Hayley Elizabeth Atwell (born 5 April 1982) is a British-American actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Peggy Carter in various films and television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the lead role in the action-adventure series Agent Carter (2015–2016). She is also known for her work in stage productions, such as A View from the Bridge (2009), and onscreen, for period pieces, such as The Duchess (2008), the miniseries The Pillars of the Earth (2010) and her appearance as Evelyn Robin in Disney’s live-action Winnie the Pooh film, Christopher Robin (2018).

Early life

Hayley Elizabeth Atwell was born on 5 April 1982 in London, an only child. Her mother Allison Cain is British and her father, Grant Atwell, is an American photographer from Kansas City, Missouri of part Native American descent. Atwell has dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States. After attending Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girls’ School in London, she took A-levels at the London Oratory School.

Atwell took two years off to travel with her father and work for a casting director. She then enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she trained for three years, graduating with a BA in acting. Her contemporaries at Guildhall included actress Jodie Whittaker, whom Atwell would later describe as a “great friend”, and Michelle Dockery, with whom she would later work in Restless. Atwell graduated in 2005.

Personal life

In 2010, Atwell lived in a flat in London. In 2015, she moved to Los Angeles to be close to the production of Agent Carter, although still retained her personal base in London. During the filming of Captain America: The First Avenger in 2010, Atwell took a three-month course in art history and haiku at the Open University. Atwell stated that she always felt genderless. In response to the accusations against Harvey Weinstein, Atwell revealed that he had called her a “fat pig”. She also said that she didn’t believe that Weinstein was a sex addict but a predator who should be punished for harassing women. She clarified later though he wasn’t the one who called her such a name someone else did that.

In a 2015 interview, Atwell discussed how her role as Peggy Carter influenced a then-recent tweet she made to her 319,000 Twitter followers about having her image digitally altered on the cover of a German magazine. When one visitor to her page asked her, “Why are you so beautiful?”, she retorted, “Why am I so photoshopped?” In the interview, Atwell stated, “It’s important that young girls understand what photoshop is. I do feel a certain amount of responsibility now that I’m playing Peggy.”




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Hayley spent six days on May 2011 in Nicaragua on a trip with Christian Aid to see how the charity had helped coffee farmers in the region. Hayley returned from her trip to write a piece for the BBC and discuss her visit on Radio 5 Live and in Hello! magazine.
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