Nicole Beharie talks about Juilliard and Jackie Robinson to Vanity Fair

AGE: 27.

PROVENANCE: West Palm Beach, Florida.

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU: Beharie made it through Juilliard’s notoriously rigorous drama conservatory. “Those programs beat it out of you, but also something into you. They give you a sense of humour.”

DRAMATIC FLAIR: Beharie landed her first movie role—in 2008’s The Express—before she even graduated from the world-famous school. “I thought I was going to do guerrilla theater in Central Park or be in my loft in Brooklyn, and it’s gonna be ‘cool artist chic.’ But I ended up kind of winning a great hand.”

UNCOVERED: Beharie, who also studied Shakespeare at Balliol College, Oxford, gained international recognition and acclaim with her role in 2011’s Shame, the film starring Michael Fassbender as a sex addict. “When they tell you what part you are serving—not as a cog—and you understand what to do, it kind of gives you wings. “

CAREER FIELD: While researching her role as Jackie Robinson’s wife, Rachel, in the 2013 biopic 42, Beharie met the woman she would be portraying. “She let me read letters they wrote to each other while he was on the road. The most incredible love story—that’s what drew me in.”


So is she going to be the latest Juilliard grad to hit the mainstream after Viola Davis and Jessica Chastain?