- Full Name Millicent Simmonds
- Occupation Actress
- Nationality American
- Birthplace Utah, USA
- Birth Date Mar 06, 2003
- Age 20 Years, 2 Months
Millicent Simmonds | BiographySimmonds was not deaf by birth, she lost her hearing before she turned one
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Simmonds partnered with the fair-trade fashion brand Rafi Nova to create her namesake mask called 'Millie Smile Mask.' The mask featured a transparent panel to allow people to see the mouth to help lip-reading and facial expressions for communication. She collaborated with a speech-language pathology clinical fellow to design a face mask with a transparent panel and custom floral print. She believed the mask would help deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who rely on lip-reading to communicate easily.
Millicent Simmonds is an American actress best known for her roles in the movies, 'Wonderstruck,' 'A Quiet Place,' and its 2020 sequel. She is suffering from hearing impairment.
Who is Millicent Simmonds?
Millicent Simmonds was born with normal hearing but lost her hearing before turning one due to a medication overdose. She initially learned sign languages from her family, especially her mother, Emily, who learned sign language after discovering her daughter was deaf.
Simmonds attended Jean Massieu School of the Deaf, where she joined drama clubs and began participating in grade school drama programs. At 12, she auditioned for the role of Rose in Todd Haynes's 2017 film Wonderstruck after being urged by her drama teacher to do so. Ultimately, Simmonds got the part, and her performance in the film earned her several accolades. She soon landed her next significant role as Rogen Abbott in John Krasinski's 2018 film A Quiet Place, alongside Emily Blunt and John Krasinski. She reprised the role in its 2020 sequel A Quiet Place Part II.
Early Life and Education
Millicent Simmonds, a.k.a. Millie, was born on 6 March 2003 in the United States. She grew up in Bountiful, Utah, with her parents and four siblings - two older and two younger than her.
Simmonds was not deaf by birth. She lost her hearing due to a medication overdose before she turned one. After discovering she was deaf, her mother Emily learned sign language and taught the family to communicate with her.
She also received a cochlear implant that allowed her some access to sound, but she primarily communicated through American Sign Language.
Simmonds started attending a deaf school, Jean Massieu School, when she was three years old. After completing sixth grade, she switched to a mainstream school and enrolled at Mueller Park Junior High school in 2015. Growing up, her mother also encouraged her to read books.
While growing up, Simmonds never thought about becoming an actress as she had never seen deaf people onscreen. She even felt that it was not possible for deaf people. Nevertheless, once she recognized her interest in telling stories, she started performing at a young age by joining the drama club at Jean Massieu School of the Deaf.
Simmonds elaborated, "When I was in 2nd or 3rd grade, the drama teacher at my deaf school noticed that I liked to tell stories and had really good expression. I could entertain people with my stories. I started performing at a very young age with the older kids in the drama club, and one of my first roles was playing Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I loved it. I loved to perform."
Later, she made her stage debut at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah. In 2015, she starred in the role of the deaf daughter in the short film titled Color the World, written and produced by a deaf filmmaker, Juliette Hansen. The short movie also starred her real mother, Emily Simmonds, as her reel mother. The only difference was Emily played the role of deaf mother in the short film.
Simmonds started acting professionally at 12 when she was cast in the 2017 American mystery-drama film Wonderstruck.
After learning about the film's open casting for a deaf actress to play Rose through her drama teacher, she took part in the audition, who urged her to participate.
Simmonds soon sent a few recorded scenes to the film's casting agency and got selected for the second round. Simmonds was then asked to meet director Todd Haynes in New York City for an in-person audition in April 2016. She auditioned and quickly secured the role the following day.
Simmonds temporarily moved to New York for the filming of Wonderstruck. Even though she got her part after winning over 250 other candidates, she was nervous and not confident. But, she eventually gained confidence due to the good working environment.
Adapted from Brian Selznick's 2011 novel of the same name, Wonderstruck follows the story of two deaf children in two different eras, separated by five decades. Simmonds played the role of Rose, a deaf child locked in a house in 1927, who quests for film actress Lillian Mayhew whose life she chronicles in her scrapbook.
Simmonds shared that playing in Wonderstruck shaped her life.
'A Quiet Place'
Simmonds landed her next big role in John Krasinski's 2018 horror-thriller film A Quiet Place, which follows the story of a family who must live in silence to survive and thrive in a post-apocalyptic world while hiding from sound-sensitive extraterrestrials.
Krasinski chose Simmonds as one of the film's casts as he was on the lookout for a deaf girl for the role of the deaf daughter in the movie, and he did not want a non-deaf actress pretending to be deaf.
Simmonds portrayed the role of an alien-fighting rebellious deaf teenager Regan Abbott. Actors John Krasinski and Emily Blunt portrayed Regan's parents.
Simmonds described the film character Regan as "less of a heroine and more of a survivor." Relating herself with the character she played in the film, Simmonds noted that Regan was more independent than her true self. However, the character also had bad consequences as she might make noise without her knowledge putting their family in danger with the sound-sensitive extraterrestrials.
The film was released in April 2018 and received critical acclaim. Simmonds was only 15 years then.
