Jennifer Lawrence

"My parents were the exact opposite of stage parents. They did everything in their power to keep it from happening. But it was going to happen no matter what. I was like, 'Thanks for raising me, but I’m going to take it from here,'" said the ambitious young star.

Born on August 15, 1990, in Louisville, Kentucky, Jennifer Lawrence has a happy family background that's a far cry from the abused characters she's played in films. Her father Gary owns a construction firm and her mother Karen runs a day camp. The star has two older brothers, Ben and Blaine.

Known as Jen in her family, the actress displayed her strong motivation for the performing arts from a young age. At 14 she convinced her parents to take her to New York to audition for talent agencies.

Keen for their daughter to have an education, Jennifer’s parents wouldn't let her act until she had graduated from high school. However the teenager’s determination and intelligence meant she completed high school two years early.

"I never considered that I wouldn’t be successful. I never thought, ‘If acting doesn’t work out I can be a doctor.’ The phrase ‘If it doesn’t work out’ never popped into my mind. And that dumb determination of being a naive 14-year-old has never left me,” she says.

It was in the Big Apple that Jennifer was discovered by a photographer. Her photo was taken on the street and she was subsequently called in for an audition for an advert.

“This guy was watching me, and he asked if he could take my picture,” she says. ‘‘We didn’t know that that was creepy, at the time. So we’re like, ‘Sure.’ So he took my mom’s phone number, and all of a sudden all these (modelling) agencies are calling. And that’s when it all started.”

Despite not winning the part, the agents still signed up the 14-year-old.

She ended up spending that whole summer in New York and her first job came in the form of a commercial for MTV's My Super Sweet 16, which led to other ads for big names such as Burger King and appearances in TV series.

Howevertelevision wasn't enough for the teenage star, and she rapidly set her sights on the big screen. In 2008 Jennifer starred in Garden Party, The Burning Plain and Poker House. Her performance in the latter earned her the Outstanding Performance Award from the Los Angeles Film Festival.

Her part in The Burning Plain opposite Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger also earned her an award for Best Young Emerging Actress at the Venice Film Festival.

Nevertheless her portrayal of a unflinching 17-year-old struggling to keep her family together in a poor rural area as she hunts down her drug-dealing father in Winter's Bone is the role that has been cited as her ‘breakout performance’.

Jennifer was delighted to win the part, saying "I'd have walked on hot coals to get it. I thought it was the best female role I'd read – ever."

The film earned her a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination. Jennifer struck gold again in 2013, winning an Academy Award for Silver Linings Playbook

Playing the sex addict widow of a policeman, she explored some far fetched scenarios and hold her own against Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro.

Away from the screen, she was a breath of fresh Kentucky air in Hollywood. Jennifer questioned the obsession with making young woman lose weight and told how she refused to bow to producers demands for her to slim down. "It should be illegal to call someone fat," she told one interviewer.

Nor was the wunderkind afraid to fall - as she did on her to pick up her Oscar, before laughingly picking herself up.

Her partner in this whole adventure has been her British on-off boyfriend fellow X-Men actor Nicholas Hoult. He says her success is "fun to watch," and "she deserves it all".

In 2014, she picked up her second nomination for her supporting role in American Hustle. The ballsy starlet has also won praise for the Hunger Games series, in which she stars as action heroine Katniss Everdeen.

Surprisingly, she has never had any formal acting training. She relies instead on her ‘imagination’, something that must be quite extensive considering most of her roles have been very far removed from 'normal' life.

Speaking of her career choices, Jennifer said: “When you first starting acting, you can’t pick and choose. Those were the roles I was booking. It was me, the girl from Kentucky with the wonderful family. Everyone was seeing this ability to go to this dark place that I didn’t know that I had.”

“I auditioned for every comedy, everything under the sun. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been so smart to pick these things.

I’ve auditioned for all of those, but the comedies and the lovey-dovey movies didn’t pick me. The dark, dark dramas, the dirty indies picked me, and I couldn’t be happier.”
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