Jennifer Lawrence is considered one of Hollywood’s hottest commodities – an actress who not only has the chops to win Oscars but who can easily carry a blockbuster franchise. She’s extremely talented, can shoot a mean bow and arrow, knows how to disarm journalists with her easy, down-to-earth charm – and naturally, she’s a knockout.
Lawrence got her start in one of those classic “Hollywood” moments when, at 14, she was spotted by talent scout while on a spring break trip to NYC — and it changed her life forever. Her mother wasn’t keen on her daughter pursuing acting, but finally allowed Lawrence to move to Los Angeles, where she quickly picked up steam. Nabbing a small role on the TV movie Company Town, Lawrence went on to make several guest appearances on shows like Monk, and eventually was cast as a series regular in 2007 on The Bill Engvall Show, playing the rebellious teenage daughter.
That show ran for three seasons, and she also co-starred in a few independent films such as Garden Party and The Poker House before getting her big break in Winter’s Bone (more on that below), which put her right on everyone’s radar. She hasn’t looked back since.
Here’s a chronological look at the gorgeous Lawrence in magazine photo shoots through the years – and how her career has progressed from the fresh-faced indie “It” girl to the mega movie star she is today.
15. MAKES HER MARK
After small movie roles and a TV sitcom (The Bill Envall Show), Lawrence got her big break in 2010 when the 19-year-old starred in the gritty indie drama Winter’s Bone – and received her first Oscar nomination for Best Actress. In it, she plays Ree, an unflinching Ozark mountain girl who takes care of her mentally ill mother and two younger siblings in a rather bleak environment. When she finds out her meth-dealing father has gone missing after putting up their home as collateral to the authorities, she sets out to find him in order to save her family from becoming homeless. Her journey is met with brutal opposition from the local folk, who want her to stay out of their business.
Even though she didn’t take home the Oscar (it went to Natalie Portman for Black Swan), it was a tour de force performance, labeling Lawrence the new “It” girl. In her 2011 Elle magazine interview, Lawrence’s signature self-depreciation and sense of humor came shining through. Talking about getting ready for the Oscars, Lawrence recalled, “Fifteen minutes before, the guy doing my hair goes, ‘If you can get a salad, get a salad.’ I said, ‘I’m getting a Philly cheesesteak.’ I’m sure there’s proof on a hotel bill somewhere.”
14. HER MYSTIQUE
Lawrence quickly followed up Winter’s Bone by snagging a big role in the 2011 superhero outing X-Men: First Class, playing the younger version of Raven Darkholme, aka Mystique. The X-Men reboot/origin story – which also starred James McAvoy as a young Charles Xavier, aka Prof. X, and Michael Fassbender as a young Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto – cemented Lawrence squarely in the cinematic firmament.
She was also becoming a magazine darling. In her photo shoot with GQ in 2011, Lawrence looked pretty in a throwback ’50s bathing suit (and there are some more hot photos here). X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn told GQ he was impressed with Lawrence’s audition tape. “There are a lot of young American actors right now who haven’t got any technique. And to be blunt, a lot of these kids assume that just by having a good set of teeth and tits, smiling for the camera’s gonna be enough. I needed someone who could act.” Well, he got that.
13. THAT ‘HUNGER’ FEELING
And then came The Hunger Games. Lawrence struck gold in 2012 when she landed the role of Katniss Everdeen, the stalwart heroine in the hugely popular YA novels about a dystopian society that sends two teenagers from each “district” into a manufactured arena to battle it out until only one is left standing. As Katniss, Lawrence completely embodies the character, bringing a mix of steely resolve and enormous compassion to the role.
Much like what Twilight did for Kristen Stewart, Hunger Games also sent Lawrence’s profile into the stratosphere, as she navigated her place in the rabid fandom of the books. The actress admitted to Glamour in 2012 that her newfound fame is “just scary. I feel like I got a ticket to go to another planet and I’m moving there and there’s no turning back, and I don’t know if I’m going to like that other planet or have friends there. It’s daunting.”
12. NOT YOUR TYPICAL STARLET
After the huge success of The Hunger Games, Lawrence continued to impress the world with her down-to-earth sensibilities – despite being one of Hollywood’s biggest new stars – and she stayed unguarded and uncensored in her interviews. For example, in 2012, she laughed with British Vogue that she had a “pizza hangover,” from the night before. “It’s OK, I’m between movies, I can eat. But five slices of deep crust with ranch dressing on the side? What the f**k is the matter with me? I woke up this morning and my face was so bloated I could barely open my eyes. Believe me, normally? I’m waaaaaay cuter than this…”
Although she did get into serious shape to play Mystique because, as she once put it, if she’s going to be mostly naked in electric blue paint, she better look pretty cut, Lawrence has also been a big supporter of staying true to your body type. “It’s hilarious, the way I’m supposedly the overweight one?,” she smirked. “Like, they got me at the movies yesterday and the caption read something like ‘Curvy star cannot wait to dig into tub of popcorn.’ I mean, c’mon! I’m just a normal girl who likes to eat! At least they got me using my hands.”
