What You Don't Know About Shira Haas

You may know Shira Haas as Esty in the Netflix series Unorthodox, or maybe this is the first time you've heard her name. Either way, you're going to be obsessed with the up-and-coming Israeli starlet. Haas got started in film and TV at the age of 19, as the lead in the Israeli drama Princess, earning her critical acclaim right off the bat. After that, she's been making waves with her powerful performances as Esty in Unorthodox, Ruchama in Shtisel, and the lead in the 2018 drama Broken Mirrors (via IMDb).

Despite being relatively new on the scene, everyone wants to know about her. What does she like? What's her story? What are her future plans? Luckily, the adorable actress isn't afraid to let people know who she is and what she's all about. And even more luckily, we got some answers and fun facts you may have been itching to know about Shira Haas.

Shira Haas' petite stature is due to cancer

At the early age of 2, Shira Haas was diagnosed with kidney cancer. Because of this, she needed to undergo intense treatments for a few years. In an interview, Haas stated that her time in the hospital at such a young age shaped her and made her into an old soul. "It made me more mature differently, and it shaped me," she told Maariv (via Alma). That's actually a beautiful mindset to have, given the circumstances. Throughout her life, she has continued to maintain that same beautiful mindset in everything she does.

Luckily, the actress recovered two years later following those ongoing cancer treatments. At the petite height of 5'2, it's said that her past kidney cancer is what stunted her growth (via MSN). But, this didn't hold Shira Haas back, as she is continuing to kill it with every role she plays.

She had to master Yiddish for her role in Unorthodox

Acting is hard enough on its own, but having to master a whole other language as well? Almost impossible. But not for Shira Haas. While Haas was familiar with the language, she had to learn the Satmar Jews' variation. The variation of the language is from the Hasidic dynasty, so she had to hit the books.

For her role in Unorthodox, Haas had only two months to learn the language. In an interview with E! Online (via MSN), she credited her "amazing team" and teachers who helped her prepare. She also gave advice to budding actors, saying you have to be dedicated. She "went to sleep with Yiddish and woke up with Yiddish" for months leading up to her Golden Globe-nominated performance.

In the same interview, she said she not only had to learn Yiddish, but also how to sing and play the piano.

Shira Haas' grandparents survived the Holocaust

Shira Haas was in The Zookeeper's Wife, in which she portrays a survivor of the Holocaust. Prior to being in the film, she didn't know that she had a family connection to actual survivors. When she learned that her grandparents had actually lived through such a traumatic time, "it added a special layer of meaning to the work on the movie," via Alma

Haas' character of Esty leaves the United States and flees to Germany. For the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, this storyline may have evinced some negative emotions. However, as the actress explained to Elle, "I'd never been to Germany before this project. Before coming to Berlin, I told my grandmother about this project and ... that it would be shot in Berlin, and what does she think? She was just so happy for me. She told me good luck ... It gave me so much power to see how, after what she went through, she's still in the present and still so happy for me ... I always kept this moment with me when I was there."

Shira Haas has some artistic hobbies

Not only is she a phenomenal actress, but she's also an incredible artist. She posts original photo collages that she creates through Photoshop on social media on a frequent basis. One entitled "Through my eyes" (via Instagram) is a beautiful set with over 100 layers to it. In another piece, also entitled "Through my eyes" (via Instagram), she used over 140 layers and posted it to shout out a friend's birthday. With her art, the more you look, the more you discover. She notes other passions include photography, poetry, and filmmaking.

Like her idol Natalie Portman, she aspires to make films herself. Whether it be her own story or another she's enthralled with, she wants to direct. In an interview with Ynet, she said, "Whenever I had a break, I watched the photographer and the director from the side and I learned a lot from them." Is anyone else pumped to see what she'll create in the future?

Natalie Portman is Shira Haas' idol for a surprising reason

In Natalie Portman's directorial debut, the 2015 drama A Tale of Love and Darkness, Shira Haas played the supporting role of Kira. With this being only her second film role and Hollywood debut, Haas was eager to work with Portman. Even if it was only one day on set, Haas learned a lot for her future roles. 

Per Elite Daily, she says Portman is one of her idols for quite a few reasons, and one is related to kidney cancer stunting her growth. Haas says Portman is one of the petite actors who helped her embrace her small frame. Along with that, she loved working with her idol on set, stating in an interview with Ynet, "Portman is a role model, she was impressive and also modest ... and at eye level." Having your role model be everything you wanted, and more, is definitely one of the best things ever. I'm sure those who idolize Shira Haas herself would feel the same after meeting her.