Maya Hawke Just Revealed That She's "Comfortable" With Being a Nepo Baby

"I think I’m comfortable with not deserving it and doing it anyway."



Maya Hawke is a nepo baby—and she's finally happy to own it.

In a recent interview with The Times, Hawke, daughter of Hollywood A-listers Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, mused on the subject of nepotism in the industry. When asked whether she thought she "deserved" her success, she replied, “‘Deserves’ is a complicated word. There are so many people who deserve to have this kind of life who don’t, but I think I’m comfortable with not deserving it and doing it anyway. And I know that my not doing it wouldn’t help anyone."

She went on to explain that early on in her career, she decided to lean a little on her parents' fame. "I saw two paths when I was first starting, and one of them was: change your name, get a nose job and go to open casting roles,” she said. Evidently, she chose the other route.

A bit of backstory to all of this: Hollywood is currently in the age of the nepo baby. The idea of nepotism sprang to the forefront of cultural discourse back in 2022 when NY Mag published an article highlighting all of the many sons and daughters of famous people who had successfully begun their own careers in the industry. It became clear that it was actually easier to list the people who weren't nepo babies rather than the people who were.

Neil Rasmus/
Neil Rasmus/

Related: Ethan and Maya Hawke Made a Rare Father-Daughter Appearance and Looked So Alike

At the crux of the nepo baby discourse was the question of whether the offspring of the rich and famous really deserved to step straight into their own acting careers. Was it simply a case of, as Maya's dad Ethan once said, "the apple not falling far from the tree?" Or, was it a case of nepotism launching certain people to the top of the field, while countless other talented hopefuls never got their shot? And, perhaps most importantly, did the nepo babies realise just how lucky they had been?

Maya Hawke was, of course, one of the many nepo babies listed in the viral NY Mag piece. A quick glance at Maya's CV would suggest that, as the daughter of two acclaimed actors, she found fame relatively quickly and painlessly. She landed her first role in the BBC adaptation of Little Women in 2017 at the age of just 19, before appearing in Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood in 2019—and yes, that film was directed by Quentin Tarantino, who was also behind some of her mother's biggest hits, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. From there, Maya landed roles in Stranger Things, Asteroid City and Maestro.

Although Hawke got very candid in her latest interview with The Times, the young actress hasn't always been quite so open about how nepotism may have helped her land these roles.

In a 2019 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Hawke said, “I got an audition for the project through the normal channels through my agents. I did an audition in my bedroom with my dad."



Related: Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman's 19-Year-Old Daughter Looks Exactly Like Both of Them

Now, it seems, Hawke is re-evaluating her past comments on the subject.

“I’ve been wildly made fun of for this clip when I said, on the red carpet, that I auditioned,” she said to The Times, adding, “I never meant to imply that I didn’t get the part for nepotistic reasons—I think I totally did.”

As Hawke enters a new phase—a phase in which she admits all of the advantages nepotism has probably afforded her, she's happy to accept that, sometimes, people are going to poke fun at nepo babies like her.

“It’s OK to be made fun of when you’re in rarefied air," she said. "It’s a lucky place to be. My relationships with my parents are really honest and positive, and that supersedes anything anyone can say about it.”

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