No, actress Julia Garner is not related to actress Jennifer Garner. But Julia is quickly becoming an iconic actress on her own, thanks to a starring role as Ruth in Ozark and her supporting role in The Americans.
The Jewish actress has only been acting for nine years, but has already had a plethora of amazing roles. Julia explained she knew she was never going to get the young girl love interest roles. “Not that I’m ugly, but I’m not Hollywood-standard beautiful or that simple beauty. I was kind of weird looking, different looking. Especially at 16, I had weird curly hair and I had a gap tooth. I still have my gap tooth. I still look the same. So, I get cult members. I get pregnant Mormon girls. I get cannibals. I got a girl who was in love with a KGB secret agent who wore weird glasses. And even now, I’ve got Ruth.”
Let’s dive into 18 things to know about Julia Garner:
1. Julia Garner was born in Riverdale, in the Bronx, in 1994. She has one older sister, Anna, who is an artist.
2. Her mom, Tami Gingold, is Israeli and was a successful comedian who was on the Israeli Saturday Night Live; she’s now a therapist. Her dad, Thomas Garner, is from Shaker Heights, Ohio, and he’s a painter and art teacher.
3. She calls her grandma Savta, the Hebrew word from grandmother:
4. She started acting because she was shy. “I took acting classes for a hobby because I was very shy. I was 15 and I wanted to keep myself busy. I really liked how it felt,” Julia explains. However, she did star in some school productions before officially diving into acting:
5. Her debut role was at age 17 in Martha Marcy May Marlene in 2011 as a cult member. She went on to have roles in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
6. Her first starring role was in Electrick Children in 2012. She plays Rachel, a 15-hear-old girl from a fundamentalist Mormon community who finds out she is pregnant and believes it was a miraculous conception from listening to a cassette tape.
7. The director, Rebecca Thomas, helped Julia get into the role of a Mormon teen, as she explained. “Rebecca was raised Mormon, and she really guided me through everything. But Rebecca wasn’t fundamentalist, where they wear the braids and the long prairie dresses and it’s ‘Big Love’ and ‘Sister Wives.’ And you would see it all over, like if you went to Walmart in Utah. And me, coming from New York. I’m Jewish too. It’s very funny.”
8. She attended Indiana University; she graduated in 2015 with a degree in psychology.
9. After graduation, she was cast in The Americans as Kimberly Breland, the daughter of a CIA boss who is recruited by Phillip (Matthew Rhys). She was featured in a recurring role from season three through the end of the series.
10. “The first place that I was getting recognized was in coffeehouses in Brooklyn. It was film students and hipsters in Brooklyn referencing Electrick Children or We Are What We Are,” Julia told Vulture. “But if I was on the Upper West Side or near Lincoln Center, people would recognize me for The Americans.”
10. Now what she’s recognized for? Her break-out role as Ruth Langmore in Ozark, the Netflix crime drama. She speaks with a heavy Missouri accent.
On playing Ruth over multiple seasons, Julia said, “I love it. You don’t want the same arc. I feel my characters are not characters; I see them as people. You can’t really judge them. And I love that [the writers] change her all the time. Well, I don’t want to say ‘change’ because every year, people evolve, good or bad.”
11. In 2019, she won the Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in Drama, beating out four Game of Thrones actresses. In a stunning purple gown, she came to stage and yelped, “Oh my god, I’m shaking. Wow, whew. I wish that this was — this looks kinda like a piece of, like a chocolate, like a candy wrapper. I wanna give the opportunity to thank the people — I’m sorry I’m so nervous!! What I’m saying about the chocolate is I wanna give a piece to everybody who has been involved in my life. First of all, I wanna say thank you to Jason Bateman, I love you so much and you’ve been a guiding light through the beginning…”
Watch the whole glorious anxious mess of an acceptance speech here:
12. She shouted out the love of her life, Mark Foster, who is the lead singer of the band “Foster the People.” They met at the Sundance Film Festival, and after dating for 10 months, got engaged.
Here’s their engagement story, courtesy Vogue: “‘Both of us had a few weeks of quiet before I had to leave for Atlanta to start shooting season three of Ozark, so we rented an RV and took a road trip up to Montana to get away from the city and just be together,’ Julia says. One morning outside of Flathead Lake, Mark woke her up with a cup of coffee and took her on a walk by the water’s edge. ‘He read me a poem he had written to me, and when he finished, he dropped to a knee and asked me to marry him’ They then continued down to Yellowstone, where they camped under the stars. ‘It was surreal and beautiful,’ Julia remembers.”
13. Julia and Mark married at New York’s City Hall, just like Julia’s parents had, 40 years earlier. “I love pants suits, and I always thought that if I were to get married in a courthouse, I wanted to wear one,” Julia said. “I wanted a Carrie Bradshaw moment.”
14. “When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Turner Classic Movies. I remember loving All About Eve because it was the first time I saw Bette Davis. And later I became really passionate about films from the ’70s, which is the best era of cinema, I think,” Julia says. Her Instagram is full of throwbacks to this era.
15. Shall we talk about her amazing curly hair? It’s a dreaaaam. It wasn’t always curly, though, until puberty: “When I was like 12, suddenly my roots started growing out curly and the ends were straight. It looked like a rat’s nest — it was disgusting. I went to the hairdresser to fix it and he had to cut all my hair super short, so that all of my hair could be curly,” she recalls. “That was one of the weirdest experiences that I’ve ever had in my life. I went to school the next day and everyone was looking at me like, Who’s the new girl? My best friend didn’t recognize me.”
16. Her style icons are Audrey Hepburn, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and Diane Keaton.
17. She knows what works for her. “Look, I do weird parts — there’s always something wrong with my character or they are in a really weird situation,” Julia said. “I went on an abortion journey with my grandma, and that was my most normal part.” (That was with Lily Tomlin in the movie Grandma.) “A journalist once described me as, ‘go-to cult girl Julia Garner,’ and I thought that was really funny. Those are the interesting parts! Everyone is interested in cults. But I wouldn’t say I’m a go-to cult girl.”
18. Next up for Julia? She’s set to play scammer Anna Delvey in Shonda Rhimes’ drama Inventing Anna for Netflix. We need it, now.
Header Image of Julia Garner by Timothy Norris/Getty Images.