Early Career and Breakthrough on Television
Willa Joannachance Holland was born on June 18, 1991 in Los Angeles, California to parents Darnell Gregorio and Keith Holland. Her mother was married to director and screenwriter Brian De Palma from 1995 to 1997. Her biological father is a cinematographer.
Having exposed to film at an early age, she knew she would spend her life acting in film and television. While spending the summer with her family in The Hamptons, Steven Spielberg told her mother that she needed to be in front of a camera to start training her.
Shortly after returning to Los Angeles, she signed with Ford Modeling Agency when she was just seven and immediately booked a photo shoot for Burberry. In 1999, De Palma took her to a theatrical talent agency, giving her opportunities to appear in various national television advertisements.
In 2001, she worked with her father in Ordinary Madness. Her next role came in 2004 with The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, co-starring Asia Argento and Jimmy Bennett. The following year, she landed a one-episode role in the television series The Comeback.
Also in 2005, she was originally slated to star in the Fox series The Inside. She, however, left the show when writer Tim Minear was brought in to make major changes. In 2006, she gained recognition after being cast as Kaitlin Cooper, the younger sister of protagonist Marissa Cooper in The O.C..
She was initially a recurring character in the show’s third season but was promoted to be a regular cast in the series’ fourth season. The O.C. was a hit show during its run of four seasons, gaining Holland substantial attention. In 2008, she appeared as Jamie in Chasing 3000.
That same year, she starred in the independent drama film Garden Party playing April, a troubled teenage aspiring model who tries to make it in Los Angeles. She went on to appear in the coming-of-age feature Middle of Nowhere, playing Susan Sarandon’s daughter and also played Colin Firth’s daughter Kelly in Genova, released in the United States as A Summer in Genoa.
During this period, she was cast as the recurring character Agnes Andrews in Gossip Girl. She then starred as Audrey Anderson in the 2010 apocalyptic supernatural action feature Legion, starring alongside Paul Bettany, Lucas Black, Tyrese Gibson, Adrianne Palicki, Kate Walsh and Dennis Quaid.
The film received negative reviews from critics, with Paul Nicholasi of Dread Central saying: “The finished product is shockingly bad.” Despite the poor reviews, it went on to become a box office success, earning over $67 million on a $26 million budget.
Subsequent Projects and Plastic Surgery Rumors
Also in 2010, she appeared in the documentary Humanity’s Last Line of Defense. The following year, she joined the cast of Straw Dogs, a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1971 film of the same name. It garnered mixed reviews and became a commercial failure, only earning over $11 million on a $25 million budget.
She next starred as Davey Wexler in 2012’s Tiger Eyes. The film tells the story of Wexler, a young girl who attempts to cope with the sudden death of her father and the subsequent events and changes in her life.
It was also in 2012 that she gained further fame for her work in the adventure-action series Arrow. In the show, she plays the role of Thea Queen, the protagonist’s younger sister, who’s rebellious nature got her into her drug habit in the first season.
The young actress is just beginning to gain international attention for her few notable roles but she’s already sparking rumors of plastic surgery. She’s just 23, but she’s no exception to hundreds and thousands of young women opting go under the knife or receive minor cosmetic enhancements for the sake of beauty.
According to reports, Holland has had Botox injections to alter her jaw’s appearance. Observers even claim that she has been receiving Botox injections for several years already, giving her an altered facial register. The Arrow star vehemently denied these rumors, even threatening to file a legal case against those who have published such reports.