The Truth About Maya Hawke's Famous Parents

Maya Hawke became one of Netflix's most popular stars when she joined the retro, scary fun of Stranger Things in Season 3. Thanks in part to her role as sassy ice cream scooper Robin Buckley, Maya has become "a freshly minted starlet, the type of young Hollywood name who gets hired for prestige television and indie films beloved on the festival circuit," reports NylonThe mag says Hawke has "already got a niche, which she describes as 'stubborn — the tough, tomboy girl. The nerd or the tough girl who has a heart of gold.'"

Beyond her onscreen roles, Hawke is also pursuing a music career and released her first full-length album, Blush, on June 19, 2020. Atwood magazine described Hawke as "someone who ultimately is extremely grateful for all opportunities she's been given and can acknowledge and negotiate her privilege in a way few in her position are brave enough to do. Blush is Hawke, unfiltered, talking about growing up and playing no characters."

That aforementioned privilege refers to her famous parents: Oscar-nominated actors Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman. Here's the truth about this A-list family's dynamic.

Ethan Hawke thinks his daughter is 'the real thing'

Maya Hawke's famous father, Ethan Hawke, is best known for movies such as 1994's Reality Bites, 2001's Training Day, and 2014's Boyhood — he was nominated for Academy Awards for the latter two — but this proud papa is thrilled to train the spotlight on his daughter. In fact, he wants the whole world to know how special she is.

"Some of you may have missed her in last year's BBC production of Little Women. Some of you may have missed her work at Juilliard," he wrote on Instagram in 2019. "I know many missed out on numerous high school productions — heck I even missed a few and I'm her father. Some of you may know her music, some may not. But Ladies & Gentleman, get to know MAYA HAWKE. She's the real thing."

Though he's clearly a championing his daughter's talents, Ethan has also said that he tries not to be overbearing. "She doesn't need a dad with a shotgun behind her," he said on the Filmspotting podcast (via W magazine). "She can handle herself and she can go and have a good time, and she can make mistakes and she can recover from them ... We're allowed to grow up, and if we don't then we're just going to live in a little tiny, tiny glass world."

Even so, it's not easy growing up in the public eye, and Maya says her mom had serious reservations about her daughter pursuing a career in entertainment.

Maya Hawke looks just like her mom, Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke met as co-stars on 1997's Gattaca, tied the knot on May 1, 1998, and welcomed Maya a couple of months later on July 8. They also had a son together, Levon, in January 2002, before divorcing in 2005. Thurman was a model who solidified her status as an A-list actor with an Oscar-nominated role in 1994's Pulp Fiction and the leading spot in the Kill Bill franchise. Thurman clearly passed her striking looks to her daughter, but she's also made a point to try to pass along some good advice, particularly in the high-pressure world of Hollywood. 

"Because this industry is so much tougher on women, my mom had reservations about me not becoming an actor, but becoming a public figure," Hawke told Nylon in April 2020. "The emphasis that the business puts on your appearance, the emphasis the business puts on your age — on all sorts of things that have nothing to do with your ability to act." She said her mom urged her to pursue "projects that mean something to you" and "don't get trapped in the starlet tornado." Maya said, "My mom understands in a different way from my dad how difficult that is because the voices are not as strong, the whispers are not as strong in men's ears."

Given the early success Maya is experiencing in the entertainment industry, that tornado may be on the horizon, but Maya says she is quick to turn to her parents for advice.

Maya Hawke's famous parents gave her a 'massive leg up'

It's easy to see the genetic connection between Maya Hawke and her famous parents, Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, but in addition to mining her mom's closet, Maya says she picks her parents' brains for career advice. 

"I'm always running decisions by them," Maya told The Wall Street Journal in 2019, after breaking out on Stranger Things. "They both have similar levels of success but really different experiences within the business. I think that's the biggest advantage [I have], that I have information about the pitfalls and the good things. Hopefully it'll keep me from making some mistakes that young actors can make."

She's also acutely aware that she's had "a massive leg up" because of who her parents are. "I'm well aware that every part I get is somehow influenced by the history of who I am as a person and where I come from," she told Nylon, noting that it's up to her to recognize that advantage and make good use of it. "I will get the opportunities I get," she said. "I will try as hard as I can to be brilliant in them. And if I suck enough, I'll stop getting chances."

Maya Hawke is certainly building a brilliant foundation, and we're excited to see what the future holds.