The Untold Truth Of Mackenzie Davis

Curious about Mackenzie Davis? Well, while some actors are known for thriving in certain kinds of roles — for example, Eddie Murphy is beloved internationally for his work in comedy films like Coming to America and The Nutty Professor, and you typically saw the late Philip Seymour Hoffman playing serious roles in dramatic films — Davis breaks the mold. While both of those actors are brilliant in their own right, Davis has proven herself to be versatile young actress. She's starred in sci-fi films like Terminator: Dark Fate and Blade Runner 2049, showed her dramatic chops in Breathe In and Black Mirror's famous "San Junipero" episode, got scary in horror films like Freaks of Nature, and warmed our hopeless romantic hearts in the queer Christmas rom-com Happiest Season (via IMDb). That's a pretty impressive range!

Of course, there's more to know about Davis than what you see on her acting resume. In fact, she's quite the charming person, with strong convictions and ambitious goals for the future. Curious to know more? Read on to discover the untold truth of Mackenzie Davis.

Mackenzie Davis didn't start acting until after college

While many actors get their start as children and parlay that early work into adult acting careers, Mackenzie Davis was something of a late bloomer when it came to theater and film. According to Vulture, Davis attended college at McGill University in Montreal; there she studied English, but she didn't start her professional acting career until after she graduated. That's definitely a different trajectory than, say, Kirsten Dunst's or Natalie Portman's career.

But since Davis was young, she dreamed of a career on the stage and screen, which is why she started pursuing it on the side in college. "I took an acting class that I was so passionate about and devoted to, but I went to it privately and never really spoke about it," she revealed in a chat with Interview. "I'd have these ecstatic experiences in, like, a church basement and then never talk about it with other people."

It was those positive experiences that presumably further solidified Davis' resolve to become a professional actress.

Mackenzie Davis was a model, but says she was bad at it

While Mackenzie Davis knew she wanted to be an actress for a long time, before pursuing that goal, she took a shot at another career. "I took a semester off to pursue modeling," she told Interview. "I went to Europe and, as I've been told, ate my way out of a career." Given how slender and gorgeous Davis is, that is just ridiculous!

But Davis really did struggle trying to make it as a model, as she had a devil of a time getting into catalogues. "I walked in like, Paris Fashion Week adjacent [shows]," she revealed to Vulture. "I was the worst!" She added that she felt like she just wasn't cut out for the modeling world, and it seemed like everyone else could see it too.

While modeling clearly wasn't Davis' destiny, at least she did her best when trying to pursue it. Frankly, we're glad it didn't work out, as we absolutely love her work as an actress.

Mackenzie Davis moved to the U.S. after Barack Obama was elected

After Mackenzie Davis graduated from college, it was time for her to chase her dream of becoming an actress. To that end, she moved to New York from Canada to see if she had what it takes, as noted by Interview magazine. 

Davis' emigration happened to take place just after Barack Obama was elected president. Like many other folks, Davis was riding high on a cloud of optimism at the time. "I was one of many young people that felt that it was the dawn of a new day; that there was this figurehead who would erase the sins of the past or perform some sort of healing salve on the country," she confessed in an interview with the Independent. "And, of course, none of that was true."

While Davis is an immigrant in the United States, her privilege as a white woman is not lost on her. "I have glided through so many aspects of American life that would cause enormous difficulty to other people," she continued. Our girl is woke!

Mackenzie Davis said she evolved during Halt and Catch Fire

Fans of Halt and Catch Fire have been familiar with Mackenzie Davis for years, as she started working the AMC series back in 2014. And while she'd appeared in several films by that time, Davis was still a relative newcomer to the entertainment business. "My whole first year, I was figuring that out and copying things I heard other actors did," she admitted in an interview with Vulture. "It was really daunting for me, and I felt young."

Fortunately, Davis was surrounded by some incredible people during her tenure on Halt and Catch Fire, so by the end of filming in 2017, she'd grown immensely as both a person and an actress. "I learned how to work and be a professional," she continued. "I am still not 'the best' at standing on my mark, but my own personal taste and point of view has been so shaped and cultivated by this experience that yeah, I feel really indebted to it."

