What You Never Knew About Louisa Jacobson, Meryl Streep's Daughter

When HBO's "The Gilded Age" premiered in January 2022, the world was introduced to Louisa Jacobson. As the show's ingenue, Marian, Jacobson quickly won the hearts of viewers all over the world — an impressive feat for her first-ever TV role. But, what viewers may not have realized is that Jacobson is actually the youngest daughter of Meryl Streep and her husband, Don Gummer. Like the rest of the Gummer-Streep family, Jacobson has clearly inherited a talent for the arts. Her older sisters, Mamie and Grace Gummer (who, like Jacobson, look just like their famous mother), have acted in numerous projects, while her brother, Henry Gummer, is a talented musician (via Closer Weekly).

Even though Jacobson stars in an HBO show, her career is still in its early stages. After modeling and dabbling in a career in advertising, the actress graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 2019. Apart from "The Gilded Age," she has only appeared in one TV movie, "Gone Hollywood," alongside Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jonathan Pryce. We can't wait to see what this up-and-comer does next. Want to find out more about the talented young daughter of Meryl Streep? Here are some things you never knew about Louisa Jacobson.

Louisa Jacobson dropped her last name and uses her middle name instead

It would be easy to miss the fact that Louisa Jacobson is a member of Meryl Streep's family — after all, she doesn't share the same last name as her siblings, who go by their father's last name: Gummer. According to Vulture, Jacobson's last name is actually her middle name. Chances are, she decided to go by her middle name not for fear of nepotism but because there was already a professional actress by the name of Louisa Gummer – and, to join SAG-AFTRA, you need a unique stage name.

Jacobson, however, hasn't always used her middle name. When she was younger, she went by her given last name of Gummer, just like her siblings. In fact, in 2015, she even appeared in a music video and worked as a model, where she was credited as Louisa Gummer. It's a good thing Jacobson's middle name made such a good last name!

She is indirectly responsible for her mother's starring role in Mamma Mia!

Louisa Jacobson at times even had an impact on her mother's career. As Meryl Streep explained in an interview, Jacobson was inadvertently responsible for her mother's role in "Mamma Mia!" (though she didn't appear in the sequel). Apparently, Streep happened to take Jacobson and five of her friends to the Broadway version of "Mamma Mia!" just after September 11. "I took my daughter Louisa, who was 10, and six of her friends, and we were all up dancing in the aisles," she told Good Housekeeping.

Streep loved the musical so much, in fact, she even wrote a fan letter to the cast. When the movie was in the works, the production team remembered her letter and asked if she'd be interested. "I said, 'Are you crazy? I would love to do this.' It was a done deal," she told the Daily Record. Of course, even though Jacobson loved the musical, she wasn't too keen on seeing her own mother don the famous platform boots and spandex to play Donna. In fact, when Streep filmed the final disco scenes, she apparently thought, "Yes, this is what my daughters feared more than anything else!" (per Good Housekeeping). Sounds like Jacobson's birthday resulted in one of Streep's most famous roles — and maybe one of Jacobson's most embarrassing moments, too!

Meryl Streep's youngest daughter caught the acting bug early

Even though Louisa Jacobson's mother is Meryl Streep, it sounds like she had a pretty normal childhood. Jacobson's sister, Mamie Gummer, once said in an interview that they grew up in Connecticut — "so the industry didn't, kind of, loom large over everything."

Nevertheless, Jacobson, like her sisters, discovered a love of acting all on her own. Growing up in an artistic family, Jacobson was used to performing spontaneously with her siblings at home. Additionally, she took piano lessons as a child and attended a theater camp where she took part in "a hodgepodge of different numbers from different musicals" (per Vanguard Culture). Then, in middle school, she got the chance to star in "The Wizard of Oz." "There was a Dorothy for the beginning, middle and end. I was one of them and I had a blast doing that," she told Vanguard Culture. And, as Jacobson told Today, "From a very young age I loved [acting], I gravitated towards it."

Louisa Jacobson spent several years trying to avoid acting

Despite her childhood love of acting, Louisa Jacobson wasn't initially interested in turning her passion into a career. "When I got to college, I was like, 'I want to try something different,'" she told "Today." "And I graduated and worked in advertising for two years in an office."

