Prepare to be astonished even more: Quvenzhané Wallis is just 9 years old!
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The child actress was born August 28, 2003 in Houma, Louisiana. The first part of her name comes from a mixture of her parents’, teacher Qulyndreia and truck driver Venjie Wallis, Sr. The second part, “zhané,” means “fairy” in Swahili.
Quvenzhané Wallis had to lie about her age to land the role of Hushpuppy in “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” She was only 5-years-old, and the minimum requirement was 6. Still, she beat out thousands of other little girls to win the starring role; director Benh Zeitlin even rewrote the part to her strengths, like her screaming and burping on cue. Her performance led to an Academy Award nomination, and she became youngest person ever to receive a nomination in the Best Actress category.
“It’s exciting, this is special,” she told USA Today of the historical moment. “I’m going to celebrate with pizza, chicken and waffles and good stuff.”