Maya Hawke Is Owning Her “Nepo Baby” Label

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Maya Hawke is embracing her “nepo baby” label.

In a recent interview with The Times, the 25-year-old daughter of actors Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke mused on the subject of nepotism in the entertainment industry. When asked whether she thought she “deserved” her success, she replied, “ ‘Deserves’ is a complicated word. There are so many people who deserve to have this kind of life who don’t, but I think I’m comfortable with not deserving it and doing it anyway. And I know that my not doing it wouldn’t help anyone.”

new york, new york april 11 ethan hawke and maya hawke attend a screening of wildcat at angelika film center on april 11, 2024 in new york city photo by roy rochlingetty images
Roy Rochlin

She went on to explain that early in her career, she leaned into her parents’ fame in lieu of less appealing alternatives. “I saw two paths when I was first starting, and one of them was: change your name, get a nose job and go to open casting roles,” she said. The other choice (which left her name and face as-is) evidently embraced nepotism.

Hawke then acknowledged that her family has afforded her a certain level of privilege—especially when it comes to connecting with others in the industry. The young actor (and Harper Bazaar's May 2024 Music Director) recalled landing a role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2019 film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, saying she sent in an audition tape featuring her famous father. “I've been wildly made fun of for this clip when I said, on the red carpet, that I auditioned. I never meant to imply that I didn't get the part for nepotistic reasons—I think I totally did.”

That said, she starred in the movie alongside fellow nepo babies Margaret Qualley and Rumer Willis, although Hawke was the only one who made it into NY Mag’s viral article highlighting all the nepotistic careers in Hollywood. With so many famous family trees listed, it became clear that it was actually easier to list the people who weren't nepo babies rather than the people who were.

So while Hawke admitted the advantages she got from her parents, she accepted that sometimes, people are going to poke fun at nepo babies like her. “It’s OK to be made fun of when you’re in rarefied air,” she said. “It’s a lucky place to be. My relationships with my parents are really honest and positive, and that supersedes anything anyone can say about it.”

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