Working on Happiest Season changed Mackenzie Davis' career goals

Taking a glance at Mackenzie Davis' IMDb page, it's evident that the actress is capable of working in a variety of film genres. From horror to sci-fi to indie dramas, Davis has proven that she can do it all, which for a long time she quite enjoyed. "I used to really like the challenge of switching between genres and being conscious of not wanting to be one single thing," she explained in a chat with the Independent. "Tonal shifts really appealed to me." Certainly that would keep things interesting and varied over the years.

But will we see Davis continue to expand her range of roles in the future? Possibly not, as her desire to do it all has shifted, thanks to her work on one particular film. "Happiest Season was just two months of uninterrupted joy," she continued. "I realized I really like going to set every day and laughing." Who wouldn't want to do that every day on the job?

This is how Mackenzie Davis became a "lesbian thirst icon"

While Mackenzie Davis has been regularly working in Hollywood for years, it was her work in the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror that got her stopped on the street by fans (via Interview). And because that episode was especially popular in the LGBTQ+ community, it made Davis something of a queer icon — and she's here for that. "I'm so happy to be a part of it," she gushed in an interview with Vulture. "I just think that's so cool." 

Additionally, the nuanced plot of "San Junipero," which chronicled the exploits of a lesbian couple, delighted queer viewers. And given that Davis was one of the episode's stars, it rendered her a fan favorite. "I feel like lesbians haven't really had their time the way gays have, but lesbians are having a time right now in such a satisfying way," she continued. "I'm so honored to be in any way involved or invited to participate in small doses."

Going on to star as a badass, time-traveling soldier in Terminator: Dark Fate only solidified Davis' status as a "lesbian thirst icon." After that, Happiest Season was the cherry on top.

Mackenzie Davis didn't realize "San Junipero" was going to become so important

Speaking of the "San Junipero" episode of Black Mirror, when Mackenzie Davis signed on to star in it, she didn't know that it would become utterly iconic in the queer community. "I went into it totally self-interested," she revealed to The Guardian. "I wanted to work with these people, and I loved this story. I failed to recognize the cultural importance."

However, after the fact, Davis quick realized why "San Junipero" had been added to queer canon. "It wasn't until it came out that I was like ... people have been screaming for this, and now there's a positive rendering of a queer relationship," she continued.

Davis added that the Emmy Award-winning episode of Black Mirror may have played a part in the queer film and television renaissance that seemed to follow. "I think Charlie [Brooker] is somebody who was doing something before there was a critical and commercial outcry for it," she added. And that's when savvy folks in the entertainment industry realized there was a market waiting to be tapped.

People accused The Martian of whitewashing Mackenzie Davis' character

Mackenzie Davis seized the opportunity of a lifetime when she was cast as Mindy Park in the 2015 blockbuster The Martian. Helmed by director Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, the film was critically lauded and beloved by audiences (via Rotten Tomatoes). However, in retrospect she learned that her character — Mindy Park — was supposed to be Korean. That's why there was a backlash after the film's release, as it was accused of whitewashing.

While Davis is totally aware of the gaffe in casting now, she had no idea it was an issue at the time. "I totally feel that complaint," she revealed in an interview with Vulture. "I had no idea. So I auditioned for the movie." And, of course, she was cast.

In retrospect, Davis regrets she played a part in the whitewashing of The Martian, though she's not sure how she would have acted had she known better. "I don't mean to absolve myself of any complicity because I didn't know," she continued. "But I thought a lot about it because it took me by surprise. I feel very affected by it."

When Mackenzie Davis sees herself in ads, she says it's like seeing a ghost

Given that Mackenzie Davis has starred in big-budget films like Blade Runner 2049, Terminator: Dark Fate, and The Martian, it's no surprise that she sees herself in advertisements. Still, for as many times as that's has happened to her, it's still surreal for the actress. "It feels like seeing an avatar," she explained in a chat with Vulture. "I was in London with my friend while we were there for press, and we were walking around and a bus went by with the movie on it." Can you imagine how weird that would feel?

