The Stranger Things actor has officially snatched the elusive “breakout star” label—but what does that really mean?
GLAMOUR – To quote Jane Austen, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a TV series in possession of 40 million viewers and a 93% score on Rotten Tomatoes must be in want of a Breakout Star. And for Stranger Things‘ season three, that chosen one is Maya Hawke. As Robin, the witty Scoops Ahoy coworker of Steve (Joe Keery) and the first openly queer character of the series, Hawke stands out—not an easy feat in a cast that includes David Harbour (who plays Jim Hopper), Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), and Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven).
Another truth: The internet couldn’t have picked a better queen. Hawke, the 21-year-old daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, has the kind of coolness only someone who grew up in Manhattan with celebrity parents could embody. While that might manifest as intimidating or cold in others, Hawke is surprisingly approachable and energetic. And for her, being labeled the latest It girl or a breakout star is not an achievement worth putting stock into—which, of course, only makes her cooler.
“I really haven’t been paying attention to the headlines,” she tells me on the set of her Glamour shoot. “I was so scared of the fact that Stranger Things has such a wide audience that I’ve tried to duck out of paying attention to people’s reactions. The chance of people hating me in that show was just as high as people liking me in it, so I just thought I didn’t need to receive the ego boost or the ego destruction.”
Hawke, the 20-year-old daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, joins season three of “Stranger Things,” marking the start of her stand-alone moment in Hollywood.
WWD – Maya Hawke was partially trying to save on Ubers, and mostly calm her nerves, so she was walking around Los Angeles — miles and miles of walking. It was Oscar week, 2018, the city was abuzz, and she had just left a “funny little house” for her final audition for the new season of “Stranger Things,” the Netflix phenomenon from the Duffer brothers.
W MAGAZINE – Maya Hawke likes to joke that she applied to Julliard “just to avoid having to do well on the SATs.” But the reality is that she’s been acting for as long as she can remember—“I did every school play,” she says—and she’s never really been able to imagine herself doing anything else.
“I’ve been getting up on stage and saying beautiful words and trying to make people laugh since I was really little and nothing makes me feel better in my own skin,” says the lanky, still slightly coltish 20-year-old, who ended up dropping out of drama school after just a year, when her role as Jo March in the 2017 PBS miniseries Little Women conflicted with her class schedule. “For me, acting has always felt like something you just do—the idea that anyone didn’t perform in plays was bizarre to me.”
ELLE – “In a lot of ways, I have been preparing for this character my entire life,” says Maya Hawke, who plays the tenacious, theatrical Jo March in the PBS miniseries adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 1868 classic, Little Women (which will air May 13). Indeed, the 19-year-old actress seems as earnest and impassioned over vegan matcha lattes in a Brooklyn coffee shop as her Jo does, say, when rejecting a dear friend’s romantic advances onscreen.
Hawke’s preparations began when Hawke was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child; Little Women was one of the first books she read by herself. “Jo was a big inspiration to me,” she says, “as far as having the drive and the passion to pursue my love for reading and writing, even when it was challenging.” Hawke, who grew up in New York, ended up attending Saint Ann’s, an arts-oriented private school in Brooklyn, where she explored and nurtured her love of literature and theater.
VOGUE UK – Sunday mornings and teenagers do not, traditionally, mix well. But Maya Hawke isn’t – it quickly transpires as she arrives at a sun-filled studio in north London for her first Vogue shoot – the sort of 19-year-old to complain about an early start or to sit lethargically in the corner, silently observing the world behind lowered, disdainful eyelids. She wants to talk: about literature! Learning! Music! Acting! She has the excitement and boundless energy of a person who has left home for the first time and is getting her first taste of real independence, of responsibility.