Lena Dunham is an American actress, writer, producer, and director.
Let’s see some intriguing facts about her!
1. Lena Dunham was born May 13, 1986 in New York City.
2. Her father, Carroll Dunham, is a painter, and her mother, Laurie Simmons, is an artist and photographer, and a member of The Pictures Generation, known for her use of dolls and dollhouse furniture in her photographs of setup interior scenes.
3. Her father is Protestant and of mostly English ancestry, and her mother is Jewish; Dunham has described herself as feeling “very culturally Jewish, although that’s the biggest cliché for a Jewish woman to say”.
4. Dunham attended Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn, where she met Tiny Furniture actress and future Girls co-star Jemima Kirke.
5. As a teen, Dunham also won a Scholastic Art and Writing Award.
6. She attended The New School for a year before transferring to Oberlin College, where she graduated in 2008 with a degree in creative writing.
7. She has a younger sister, Grace, a 2014 graduate of Brown University, who appeared in Dunham’s first film, Creative Nonfiction, and starred in her second film, Tiny Furniture.
9. Dunham has been a provocateur since the beginning. In fact, one of her earliest plays dealt with abortion. “I’ve been a passionate storyteller for better or worse for a long time. Better would be the eulogy that I wrote for my grandma,” she said in her speech. “[Worse] would be Waiting, the play about an abortion clinic that I wrote and directed in 10th grade, and staged almost entirely with girls who had not yet begun to menstruate.”
10. She became a bit fixated with W. Somerset Maugham at school. “The work that’s interested me has always been human nature, and ridden that line between truth telling, memoir and fiction. I remember we read Of Human Bondage in high school and the teacher said that W. Somerset Maugham has substituted his gayness with a limp and I was obsessed with reading every piece of information I could to find out: was he gay? Did he have a limp? What was really happening here?”
11. She was diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder as a child.
12. She continues to take a low dose of an antidepressant to relieve her anxiety.
13. Dunham worked part-time at Brooklyn boutique Geminola during her college years.
14. Dunham was educated at Oberlin College, Ohio, graduating with a creative writing degree.
15. During her time at Oberlin College, she began writing shorts and feature films.
16. In 2009, Dunham created the web series Delusional Downtown Divas (2009), which gained a cult following.
17. In the same year, Dunham released Creative Nonfiction (2009), her first feature film.
18. The up-and-comer’s next project, however, would be her big break: In 2010, at age 23, Dunham produced the short Tiny Furniture, a semi-autobiographical story about a college grad who gets ditched by her significant other, and, subsequently, moves back home with her mom and sister.
19. Dunham spent only $45,000 on the film, which she shot in her family’s apartment in just 18 days.
20. Dunham has never taken acting lessons. However, before Girls, she had bit parts in the 2011 HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce and the indie horror movie The Innkeepers.
21. In addition to creating and continuing to write episodes for Girls, Dunham directs and stars in the series; she plays Hannah Horvath, an aspiring writer who pays the bills as a barista, on the show.
22. The work wound up winning the South by Southwest Film Festival’s best narrative feature award.
23. Tiny Furniture’s success led Dunham to writer and filmmaker Judd Apatow, producer of blockbusters such as Bridesmaids and Knocked Up. Apatow signed on to executive produce Dunham’s debut original series, Girls, which airs on HBO, and follows the constant dramatic disasters and rare triumphs of a group of 20-something women living in New York City.
24. She reads all the Tweets about the show as the show is airing. “I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but I can’t stop it.”
25. Lena is not afraid to bare it all! Girls’ success could be attributed in part to her characteristic openness about her life. She’s not just open to being figuratively naked, though-her notoriously “imperfect” figure takes center stage on the program quite often (more than some viewers care to see).
26. Tedious shockjock Howard Stern was incredibly (and predictably) insulting about Lena when Girls first aired. “He said I look like Jonah Hill,” she said. She wasn’t offended. “He’s handsome!” He [Howard Stern] begged me for forgiveness.”
27. She believes everyone should write their own story. “Don’t wait around for someone else to tell your story,” she said. “Do it yourself, by whatever means necessary. We live in this golden age of accessible technology: people make movies on iPhones, people get famous on Vine – which, I don’t even know what Vine is, didn’t even exist a year ago – people get book deals on Twitter, so you can go forth and conquer.”
28. Following the success of Girls, her co-star Adam Driver has found further success the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis and the critically-acclaimed indie film Tracks, and rumour has it that he’ll be playing a villain in the upcoming J.J. Abrams Star Wars flick. Dunham is happy for him, but she asked where all the good parts are for the women of Girls. “People are ready to see Adam play a million different guys in one year – from lotharios to villains to nerds,” she said. “Meanwhile, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet are still waiting for parts they can get interested in.”
29. Reluctant Girls fans overshare when they see Lena in the street. “A lot of people feel the need to say, “when I first saw the show I hated it and I hated you. And now I’ve watched more and I really love it. It’s like, ‘why don’t you just leave out the first part? It’s like being told by a guy ‘you’re really pretty for a fat girl’. You don’t need both sides!”
30. Three episodes of Girls were screened to positive response at the 2012 South by Southwest Festival. The first season premiered April 15, 2012, and has garnered Dunham four Emmy nominations for her roles in acting, writing, and directing the series.
31. Lena was one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World (2013).
32. She has won two Golden Globes, one for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series and another on the show’s behalf for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy.
33. The star scored media buzz following her Golden Globe acceptance speech in January 2013; during her narrative, she thanked actor Chad Lowe, poking fun at Lowe’s ex, Hilary Swank, for forgetting to mention her then-husband in her 2000 Oscar-winning speech.
34. Dunham signed a $3.7 million book deal last October. Her upcoming collection of essays, titled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned, will be an anecdotal set of her personal experiences with a bent toward advice. Her recently acquired status as a creative authority, especially for young women, has made this release widely anticipated.
35. Lena is dating Fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff.
36. Even though she’s rumored to be engaged to Antonoff, she won’t wed him until gay marriage is legalized. That’s right, Lena – stick it to the man (or woman!). It’s hardly surprising that she’s one to take a stand, especially when it has to do with sexuality.
37. Dunham appeared in a video advertisement promoting President Barack Obama’s re-election, delivering a monologue, which, according to a blog quoted in The Atlantic, tried to “get the youth vote by comparing voting for the first time to having sex for the first time”.
38. Dunham hosted Saturday Night Live on March 8, 2014 with musical guest The National.
39. Lena Dunham’s net worth is $10 million.
40. She currently lives in New York City.