Shalom Life | November 12, 2014

Breakthrough Jew - Nicola Peltz

In just 5 years, Nicola Peltz has established herself as one the fastest rising stars in Hollywood.

By: Sara Torvik

Published: November 6th, 2014 in Culture » Film » News

Breakthrough Jew - Nicola Peltz

Hot, hip, and heady, the next wave of Jewish artists and influencers has already arrived. This is Breakthrough Jew, your weekly showcase of those on the verge of discovery and ready to be a regular figure in pop culture; setting trends, redefining genres, and simply getting it done-whatever ‘it’ is. These days, it’s not enough to know what’s hot now; you need to catch someone when they’re just starting to simmer.

Featuring those in film, fashion, food, and beyond, we’ll find the story before substance is obscured by style, before hype meets backlash, and before talent and purpose gets lost in a maze of Internet chatter. See an artist in the cozy bar before they hit the amphitheater, dine at a chef’s new restaurant before the line begins, and catch a young writer’s work before the demands of ratings and longevity encroach.

Follow our lead and we’ll follow yours – send us tips or suggestions via email, comment below or tweet us @ShalomLife, as we explore the Jewish landscape for pop culture pioneers.

Name: Nicola Peltz

Age: 19

Hometown: Westchester County, New York

Breakthrough Cred: Starring as Katara in 2010’s ‘The Last Airbender’

Nicola Peltz is one of Hollywood’s fastest rising young stars and she’s only 19 years old. Her first big break came when she was cast as Katara in the 2010 film The Last Airbender. Since then she has gone on to star in the critically claimed A&E series Bates Motel, and in the fourth installment of the Transformers franchise, Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Peltz was born and raised in Westchester County, New York. Both of her parents have been very successful in their own right. Her mother, Claudia Heffner, is a former model and her father, Nelson Peltz, is a billionaire businessman and a philanthropist, who is active in various Jewish causes and has been described by the New York Times as a "compassionate leader" of the New York Jewish community. Peltz also has 6 brothers, and says that as a result she grew up as a tomboy and never really considered acting as a career, instead thinking that she’d end up becoming an ice hockey player.

“I have six brothers and one sister. I grew up playing ice hockey, a total tomboy, and that's what I thought I was going to do—be an ice-hockey player,” she told Interview magazine earlier this year. “But then I did an acting class at my school and really liked it. When I was 12, I got a manager, but my mom was against it. It took a lot of convincing. But when I got a job at Manhattan Theatre Club, I think she saw how passionate I was about it and that I worked really hard—and now she's super supportive.”

Peltz in 'The Last Airbender'

The acting bug caught on quickly and from there Peltz decided to kiss her former ice hockey dreams goodbye. Her first official film debut was in the 2006 Christmas comedy film Deck the Halls, followed by the indie comedy film Harold in 2008. Both of the films did poorly at the box office and were panned by critics. And just to make matters worse, her next project, the M. Night Shyamalan directed The Last Airbender was also poorly received and Peltz ended up nominated for the Worst Supporting Actress award at the 31st Golden Raspberries Awards.

Find out more about Nicola on the next page!

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