After a strong run on Netflix with Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, many critic are saying Marvel has its first stumble of sorts with Iron Fist. However, for all the shortcomings of the March 17-launching martial arts series, there is real muscle to be found in the performances of Jessica Henwick. Here’s what you need to know about Netflix’s next big star before you see her kick ass on TV:
1. She has bruises to show for her role in Iron Fist
The 24-year-old actress plays Colleen Wing, the martial-arts master who runs a New York City dojo and helps Danny Rand (Finn Jones) take on bad guys. She laughed off the bruises she has all over her body from her many throwdowns in the show saying only this: “It’s pretty vicious, right?”
2. She also stars in Games Of Thrones
Jessica cracks a mean whip as Nymeria Sand on HBO’s Game of Thrones and gave us some insight into the next season of the hit show: “It’s quite explosive — that’s the word I would use for this season. The Sand Snakes meet some characters they’ve never seen before and the stakes of this season are as big as any previous season we’ve had.”
3. She gets what it feels like to be misrepresented
Amid Iron Fist‘s whitewashing allegations, Jessica had this to say as an Pan-Asian actress in Hollywood: “I know what it is like to be misrepresented and underrepresented but [the show] is more about Danny’s journey in New York and him finding his identity than it is about Asian culture. But Colleen is a fascinating representation of an Asian-American and so unusual, and that was really what sold me.”
4. Her mother is Singaporean
Jessica was born to a British father and a Chinese-Singaporean mother. She is the middle child and has two brothers. Her father, Mark Henwick, is the author of the best-selling urban fantasy Bite Back books. Her mother is retired but used to work in the retail business.
5. She finds her Danny & Colleen's on Iron Fist relationship to be quite a gender swap
“Colleen has this dark sense of humor, she can be a little bit bullish, and she’s struggling living hand-to-mouth — all characteristics we’re more used to seeing from male lead characters. Danny’s wide-eyed and naïve and innocent — he’s kind of an ingénue,” she says.
6. She admires Singaporean actors
“I think Adrian Pang is a brilliant actor and I know he has a wonderful theatre company called Pangdemonium. I also watched The Pupil (2010-2011). You know that MediaCorp law show? Rebecca Lim was great in that,” she enthused in a recent media interview.
7. She's friends with George Young
They got to know each other through mutual friends four years ago, starting off as e-mail pals before eventually meeting offline. George had nothing but praise for Henwick when asked about her. Nicknaming her “J-Hen”, the 35-year-old actor says: “We hit it off as e-mail pen pals, discussing all sorts of career moves – which we still do. J-Hen is an ambitious little punk who won’t stop until she’s the queen of the world.”
8. She had a cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Jessica flew an X-Wing as pilot Jess Pava in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will be in upcoming films too: “I’m contracted for three (movies), but no, I’m not in the latest one (The Last Jedi). Force Awakens is to date my favorite work experience. We had this thing where (director J.J. Abrams) would stop filming in the middle of a take, blast music over the speaker and everyone would have to dance. And everyone did!”
9. She knows a lot of martial arts moves
She says the coolest move she knows is the spinning hook kick: “I have very bad mobility with my hips, and when we started, it would just make me cramp and I couldn’t reach the height. Now, I can’t do it amazingly well, but I can pass.”
10. She loves hawker centres
“I love coming to Singapore and I especially miss the hawker centres. I know Newton Food Centre is very touristy, but I have very fond memories of that place. The chilli crab and the Hainanese chicken rice, they’re all just so good. Just last night, I had the weirdest dream about rambutans. It’s upsetting how much I miss the food in Singapore,” she reveals.