As Davis described it, seeing her image promoting films is like seeing a version of herself that doesn't really exist. "It's like you have a ghost self that goes and does these things, and you don't really look anything like that person or share any of their qualities, but you're like, 'Aw, she's on a bus!'" she added.

Even Mackenzie Davis struggles with her confidence

Mackenzie Davis may be a world-famous actress with some seriously impressive credentials, but that doesn't mean she sits on a high horse because of her accomplishments. In fact, Davis struggles with her confidence just like anyone else; that was certainly the case when she was filming Happiest Season. "I'm like, 'I don't know how to do this and everyone is finally going to see it on this one,'" she revealed in an interview with the Independent.

Fortunately, having Kristen Stewart, who's had her own stunning transformation in Hollywood, around on set was a balm for any of Davis' insecurities. The actresses ended up bonding about the struggles of acting for a living, which put Davis at ease. "She's been doing this forever and is, you know, somebody that seems very stable and secure in their enormous success but also gets the same feelings I get every day," Davis continued. "Being an actor is not hard at all, but the emotional awkwardness of slipping into a role can feel excruciating."

On the set of Terminator: Dark Fate, Mackenzie Davis was way outside of her wheelhouse

While Mackenzie Davis has proven herself to be quite the versatile actress, when she signed onto Terminator: Dark Fate, she knew she was stepping outside of her wheelhouse. The reason? It was Davis' first time on the set of a major action movie. "My body coordination is outrageous, especially when multiple elements need to be moving in some kind of graceful or synchronized way," she explained in an interview with Flickering Myth. "So trying to find the right body language, trying to throw proper punches, trying to swing hammers efficiently, trying to run without my arms flailing everywhere: all that was a challenge." We can imagine!

Naturally, working on such a film also meant that Davis had to exercise a lot, which also was demanding. "I was working out every day for nine months, which ended up changing my body because I got a really muscular back and these big shoulders," she continued. That meant that not only did she take up more space, but also that the way she moved changed as well. That had to be a lot to take in!

Mackenzie Davis refuses to compromise her feminism in her work

It's a well-known fact that breaking into Hollywood and becoming a famous actor isn't easy. To that end, it would be easy to assume that Mackenzie Davis took whatever roles were offered to her from the start in order to be successful down the line. But interestingly enough, Davis refused to compromise when it came to what jobs she selected. "I just sort of knew that I would be incredibly bummed out all the time if I compromised this one part of myself, which has like a clear sort of feminist vision for how I want women to appear onscreen or what images I want to produce," she revealed to Vulture. We are 100 percent here for that!

It's not lost on Davis how exceptional that is, as not everyone is able to be so discerning in their films at the start, if at all. "I do understand how it is a consequence of something I thought about when I was a lot younger," she continued. And that makes her proud — as it should.

Mackenzie Davis has gotten into producing

While Mackenzie Davis has certainly made quite the name for herself as an actress, that's not all she's interested in pursuing in her career. To that end, Davis decided she wanted to try her hand at producing, and she did exactly that for the 2017 film Izzy Gets the F*ck Across Town. "I definitely think I want to have more control in my career in the production and making of films," she told Salon. "I crave putting something together."

Given that Hollywood has for years been notoriously difficult for both women and people of color, it's awesome to see Davis working to make things more equal in Tinseltown. "It's ownership and not just handing [yourself] over to people," she continued. "It's about harnessing that."

Of course, Davis also starred as Izzy in the film, and she had a blast portraying such a complicated and flawed character. "I loved playing all the wacky moments," she added.

This is why you won't find Mackenzie Davis on social media

If you're a fan of Mackenzie Davis, you might have headed over to Instagram or Twitter to see if you can follow her on social media. But if you were hoping to get the inside scoop of her life, à la Kim Kardashian, you're out of luck. "One of the reasons I don't do social media is that I like the feeling that if somebody asks me for a picture on the street, I don't have to say yes," Davis shared in a chat with Interview magazine.

That doesn't mean she'll ignore you if you run into her, however. For Davis, it's all about balance. "I'm so happy to have a conversation," she continued. "But, yeah, I feel like if you're always exposing yourself, if you're always engaging with social media in that way, then you no longer have the right to say no." And that's something that Davis hopes to hold onto for as long as she possibly can.