Jacobson went to Vassar College where she majored in psychology and minored in art history, choosing "to bury my desire to act," she explained to Vanity Fair. "I needed to prove to myself, my family, and my peers that somehow I was different." After graduating, she got a nine-to-five job in an advertising agency. Her sister, Mamie Gummer, told The Telegraph at the time, "She's a little young professional." But, as Jacobson told Town & Country, she continued auditioning and modeling on the side. Eventually, the urge to pursue acting was too strong, and she went to drama school at Yale, where her acting career was set in motion.

The actress is a true New Yorker

As Louisa Jacobson explained in Interview Magazine, she's a real New Yorker — "Unlike Marian, [her character on 'The Gilded Age'] who's from Pennsylvania," she said. As a New Yorker, Jacobson feels she has a hyperactive brain and a slight problem with needing to be in control. "There's five million things going on in [our] brains at once, in terms of planning and monitoring things and getting to places on time and having ideas for something to do next," she said. "Yeah, I think all New Yorkers have a deep issue with control."

And, in her time living in New York, Jacobson has picked up some real New York wisdom. She doesn't trust the subway. She knows to never stop on the sidewalk. What else? "Don't expect people to be nice to you, but expect them to be there for you ... People have your back in a collective way, but they're not going to be fake nice like in L.A.," she said. "Don't take it personally." Sounds like Jacobson knows her way around New York City like a true pro. And, it's good to know you'll never catch her being "fake nice"!

Louisa Jacobson starred in a production of Romeo and Juliet

Even though "The Gilded Age" is Louisa Jacobson's first TV role, she isn't completely new to professional acting. Back in 2019, she starred in a production of "Romeo and Juliet" at San Diego's Old Globe Theater — her first role after graduating from Yale. "It's no pressure, you know, playing these iconic characters," she laughed in an interview with NBC San Diego. "But it's so lovely being able to do the play outdoors — the theater is an outdoor arena — and it's wonderful to be talking about the stars and actually see them. It's really romantic." And, as Jacobson told Vanguard Culture, the role was "a dream come true." A review of the production in San Diego Magazine even said she was "fantastic" in the role.

By the sounds of things, after her appearance in "Romeo and Juliet," Jacobson felt much more comfortable on stage than she did on screen. In fact, when she got to "The Gilded Age" set, she found herself trying to perform to a live audience and acting in a more dramatic manner, as she told Broadway World. "Our director was like, 'You know you can just talk to her like normal. You can square off,'" she said.

She attended the 2009 Oscars with her mom

Even though Louisa Jacobson was eager to avoid a career in acting when she was younger, she was no stranger to the world of Hollywood — after all, her mother is Meryl Streep! Jacobson even attended the 2009 Academy Awards with her mother, who was nominated for her role in "Doubt" that year.

On the red carpet, Streep spoke fondly about her daughter. "This is my date, Louisa," she gushed. "This is my baby!" She later added, "I'm really happy that she came with me, I need back up." Though Jacobson said it was not her first time at the Oscars, that she had "been to a couple before," she explained that she did find it difficult to pick an outfit for the event — considering it was the Oscars, we can understand! Later on, during the show, Jacobson is seen smiling and clapping next to her mother. How adorable! It's clear that the two have always been super close!

The actress has a lot in common with her character in The Gilded Age

So, what was Meryl Streep's youngest daughter like as a kid? Well, apparently, Louisa Jacobson was a lot like her character, Marian, on "The Gilded Age." "I think more than rebellious, Marian is curious ... I definitely, as a kid, was very curious about everything," she told "Today." "I sort of was always watching all the grown ups around me and, like, calculating and learning all the rules."

Curiosity isn't the only thing that Jacobson has in common with Marian. She's also extremely nice. Jacobson described herself as a "boring, good person" who would never spread gossip. In fact, she thinks Marian is even nicer than she is. As she put it to Interview Magazine, "At first, I was like, 'Girl, there's something wrong with you. You're too nice.'" While Jacobson initially found her niceness a little boring, she soon discovered there was "value" in playing a nice, stable young woman.

