s very possible that we, as individuals are doing this to ourselves. I figured if I had a voice I should use it in case there are other women out there that are not getting paid or not asking for money the way that they should be,” Lawrence said. It wasn’t that she needed or wanted the money but speaking out for fair compensation was of great importance to her, for which she stood firmly for. Ironically, she was declared as the highest paid actress in 2015, banking $52 Million.

The actor isn’t a stranger to controversy either. She was one of the victims of ‘The Fappening’, a hack on iClound accounts that saw the release of many explicit and personal pictures. Hackers had stolen personal photos of her and posted them online. But even that didn’t make her cower in shame. She stood up, expressed her anger, stated that it was a cyber crime and wasn’t apologetic about the personal nature of her pictures. After the hack, she spoke of the heart wrenching moment when she had to call her father and tell him about it. “It doesn’t matter how much money I get for my movies, having to make a phone call to tell your dad that something like that has happened, it’s not worth it,” Lawrence explained.

An out and out homebody, Lawrence loves to spend her days off relaxing. “When I’m not working, I am the laziest person. I can literally lie on a couch and watch television for 15 hours,” she says. Lawrence has gotten used to playing women who are fiercely independent and defined on their own terms. And with the way she has led her life and how she has handled controversy and upheaval, it makes sense that she is able to do so with ease. A live wire and an adorable klutz, who can forget her trip up the staircase at the Academy Awards, she exudes confidence like no other. She’s fun and hardworking and, above all, an outstanding actor. When once asked on what her future plans were? She replied, “My career is one thing in my life that I don’t plan. Things seemed to have worked quite well so far despite that.”