11. HER ‘SILVER’ LINING
Lawrence is one of those rare actresses who manages to go from huge blockbuster franchises to smaller, independent dramas in a blink of the eye – especially when she finds the right director to channel her talents. When she teamed up with director David O. Russell for the 2012 drama Silver Linings Playbook, a cinematic power duo was born. Lawrence sheds the bow and arrow and braid as Katniss and portrays Tiffany, another tough but emotionally damaged woman who is grappling with grief and trying to find her place in the world.
The performance not only earned her another Oscar nomination for Best Actress, but she also picked up her first win. And in a pure J.Law move, she tripped going up the stairs to accept the award. “You guys are just standing up because I fell and that’s really embarrassing,” she said to the Oscars audience as they gave her a standing ovation. Later, backstage, she added to press, “What went through my mind when I fell down? A… a bad word… that I can’t say. It starts with ‘F’.” Yeah, pretty much everyone fell in love with her that night.
10. GIRL STILL ON FIRE
Coming off the high of an Oscar win, Lawrence went right back into Katniss mode to star in the second Hunger Games installment, Catching Fire, which was released in November of 2013. At this point, Lawrence’s anonymity was nearly non-existent, which frustrated her at some points. Telling Vanity Fair, “As much as this is a curse, as stupid as it sounds, to make as much money as I am by doing something that I love, it’s hard not to regret it when you’re being chased by 15 strangers.”
Then again, the actress also saw how positive her portrayal of Katniss could be. She told a story of a young girl visiting the set from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The little girl had been burned badly in an accident, and with scars all over her body, she had once been embarrassed by her appearance. Lawrence said, “Now she has the nickname the Girl on Fire, but she loves it and wears it proudly. It gives her confidence. That was the first time in my entire career that I actually felt like there was a point in this.”
9. DOING THE ‘HUSTLE’
Along with Catching Fire in 2013, American Hustle, Lawrence’s second film with director David O. Russell, came out at the end of the year – and generated Oscar buzz almost immediately. In her second collaboration with Russell, Lawrence took a slightly smaller role, as the neurotic and bored wife of Christian Bale’s con-man character, but totally stole the show when she was onscreen. In one memorable scene, her character vacuums and cleans the house, lip-syncing Paul McCartney & Wings’ “Live or Let Die” with all her might, as her young son watches. Hands down, it’s one of the best sequences in the movie.
Russell wrote the part of Rosalyn expressly for her. Lawrence told Vogue in 2013, “Rosalyn is 100 percent a product of David’s imagination. She’s a manic-depressive alcoholic, and I couldn’t wait. Plus, I got to make out with Christian Bale.” The actress earned her third Oscar nomination, this time for Best Supporting Actress, but lost out to Lupita Nyong’o for her turn in 12 Years a Slave.
8. RETURNING TO HER ‘FUTURE PAST’
At the end of 2013, Lawrence surprised fans when she cut off her long, blonde locks into an adorable pixie cut. She explained that she had gotten a mid-length bob earlier in the year, but when it started to grow out, she grew tired of it. “It grew to that awkward gross length and I kept putting it into a bun, so I just cut it off. It couldn’t have gotten any uglier!” The new cut definitely suited the actress.
In 2014, Lawrence also geared up for reprising her role as Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the second installment of the X-Men reboot movies. Many consider it the best of the X-Men bunch for combining the original X-Men cast (Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan) with the new one. Although Lawrence once again had to be half naked on set when she appeared as Mystique in her natural form, she noted that she also loved wearing the ’70s clothes.
7. SINGING HER FAREWELL MOCKINGJAY SONG
In 2014, Lawrence headed into the last two movies in The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2 – and it was a bittersweet time for the actress. On the one hand, she was used to leaving characters behind once she played them, but being Katniss Everdeen for so many years was a little different. She said at the Mockingjay Part 2 press conference that once the press tour was over and it was finally done, it’s “going to be a pretty weird feeling, just on a personal level. These movies have been my life for so many years.”
The fame thing, however, continued to bother the actress, and she was pretty candid about her feelings on it. She told Marie Claire in 2014 that when she used to look at people and smile at them, “now all I do is look down. When I’m at dinner and one person after another keeps interrupting to take pictures, it’s like, ‘I can’t live like this.’” Just don’t invade her privacy, okay?
