Henwick at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con
Jessica Yu Li Henwick
30 August 1992
Surrey, England, UK
Jessica Yu Li Henwick () is an English actress. She was the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series, having starred in the children's show Spirit Warriors (2009-2010). She is also known for her roles as Nymeria Sand in HBO series Game of Thrones (2015-2017), X-wing pilot Jessika Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and the character Colleen Wing in Iron Fist (2017-2018), The Defenders (2017) and the second season of Luke Cage (2018).
In June 2009, it was announced that Henwick had been cast in the lead role of Bo for the BBC show Spirit Warriors, making her the first actress of East Asian descent to play the lead role in a British television series. For the role, Henwick trained in wushu with martial arts choreographer Jude Poyer. The show was nominated for several awards, including the Broadcast Awards 2011.
In early 2013, Henwick made her professional theatre debut in the international premiere of Running on the Cracks, based on the book by Julia Donaldson. Allan Radcliffe of The Times praised her "excellent" and "understated" performance, while the Guardian wrote, "with tremendous physical presence, Henwick captures the sense of adolescent righteousness, passion and confusion of a girl trying to create order in an unfair universe." Theatre critic Joyce McMillan wrote that Henwick was "outstanding as Leo".
Later that year she was cast as Jane Jeong Trenka in the drama Obsession: Dark Desires, which aired January 2014. The adaptation details Trenka's stalking in Minnesota, 1991, which she details in her book The Language of Blood. Henwick also joined the cast of Silk as new barrister pupil Amy. The series brought in an average of 5 million viewers per episode. She reprised her role for the spin-off radio series Silk: The Clerks' Room and later that year went on to play a young Oxford University student in Inspector Lewis.
In 2015 Henwick joined the cast of the HBO series Game of Thrones in Season 5 as Nymeria Sand, with Oscar-nominee Keisha Castle-Hughes and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers playing her sisters. The process included six months of training to use a traditional bullwhip. She continued performing the role until Season 7, when Sand was killed off in that season's second episode, "Stormborn".
Henwick played the X-wing pilot Jess Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The character's full name is established as Jessika "Testor" Pava in the spin-off novel The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure, which establishes her as an admirer of Luke Skywalker. Despite her limited screen time, the character of Pava has become a fan favorite. Pava later appeared as a supporting character in the comic book series Star Wars: Poe Dameron, which ran from 2016 to 2018.
In 2017, Henwick appeared in the second season of drama series Fortitude, as well as Colleen Wing in the Netflix television series Iron Fist. Although critical reception of Iron Fist was generally negative, Henwick's performance in the series was well received. She reprises the role for the series The Defenders, as well as the second season of Luke Cage.
At the end of 2017, Henwick was listed as one of Variety's Top Breakout Stars. Henwick's next role is the Fox feature film Underwater,Godzilla vs. Kong,Monster Problems and Sofia Coppola's On the Rocks.
|2014||Balsa Wood||Scotty||Short film|
|2015||Star Wars: The Force Awakens||Jessika Pava|
|2016||The Heart of the Forest||Akira||Short film|
|2016||The Headhunter||Aiko Koo||Short film|
|2017||Rice on White||Elena|
|2018||Yo! My Saint||Muse||Short film with Kenzo|
|2019||Baliko||Mara||Short film, also writer|
|Godzilla vs. Kong||TBA||Post-production|
|On the Rocks||Fiona||Post-production|
|2009-2010||Spirit Warriors||Bo||Main role; 10 episodes|
|2012||The Thick of It||Charlotte||Episode: #4.1|
|2014||Obsession: Dark Desires||Jane Jeong Trenka||Episode: "Silent Scream"|
|2014||Silk||Amy Lang||Recurring role; 5 episodes|
|2014||Lewis||Chloe Ilson||Guest role; 2 episodes|
|2015-2017||Game of Thrones||Nymeria Sand||Recurring role; 8 episodes|
|2017||Fortitude||Bianca Mankyo||Episode: #2.1|
|2017-2018||Iron Fist||Colleen Wing||Main role; 23 episodes|
|2017||The Defenders||Main role; 6 episodes|
|2018||Luke Cage||Episode: "Wig Out"|
|2020||Gods and Heroes||Alexia||Post-production|
|2015-2016||Dreamfall Chapters: The Longest Journey||Enu
|2013||Running on the Cracks||Leo||National tour|
|2011-2012||North by Northamptonshire||Helen||BBC Radio Four|
Sony Radio Award Nomination
|2013||Monday to Friday||Julie||BBC Radio Scotland|
|2014-2015||Silk: The Clerks Room||Amy Lang||Seasons 1 & 2|