Larson’s critically lauded performance in the drama Room has put her front and center in this year’s award season race, and she’s already off to a good start. As announced this morning, Larson has earned a Screen Actors Guild nomination for the role, which will likely be just the first of many nods to come her way in the coming weeks. Here are 11 things you should know about Larson.
1. She’s been acting since a young age
Larson knew she wanted to be an actor since age 6. She got her start at 7 years old when she began performing in sketches on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Her first gig on the show? Starring in a parody commercial that Leno called “Mudslide Barbie.”
2. English is not her first language
Growing up, Larson’s first language was French. “It’s something that as I got older and I started learning more English, I started losing more and more of my French speaking,” she told The Film Stage. “But it is in there and I do know some of it still.”
3. Her name is inspired by an American Girl doll
Larson’s real name is Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers. Earlier this year, she told The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon that her choice of the stage name Larson was at least partially influenced by the American Girl doll, Kirsten Larson, she received as a child.
4. She has a pop star background
Before her acting career took off, Larson released a pop album, 2005’s Finally Out of P.E. But as she told Variety, she really only fell into the music world by accident. “I had no aspirations for that, but within seconds, I had a record deal,” she said. “Tommy Mottola signed me, and I was being flown all over the U.S. to write songs for my album.”
5. She has some big-name best friends
Larson is good friends with Shailene Woodley. The two co-starred in The Spectacular Now and shared a New York magazine cover, seen above.
6. She’s gone behind the camera
Larson co-wrote and co-directed the short film The Arm, which won the Special Jury Award for Comedic Storytelling at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
7. She’s already earned plenty of critical acclaim
While Room is by far her most spotlight-grabbing role, it’s not the first time that Larson has earned positive attention from critics. She co-starred alongside Amy Schumer in this year’s Trainwreck and also earned rave reviews for her starring role in the 2013 indie film Short Term 12.
8. Her hobbies include mycology and typography
In a Reddit AMA, Larson revealed that she’s studied mycology, the biology of fungi. Further proof of her passion for the study? She describes herself as “mushroom forager” on Twitter.
But that’s not her only unexpected hobby. Larson also enjoys designing typeface, something that she’s done since she was a teen and which she says helps her decompress. “I made three or four different fonts during Short Term 12 — it was how I’d calm my mind between scenes,” she told The Guardian.
9. Her role in Room took extensive preparation
To prepare for her role as the mother held captive in a small room, Larson isolated herself for weeks on end. She also spent six months in pre-production studying the effects of sexual abuse, as well as reading about people in solitary confinement and captivity. Unsurprisingly, the role took a toll on Larson, putting her through what she has since labeled an “emotional marathon.”
10. She’s not interested in the Hollywood spotlight
Though she’s now an Oscar nominee, Larson isn’t letting it go to her head. In fact, she completely shuns the label of “It girl.” “What is ‘it?’ There is no ‘it!’ And who was ‘it’ before ‘it?’ And when does ‘it’ go away? When did I get ‘it?’ Who’s gonna take ‘it?'” she recently told CBS. “It’s so weird. I think it’s a really funny term. I’m just a person. I’m not anything!”
12. She has more high-profile projects in the works
Room is just the beginning of what’s set to be a big few years for Larson. She’s set to star in the indie musical romcom Basmati Blues and the British crime drama Free Fire next year. She also nabbed a role opposite Tom Hiddleston in Kong: Skull Island, due out in 2017.