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Maya Hawke Doesn’t Mind Being a Nepo Baby: “I’m Comfortable With Not Deserving It and Doing It Anyway”

Photo Credit: Michael Campanella / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Michael Campanella / Getty Images

Maya Hawke has some pretty A-list parents. Her mother is Academy Award-winning actress Uma Thurman, and her father is Academy Award-winning actor and director Ethan Hawke. Given who her parents are, it’s no surprise that she’s decided to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Naturally, the conversation of nepotism has come up for her, and she says she doesn’t really mind it.

Maya Hawke thinks it helped her get a role

Maya Hawke on a red carpet.
Maya Hawke attends the 2019 American Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on November 24, 2019, in Los Angeles, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer / Getty Images for dcp)

Hawke’s big break into the acting world came in the form of the wildly popular Netflix series Stranger Things when she joined in 2019. This really got the ball rolling for her career, where she later starred in Asteroid City (2023) and Maestro (2023). However, around the same time as her work in the third season of Stranger Things, she scored a part as Flower Child, one of Charles Mansion’s followers, in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

She admits that the part in the film was likely given to her thanks to who her parents are. “I’ve been wildly made fun of for this clip when I said, on the red carpet, that I auditioned,” she explained. “I never meant to imply that I didn’t get the part for nepotistic reasons — I think I totally did.”

She discusses whether she “deserves” it

Maya Hawke and Uma Thurman.
Uma Thurman and her daughter Maya Hawke on January 22, 2019, in Paris, France. (Photo Credit: Stephane Cardinale / Corbis / Corbis / Getty Images)

A sticking point in the ‘nepo baby’ conversation is whether these people deserve the opportunities they are given. To this, she said, “‘Deserves’ is a complicated word…there are so many people who deserve to have this kind of life who don’t, but I think I’m comfortable with not deserving it and doing it anyway. And I know that my not doing it wouldn’t help anyone. I saw two paths when I was first starting, and one of them was: change your name, get a nose job and go to open casting roles.”

Ultimately, Hawke decided that embracing her nepotism was the best path to take. By doing so, she was prepared for the judgment that would be passed on to her by others. “It’s OK to be made fun of when you’re in rarefied air,” she explained. “It’s a lucky place to be. My relationships with my parents are really honest and positive, and that supersedes anything anyone can say about it.”

She’s also worked with her father

Maya Hawke and Ethan Hawke.
Ethan Hawke and Maya Hawke attend a screening of “Wildcat” at Angelika Film Center on April 11, 2024, in New York City. (Photo Credit: Roy Rochlin / Getty Images)

More from us: Gedde Watanabe Says He Didn’t Find His ‘Sixteen Candles’ Role Offensive at the Time

Of course, with such talented parents, it was only a matter of time before she joined them in their projects. More specifically, she starred in the Flannery O’Connor biopic Wildcat, which her father directed. “I had moments of insecurity about it while we were shooting the movie,” she said. “But the internet doesn’t have a lot of nuances. My dad has been a massive teacher for me, and we want to work together. We like being with each other.”

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Her father also had something to say about working with his daughter, saying, “If someone wants to criticize us for working together, that’s totally fair. You have to let people have their opinion. You just have to try to do a good job when you’re onstage.”

Samantha Franco

Samantha Franco is a Freelance Content Writer who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in history from the University of Guelph, and her Master of Arts degree in history from the University of Western Ontario. Her research focused on Victorian, medical, and epidemiological history with a focus on childhood diseases. Stepping away from her academic career, Samantha previously worked as a Heritage Researcher and now writes content for multiple sites covering an array of historical topics.

In her spare time, Samantha enjoys reading, knitting, and hanging out with her dog, Chowder!