'A Quiet Place Part II'
Simmonds reprised the role in the second part of the film, A Quiet Place Part II. The film's director Krasinski was skeptical about bringing the sequel, but making Simmonds the lead of the second part convinced him to return with A Quiet Place Part II.
Explaining the reason, Krasinski said, "What happened was, where my organic in to the movie was Millie, and this idea of making Millie the lead character, not only because she's amazing, but also because that's the continuation of the metaphor of the first one. All my fears were assuaged, and we realized that rather than being scared of doing a sequel, and scared of doing it bigger and more intense and those sorts of things, we just said, 'Let's not worry at all about that. Let's just tell the story.' What happened was, the movie took on its own organic life. And so, you find out… I think you will be much more scared in this movie because you love these characters so much."
In addition to her big-screen career, Simmonds had also acted in a couple of television series. She portrayed the role of Libby in two episodes of Disney Channel's comedy-drama television series Andi Mack, alongside Peyton Elizabeth Lee, Joshua Rush, Sofia Wylie, and Asher Angel. She acted in the episode 'The New Girls,' aired on 30 November 2018, and 'The Quacks,' aired on 1 February 2019.
In 2019, she also appeared in an episode titled 'No Place Like Home' of Sundance TV's drama series This Close, alongside Shoshannah Stern and Joshua Feldman. The episode aired on 13 September 2019. Simmonds played the role of Emmaline in the series.
Simmonds starred in the role of Jen in Freeform's 2020 mystery crime drama television movie Close Up. Set in a suburban town of Centreville, New Jersey, the television movie follows high school student Rachel Guyer (played by Fivel Stewart) on a mission to expose the truth about her hometown and completely change her community. The movie tries to highlight the strength behind a young woman's rebellious act and its impact on changing the world.
In Close Up, Simmonds appeared as Jen, a vital role in the town mystery. A self-possessed and funny Jen tends to ignore a rich imaginative inner world. Because of her hearing impairment, she is a natural observer and knows her town well. Even though she usually ignores things, she takes a courageous step forward after recent trauma.
Simmonds will star and executive produce the television adaptation of Sara NoviÄ‡'s upcoming coming-of-age novel titled 'True Biz.' The book is expected to be published in March 2022.
In the television adaptation of the book, Simmonds will play the leading role of a Deaf teenage girl named Charlie. About her collaboration for the project, Simmonds said, "As soon as I read True Biz, I knew I had to jump at the chance to collaborate with a Deaf creator on a project with an authentic and fresh perspective of the Deaf community and am equally excited to portray a deaf teenage protagonist never before seen on screen. This project will be a truly unique opportunity to work with deaf professionals both in front and behind the camera throughout the project."
The project is expected to be co-executive produced by NoviÄ‡, Brad Mendelsohn, Charles Mastropietro, and Russ Buchholz. Furthermore, it will be produced by Circle of Confusion Television Studios.
Simmonds is managed by talent management and production company Circle of Confusion and attorney Stewart Brookman. Previously, she was represented by Paradigm Talent Agency and lawyer Hansen Jacobson.
Signing with WME
In June 2021, Simmonds signed with the talent agency WME for representation in all areas.
Awards and Nominations
In 2020, Simmonds received the 'HCA Award' after winning the title of 'Next Generation of Hollywood' from the Hollywood Critics Association. She then won the 'Midseason Award' for 'Best Actress,' from Hollywood Critics Association in 2021 for her role in A Quiet Place Part II.
Simmonds had also garnered numerous nominations for her outstanding acting.
For her performance as a young actor in Wonderstruck, Simmonds was nominated for the 'Phoenix Film Critics Society Award,' 'Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award,' and 'Women Film Critics Circle Award' in 2017. For the same film, she was nominated for the 'Saturn Award' 'Critics Choice Award,' 'Seattle Film Critics Society Award,' and 'Young Artist Award' in 2018.
In 2018, she was nominated for the 'IGN Award,' 'Los Angeles Online Film Critics Society Award,' and 'The BAM Award' for her role as a young actor in A Quiet Place. The same film also earned her 'Saturn Award,' 'Critics Choice Award,' 'Chainsaw Award,' 'Online Film & Television Association Film Award, and 'Seattle Film Critics Society Award' in 2019.
In an interview with Teen Vogue in February 2020, Simmonds shared that her mother was her inspiration and called her mother the strongest woman she knew. She considers Pakistani activist for female education, Malala Yousafzai, and Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg as her inspiration.
Simmonds herself is an advocate for casting deaf actresses in deaf roles.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Simmonds partnered with Rafi Nova, a fair-trade fashion brand, to create her namesake mask called 'Millie Smile Mask.' She collaborated with a speech-language pathology clinical fellow to design a face mask with a transparent panel and custom floral print. The mask featured a transparent panel to allow people to see the mouth to help lip-reading and facial expressions for communication.
About the non-conventional mask, Simmonds said, "I knew [traditional masks] would be a problem for a large number of deaf and hard of hearing individuals that rely on lip reading to communicate. Not all deaf people use sign language and even those of us that do, still heavily rely on facial cues for context."
Simmonds stands 5 feet 1 inch (1.55 meters) tall, according to IMDb.