Louisa Jacobson was afraid of her co-star — even though she's a family friend

In "The Gilded Age," Louisa Jacobson works with countless legends of the stage and screen. And, while most of them were hugely welcoming, one of her co-stars was initially a little frosty — at least, when in character. Christine Baranski plays Agnes, the fierce, cold aunt of Jacobson's character. And, apparently, when she was in character, Jacobson found her pretty terrifying. "Because of my relationship with Meryl [Streep], I certainly felt an intimacy with Louisa that was already there," Baranski told Vogue. "Although she did say on many occasions that she was terrified of me." Apparently, Streep even wrote to Baranski to tell her she was scaring her daughter!

Speaking with Interview Magazine, Jacobson confirmed this was true, saying she was "most intimidated" by Baranski. However, eventually, she felt a bit more comfortable — "in part because I felt like I was surrounded by moms ... Everyone was very warm and very maternal," she recalled.

Louisa Jacobson is a history buff

In many ways, "The Gilded Age" is the perfect show for Louisa Jacobson. Not only is the character a lot like her, it's also a period drama — and, luckily for Jacobson, she is a huge history buff. "I'm such a history geek," she explained to Vogue. "That's a wonderful part of being an actor, digging into other periods you have never studied before."

When it came to preparing for her role, Jacobson was in her element. She immersed herself in the time period, reading novels, watching films, and listening to podcasts from or about the era. As she explained to Collider, novels like Edith Wharton's "House of Mirth" and "Age of Innocence" were key to her preparation — "All of them had these heroines who didn't fit perfectly in society," she said. She even got herself a membership to the New York Public Library for some in-depth historical research. No wonder Jacobson gives such a truthful performance!

Louisa Jacobson came to The Gilded Age set armed with a 'notebook full' of advice

Even though Louisa Jacobson wasn't new to acting when she landed her role in "The Gilded Age," she was relatively new to acting on screen. Luckily, she comes from a family of actors who were more than happy to offer some tips. When asked by Interview Magazine if her mother and sisters gave her any advice for her first big TV role, Jacobson replied, "Yes. I have a whole notebook full of it."

As Jacobson explained, she had never asked her family for help before, but she soon realized her mom and sisters would be a huge help to her. In fact, getting advice from her mom proved invaluable during the shoot. "I was really struggling at one point," she told Interview Magazine, explaining she found it difficult to believe in her own performance and, quite understandably, was feeling overwhelmed. "[Streep] said, 'Don't forget to touch and smell the room, to be in this space. Acting is like a great, deep belief and almost religious faith in what you're doing.'" Apparently, this advice from the master helped!

She struggled with the corsets in The Gilded Age

"The Gilded Age" looks like it's seriously fun to be a part of — but, as Louisa Jacobson has explained, it isn't always as great as it looks. The main problem? Her corset. To create the right era-appropriate look, the show's costume designers put Jacobson in a corset every single day. In fact, Jacobson even wore a corset around her home to get ready for the shoot. "I tried to sneeze and it imploded!" she told Vanity Fair.

On set, things got even worse. "In the beginning, during fittings with our costume designer Kasia Walicka-Maimone, I got a little bit carried away; I had this idea that I would have a really snatched waist in every scene," she told Vogue. However, after a while, she realized it was too tight. "After a couple of months, I had to go back to her, and be like: 'I'm really sorry, but we've got to loosen this puppy up!'" she explained. Apparently, Jacobson was actually struggling to sleep because her ribs hurt so much. Talk about suffering for your art!

The actress loves timeless fashion

Look at any picture of Louisa Jacobson, and you'll quickly see she has an amazing sense of style. But, as Jacobson explained in an ad for Tod's, she never sacrifices comfort in the name of fashion. "Comfort, for me, is non-negotiable in my look, and I would say that it's dynamic (not static) and timeless," she says.

Over the years, Jacobson has worn numerous "dynamic" and "timeless" outfits. In 2016, she appeared on the red carpet in a killer outfit, consisting of a fitted white blazer, navy leather trousers, and platform heels (via PopSugar). At the 2009 Oscars, she wore a sleek khaki, strapless floor-length gown with statement diamond earrings (via Express). At another event in 2015, she wore a gorgeous oversized black tunic with red flowers made up of sequins (via Getty). At the 2016 premiere of "Florence Foster Jenkins," she wore an all-black outfit with a pussy bow top and flared trousers (via Getty). Time and time again, Jacobson has put together chic, exciting outfits that are timeless, yet edgy and modern — and we are seriously inspired!