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Who is Icelandic actress Hera Hilmar? Biography

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Hera Hilmar is an Icelandic actress, who played the lead role in ‘Life in a Fishbowl’, the Icelandic entry for the best foreign film in the 87e Academy Awards, and who became internationally known when she was cast in the television series ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’.

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Early life and family

Hera Hilmarsdóttir was born on December 27, 1988 in Reykjavik, Iceland, as a writer and film director Hilmar Oddsson and actress Thorey Sigthorsdottir (Þórey Sigþórsdóttir). It has not been disclosed when or where her parents first met, dated and got married, as they didn’t start working together until long after Hera was born.

Her father was born in 1957 in Reykjavik, Iceland; his work in the film industry began in 1985 as a boom operator in a feature film. The 1986 short, “Cinderella and the Man Who Had No Pants,” was his directorial debut and also served as the film’s editor, composer, and co-screenwriter. Oddsson worked on more than a dozen films, primarily as a director, three of which were selected as Icelandic entries for the Academy Awards for Best Non-English Language Film, namely “The Beast” in 1986, “Tears of Stone” in 1995, and “Cold Light” in 2005. However, none of them were nominated. His last project was the short drama film ‘Breki’ in 2010.

Her mother debuted as an actress in the short film thriller ‘Opacity’ in 1994. She worked as the main and supporting cast in eight films, three of which were directed by Oddsson. They first worked together in 1995 on the film ‘Tears of Stone’, with Oddsson as co-screenwriter and director, while Sigthorsdottir worked as one of the production managers. She did two movies in 2010, but none after that.

Early schooling

No information was available on where she enrolled in high school, but she graduated from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 2011. She was said to have been awarded the Richard Carne Scholarship and won the Lilian Baylis Award while in the three-year program at LAMDA.

Hera Hilmar


First steps

Hera was nine years old when she started her acting career in the thriller film “No Trace”, with her mother in a supporting role and her father as a director; it premiered on August 1, 1998. After that, she stopped working to focus on her studies, and in 2006 she went back to acting for a short film with her parents. The following year, she made the movie “The Quiet Storm” as the lead, with her mother in a supporting role; it was an entry for the 30e Moscow International Film Festival in June 2008. After that (2008-2012) she starred in several films and television series, mainly in supporting roles.

Most notable of the films she made during that time was the 2012 historical romantic drama “Anna Karenina”, based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel of the same name – Hera was cast in a supporting role of Varya, Jude Law’s sister-in-law. character Count Alexei, with Keira Knightley as the main female lead. The film received mildly positive reviews from critics and earned nominations from several awarding bodies, including the Academy Awards and British Academy Film Awards, winning best costume design from both.

further success

“Da Vinci’s Demons”

Hera gained international fame when she landed a supporting role in the historical fantasy drama series ‘Da Vinci’s Demons’. Hera had the recurring role as Vanessa Moschella, who occasionally modeled for Leonardo, and was the outspoken Florentine barmaid.

The series premiered in the US in April 2013 and has been shown in more than 120 countries, and is about the fictional early life of Leonardo Da Vinci. Speculation about Da Vinci’s sexuality was addressed in the series, and a scene in which Leonardo kissed another man was allegedly filmed in secret to avoid network interference. The first season received good reviews from critics; it had a 63% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 6.1/10 and a Metacritic score of 62 out of 100. The series ran for three seasons with 28 episodes, the last one airing in December 2015, with Hera too seen was in 25 episodes.

“Life in a fishbowl”

In 2014, she was cast as the lead role in the Icelandic drama film ‘Life in a Fishbowl’, which was screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival in the Discovery Section.

This film from writer-director Baldvin Zophoniasson is about three people who each lead double lives and whose decisions have a lasting effect on each other. It was selected as the Icelandic entry for the 87e Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, but was not selected as the nominee. Hera was praised for her performance as Eik, a kindergarten teacher who works as a prostitute. The movie was a blockbuster.

other works

Hera went on to make films such as ‘The Oath’, which was screened at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival in the Special Presentations Section, and ‘An Ordinary Man’, which was screened at the 2017 Bari International Film Festival in Italy.

She was also cast as the lead actress in the 2018 post-apocalyptic action-adventure film ‘Mortal Engines’, based on Philip Reeve’s novel of the same name. This was long awaited as the screenplay was written by Peter Jackson, Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh, who also collaborated on ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’. However, not only did it receive generally negative reviews from critics, but it tanked at the box office, grossing over $80 million worldwide against a $100-$150 million production budget.

Her latest project was the Apple TV sci-fi series ‘See’, starring Jason Momoa. She was one of the main protagonists in the role of Maghra, the wife of Jason Momoa’s character Baba Voss, the leader of the Alkenny tribe.

It premiered on November 1, 2019 and had eight episodes in the first season = Apple has already ordered a second season. Critics praised Jason Momoa’s performance, but gave the series generally negative reviews with a 43% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes and 37 out of 100 Metacritic ratings.


She was nominated as Actress of the Year in a Leading Role in Edda, the most prominent film and television award in Iceland, for her performance in “The Quiet Storm” in 2007. Hera won the Actress of the Year Award in Edda in 2015 for her role in “Life in a Fishbowl,” and in 2017 for her role in “The Oath.”

Private life

Hera is now 31 years old but there is no news that she is currently dating or seeing anyone.

Interesting rumors and facts

  • The director and writer of ‘The Quiet Storm’, Guðný Halldórsdóttir, saw Hera perform in a theater project at her high school, and later cast her in the film.
  • She was chosen as one of “Europe’s Shooting Stars” by the Berlin International Film Festival in 2015.
  • Hera has over 80,000 followers on her Instagram account.


Hera is 5ft 7ins. (1.7 m) tall, weighs about 60 kg and her vital statistics are 32-24-34. She has long red blond hair and blue eyes. She wears a size 4 to 6 dress and her shoe size is 8.5.

Wealth and salary

It was not revealed how much she earned from her television and film projects, but sources estimate her net value as of early 2020 at over $1 million.


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