Kirby Howell-Baptiste, 34, is one of the fabulous stars of Disney’s Cruella. The brand-new film gives the legendary Disney villain a fierce and edgy origin story. Kirby stars alongside Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, Joel Fry, and Paul Walter Hauser.
So, who is Kirby Howell-Baptiste? She’s been a number of hit shows already and has a major Netflix project on the horizon. HollywoodLife has rounded up 5 key things to know about the Cruella star.
1. Who does Kirby play in ‘Cruella’?
Kirby stars as Anita Darling. In the film, we learn that Anita is Estella’s childhood friend who is now a gossip columnist in London. Estella is Cruella’s real name. You’ll remember from the 1961 animated Disney film One Hundred and One Dalmatians. At the end of Cruella, Anita receives the Dalmatian puppy Perdita, who later becomes known as Perdy.
2. What has Kirby been in before?
Kirby notably played Elena in the first season of Killing Eve. She also recurred on Barry and The Good Place. She played Nicole in season 4 of Veronica Mars. Kirby recently starred as Taylor in the CBS All Access Series Why Women Kill.
3. Where is Kirby from?
Kirby was born in London. She started acting classes at 12 years old and got her degree from the East 15 Acting School, according to Hello Giggles. She moved to Los Angeles in 2011.
4. What is Kirby doing next?
Kirby has been cast as Death in Netflix’s upcoming adaptation of The Sandman. “Hundreds of talented women from all around the planet auditioned, and they were brilliant, and none of them were right,” author Neil Gaiman said in a statement, according to EW. “Someone who could speak the truth to Dream, on the one hand, but also be the person you’d want to meet when your life was done on the other. And then we saw Kirby Howell-Baptiste’s audition and we knew we had our Death.”
5. What is her connection to Kristen Bell?
Kirby and Kristen Bell first met on the set of The Good Place in 2018. Kirby went on to star alongside Kristen in the fourth season of Veronica Mars. They will star in the upcoming movie Queenpins together. “I honest to God can tell you that I would not have gotten the role if it was not for her going to bat for me, with producers and with finances and things like that,” Kirby told Hello Giggles. “I love working with women in this industry who understand that their role is sort of to leverage their power to help other people who can’t necessarily get in those rooms yet or don’t have those opportunities.”