- Birth Name: Florence Rose C. M. Pugh
- Birth Place: Oxford, England
- Date of Birth: January 3, 1996
- Height: 5′ 3″ (1,62 m)
- Parents: Deborah Mackin and Clinton Pugh
- Residence: Los Angeles/England
- Years active: 2014-present
Florence Pugh was born on January 3, 1996 in Oxford, England. She is the daughter of restaurateur Clinton Pugh and dancer Deborah Pugh and has three siblings: actor and musician Toby Sebastian, actress Arabella Gibbins and Rafaela “Raffie” Pugh. She suffered from tracheomalacia as a child, which led to frequent hospitalisations. The wet weather in England didn’t help so the family relocated to Sotogrande in Spain when Florence was three years old following a doctor’s recommendation. They lived there until she was six, at which point they moved back to Oxford where she was privately educated at Wychwood School and St Edward’s School.
Florence grew up in the arts, always putting on shows for her family in their living room and attending her older siblings’ plays. Her desire was to become a singer so she started having guitar lessons at a very young age and because she often forgot what she’d learned, her mother Deb started recording her classes and uploading them on Youtube. Her mother said she could have her own artist name, since she was too young to have her real name shared publicly, so she went with Flossie Rose, a sweet mix of her childhood nickname and her middle name. The channel remained active from 2013 to 2016 and gained quite a lot of traction, with people asking when the next song was going to be. But at that time Florence was scared of the pressure to be an artist and feared she would have her childhood taken from her so she kept saying no to opportunities that came her way and although her singing career was kind of let to the side over the years, she has expressed multiple times that wants to do that again in the future.
BEGGINING OF CAREER
It wasn’t until 2014 that Florence got the courage to do her first audition – one she didn’t think would pan out, considering her knowledge of the industries’ lack of commitment in casting unknowns, thanks to her brother Toby’s experiences – but surprisingly enough, it didn’t take long for Florence to hear back from the producers, leading her to her first ever acting job, where she played Abbie Mortimer in Carol Morley’s The Falling alongside Maisie Williams. The film landed her nominations that year for Best British Newcomer at the BFI London Film Festival as well as for Young British/Irish Performer of the Year by the London Film Critics’ Circle.
After two intense years of auditioning, Florence was cast to portray a singer-songwriter in the dramedy pilot Studio City, her first lead role as well as her first american production. She has since talked about how awful the experience was, the reason being she was body shamed by the producers and felt like she couldn’t be herself. You can listen more about that experience on the ‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast presented by The Hollywood Reporter, available on multiple platforms. For her relief, the pilot was not picked up to series, which led her life into a different and much better direction when casting director Shaheen Baig called her about Lady Macbeth, which came out in 2016. The role of Katherine earned her acclaim and she won the BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film. In that same year, she also appeared in three episodes of ITV’s Marcella as Cara Thomas. Both roles featured a good amount of nudity, something that can be harrowing even for more experienced actors, but Florence – who had only been in one film before signing on to do those projects -, was not shyed away from the opportunities. In fact, she says every role she plays make her scared in a way and they are the best roles to play.
In 2018, Florence was quite busy playing Cordelia to Anthony Hopkins’ titular King Lear and appearing in the short film Leading Lady Parts in support of the Time’s Up movement. Later that year, she portrayed Elizabeth de Burgh in the Netflix historical film Outlaw King, co-starring Chris Pine as Robert the Bruce. She next starred in a six-part miniseries adaptation of John le Carré’s spy novel The Little Drummer Girl, in which she played an actress who becomes embroiled in an espionage plot in the 1970s. All of these roles credited Florence with respect and admiration from critics and were essential to her launching into stardom.
BREAKTHROUGH AND WORLDWIDE RECOGNITION
Florence starred in three major films in 2019 and Fighting with My Family was the first one. She played real life professional wrestler Saraya-Jade “Paige” Bevis in Stephen Merchant’s comedy-drama about Paige’s career. The film premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival with positive reviews. Soon after, it was reported by Variety that she was joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Yelena Belova in the standalone film Black Widow, which went into production in May. Florence then headlined Midsommar by director Ari Aster, receiving critical acclaim for her portrayal of the desolate Dani Ardor. Her third and final release of the year was the period drama Little Women, where she played Amy March in Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel. Florence received multiple nominations for her performance, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and was included on the entertainment category of Forbes magazine’s annual 30 Under 30 list, which recognises the 30 most influential people in Europe under age 30.
Following a phenomenal year, Florence experienced many firsts at the beginning of 2020, including a cover shoot in the January issue of Vogue and attending the Academy Awards. Unfortunately for all of us, soon came the COVID-19 pandemic, putting aside plans to release Marvel Studios’ Black Widow and the production of some of her other projects. During that time, Florence stayed at her Los Angeles home with Zach Braff – whom she has been in a relationship with since 2019 when he directed her in the short In The Time It Takes to Get There -, and joined the Acting for a Cause series for a live reading of Kenneth Lonergan’s play This Is Our Youth to help raise funds for the Entertainment Industry Foundation. She also appeared in the “mini-sequel” titled Father of the Bride, Part 3(ish), with the plot including a family reunion over Zoom. All actors recorded their scenes from their homes and the film benefited World Central Kitchen charity, supporting families and children who were suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2021, Florence received critical and public acclaim for her portrayal of Yelena Belova in the much anticipated and long awaited superhero film Black Widow, which premiered on July 9 in theaters and on Premier Access on Disney+ after suffering three delays. The press for the film was mostly virtual but Florence had her public appearance comeback at the film’s premiere in London on June 29, 2021. She is currently starring as Yelena Belova on Marvel Studios’ Hawkeye series for Disney+ alongside Hailee Steinfeld and Jeremy Renner.
Upcoming projects include the film adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s The Wonder, Zach Braff’s A Good Person and Olivia Wilde’s Don’t Worry Darling, all coming in 2022.
Last updated on December 2021. Written by Florence Pugh Vault based on multiple interviews available online.