9 Things You Need To Know About Brit Marling

Here's the lowdown on the talented actress

Brit Marling

by Grazia |

As the mysterious lead (and co-creator) of Netflix's cult hit The OA, Brit Marling has become a household name. The multi-talented star's career has been on the rise for some time, ever since she set the Sundance Film Festival alight in 2011, taking two films that she starred, co-wrote and co-produced, Another Earth and Sound of my Voice, the latter of which she worked on with her The OA collaborated Zal Batmanglij. But what else do we know about the 34-year-old blonde beauty? Here's the lowdown on your favourite new Hollywood actress.

1. The reason behind her unusual name

Brit isn't short for Britney - it's actually her whole name. Why? Well, her parents named her after her Norweigen maternal grandmother, who also has the unusual moniker. In the UK, it's actually a man's name (who knew) while it is frequently used as a nickname for Birgitta in Scandanavia. Now you know.

2. She's super smart

D'uh. A woman of many talents, Brit is not only an accomplished actress, giving nuanced performances, but she's also a great writer and director who can work on multiple mediums (including documentaries and short film). It's no surprise then that she was her class valedictorian and got two degrees in economics and studio art from Georgetown University.

3. She almost didn't become an actress

Brit's parents (rightly) encouraged her to follow academic studies while still at school, and she even did an internship with the investment bank Goldman Sachs in New York. However after finding the work unfulfilling, she turned down a permanent job offer, instead jetting off to Cuba to work on her documentary Boxers and Ballerinas with university friend and frequent collaborator Mike Cahill.

Brit Marling

Brit with designer Nicolas Ghesquière

4. She was a 'freegan'

A free-what? For two months in 2009, Brit and her friend Zal Batmanglij joined the so-called 'freegans' who lived in tents on the street and ate food salvaged from rubbish bins - indeed on their official website they describe their way of life as the 'total boycott of an economic system where the profit has eclipsed ethical considerations'. Of the experience, Brit said: 'We were young, hungry, and broke, and wanted to learn more about these ideas. We spent the summer traveling—train hopping cross-country, living on organic farms—and fell in with anarchist collectives and freegan groups. We were changed by that experience.'

5. She's collaborated several times with two of her uni friends

Brit made great contacts when she was studying: her The OA co-creator Zal Batmanglij also worked with her on 2007's The Recordist, 2011's Sound of my Voice and 2013's The East, while Mike Cahill collaborated with her on 2011's Another Earth and 2014's I Origins.

6. She's not dating Zal Batmanglij

Sorry, Internet, stop trying to make this happen. As much as fans of the talented twosome would love for them to be a 'thing', they're sadly not. In fact, Brit is currently single, although her and her other collaborater, Mike Cahill, HAVE dated in the past. In fact, they were together for 8 years, from 2004-2012.

Brit Marling

Brit with former boyfriend Mike Cahill

7. She gets quite deep on Twitter (and is funny too)

Unafraid to share her opinions, Brit is often outspoken about everything from the current political climate to her innermost thoughts, as well as refreshingly open with her fans, disclosing funny anecdotes, such as this one:

8. She got inspiration for her The OA character at a party

'I saw her from across the room, and she just seemed to be operating at a different frequency,' Marling told USA Today. 'So when she told me she had this near-death experience — and described leaving her body and what she felt inside herself on the return — you understand why she felt like a person who was both apart from the world, but also more deeply in it. The idea of a character like that became really appealing.'

9. Finally no, she isn't a scientologist

One of the most frequently Googled questions about Brit is whether or not just follows Hollywood's favourite made-up religion, Scientology. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that she's starred as a cult leader in Sound of my Voice. Who knows? Either way, she's never stated that she is a Scientologist, so we're inclined to say she isn't.

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