6. THAT SNAKE PHOTO
This photo of Jennifer Lawrence is probably her most famous (and sexiest) because, well, she’s naked with a python wrapped around her body. As the March cover story for Vanity Fair in 2015, Lawrence looked simply stunning in the Patrick Demarchelier photos – and there’s a story behind the snake. “Jennifer has the perfect combination of strength, sexuality, and humor, and, above all, tomboy to pull this off,” said Vanity Fair fashion and style director Jessica Diehl, who styled the shoot, but when the snake started nuzzling a little too much with Lawrence’s neck, that’s was it. Jen was done.
It’s in this issue that Lawrence also addressed having her phone hacked, an incident that saw naked photos of her being plastered all over the Internet. She called it a “sex crime” and told VF, “It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting. I can’t believe that we even live in that kind of world.” The hacker was eventually caught and sentenced to nine months in jail.
5. HER ‘JOY’ IN LIFE
Lawrence’s third collaboration with Russell was the 2015 movie Joy, which centered on Joy Mangano, the real-life inventor of the Miracle Mop and queen of her own personal empire on the Home Shopping Network. The actress once again plays a determined woman who is driven to give her children a better life — despite great odds stemming from a highly dysfunctional family.
The actress explained to Time magazine in 2015 about her love for Joy. “The whole inspiration came from such a pure place of wanting to celebrate the unsung heroes of the household, women that forfeit their entire lives for their families and love them very much, but also love themselves and have their own desires. And that’s OK.”
Three for three under Russell’s guidance, Lawrence earned her third Best Actress Oscar nomination (and fourth overall) for the performance, and won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical. She lost the Oscar to Brie Larson, who took it home for her turn in Room.
4. TAKING A STAND
As Lawrence matured into an even more stunning actress, she also started speaking up about some things she didn’t think was quite fair — namely, why her male co-stars were paid more than she was. Penning an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter, Lawrence said she found out she made significantly less than her American Hustle co-stars after Sony was hacked and the information was made public.
She wrote that she didn’t ask for big salary, even though she was a huge star, because “I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’”
The actress added, “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likable! F**k that.” Lawrence was applauded for taking a stand and joined a growing chorus of other actresses speaking their minds about gender pay inequality, including Emma Watson, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, and Patricia Arquette.
3. SAYING GOODBYE TO MYSTIQUE
In 2016, Lawrence reprised her role as Mystique in X-Men: Apocalypse, the final installment in the First Class trilogy. She also hinted hinted that it might be the last time she would play the shape-shifting mutant, telling EW that she’d only do another X-Men if Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy also came on board; plus, it’s a huge time investment. “I would love to come back. I love the fans and I love the character. But then you realize how important your year is, like how important three months out of your year is. I don’t know. I shouldn’t be that honest.”
Then there’s that damn electric blue makeup. The body paint was really starting to get to her. “I’m almost 25 and I’m like, ‘I can’t even pronounce this and that’s going in my nose? I’m breathing that?”
Turns out that the timing would prove to be right for Lawrence, Fassbender, and McAvoy to return to the franchise – they’re all set to reprise their roles in the upcoming X-Men: Dark Phoenix, which lands in theaters November of next year.
2. RIDING ON A SPACESHIP OF LOVE
With her big franchises mostly behind her, Lawrence moved on to the 2016 romantic sci-fi drama Passengers, teaming up with Chris Pratt. Stranded together on a spaceship when their sleep pods malfunction, the two are awoken 90 years before they reach their destination of a distant planet to colonize. The characters make the best of a bad situation and fall in love, even if it starts out a little rocky.
Although the film didn’t do gangbusters at the box office, Pratt and Lawrence had great chemistry together. “She’s such a goofball, and what’s annoying is that she’s so much better at switching it on and off than me. She can go from goofing off to serious-acting mode in a second,” Pratt told Vanity Fair. Let’s hope they make another movie together, because honestly, they just need to.
1. LOOKING AHEAD
Lawrence has a pretty packed slate coming up. She’s got the creepy looking horror drama Mother!, directed by her current boyfriend Darren Aronofsky, which centers on a couple who must deal with uninvited guests in their home. The poster alone – with Lawrence offering her ripped-out heart in her hands – is enough to give you the shivers. Mother! is set to hit theaters in September.
Then in 2018, Lawrence will be starring in the spy thriller Red Sparrow, directed by her Hunger Games helmer Francis Lawrence, as well as the aforementioned X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Plus, she just signed on to work with director Adam McKay in Bad Blood, based on the true story of Elizabeth Holmes and the rise and fall of her controversial bio-tech company. This starlet’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Do you have a favorite Jennifer Lawrence movie moment? Let us know in the comments!
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