The Diary Of A Teenage Girl is one of 2015's buzziest independent films, and one that's sure to shake up commonly held notions of femininity and adolescence. Based on a graphic novel, the film tells the story of Minnie, a young woman discovering and accepting her sexuality in '70s San Francisco. First-time director Marielle Heller has a cast of familiar faces surrounding her leading lady, including Kristen Wiig, Alexander Skarsgard, and Christopher Meloni. But the breakout star of the film is lesser known, and viewers might be wondering, who is the actress who plays Minnie in Diary of a Teenage Girl? The movie's star is Bel Powley, and she plays 15-year-old Minnie with abandon, vulnerability, and humor.
Powley is actually seven years her character's senior, and so has the distance to consider Minnie without judgement but also fresh memory of her own teenage experience. She told Teen Vogue, "I tapped into that extremity of having all of my emotions on the surface. I tried to remember growing up, when everything felt like it was such a big deal." Right now, it's Bel Powley who's about to become a big deal. Her performance has been praised widely already; Variety says that the actress "invests Minnie with a strength of character," while HitFix hails her "transformative work." Clearly, hers is a face that will be around for a while, so here are six things you need to know about rising star Bel Powley.
1. That California Girl Accent Doesn't Come Naturally
Bel Powley was born and raised in West London, and was on stage with the Royal Court theater by the ripe old age of 17. So she usually speak's the Queen's English, not San Francisco's.
2. She Asks Herself The Same Questions That You Do
Self-awareness is important. And self-acceptance is too. A world full of just Gryffindors wouldn't function properly.
3. She Became A Secret Agent At 12
As a preteen, Powley auditioned for and won the role of Daisy Millar in M.I. High, a British television series about a team of kid super-spies. She stayed on the show for two years, and had a blast. "I probably would have done it all for free," she told Interview later.
4. And Became A Princess At 22
In this year's A Royal Night Out, Powley plays a young Princess Margaret. The movie fictionalizes a famous and now almost mythical evening when Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth (the future queen) were allowed to celebrate the end of World War II among their constituents.
5. She Was Born Into A Showbiz Family
Warning: there's an impressive amount of NSFW language in the clip above.
The acting bug must be hereditary. The star's father is Mark Powley, and he was a fairly steady presence on British television in the '80s. He's shown up more recently in Bronson with Tom Hardy and in the ITV detective drama Lewis. Meanwhile, Powley's mother is a writer and a casting director. No wonder the Diary actress adjusted so well to life after teen stardom.
6. She Spends A Lot Of Time With This Dashing Gentleman
Powley and Adam Gillen met when they both starred in the ITV series Benidorm, a sitcom about a family resort in Spain. From the looks of her Instagram, the two are most likely dating. And are, if I may say, quite adorable.
Bel Powley is one to watch, and with Diary, she's just scratched the surface of her contribution to film.
Image: Sony Pictures Classics