Virginie Efira, from TV host to acclaimed actress
Virginie Efira is a Belgian actress, born in Brussels on 5 May 1977 to an oncologist father and a mother who was a beautician, actress and then restorer. She entered the Institut National des Arts du Spectacle (INSAS) and the Conservatory with the idea of performing in the theatre, but did not complete her studies.
It was on television that she took her first steps in front of the cameras. Her career started in 1998 for Belgian television, on Club RTL, as host of a teenage programme, Megamix. She worked on TV animated programmes for ten years, first in Belgium with Star Academy, and then in France, on M6, TF1 and Canal+. Since 2004, Virginie has worked in dubbing, in the theatre and in TV movies. In a 2010 interview with Paris Match, she stated that she would stop doing animation so that she could focus on her acting career. The same year, she took part in a programme broadcast on France 2 which was to be vital to her popularity: Rendez-vous en terre inconnue by Francis Lopez, in which a celebrity is taken to an unknown destination to live with an ethnic minority. The show broke audience records, with 8.1 million viewers.
Her first major feature film role was in Philippe Lefebvre's Le Siffleur (The Whistler) (2010). She then took a series of roles in romantic comedies, where her sentimental characters, a type she was unable to shake off, allowed her to play alongside established actors such as Benoît Poelvoorde, Isabelle Huppert and André Dussollier. In 2016, she finally managed to change type by landing a supporting role in Paul Verhoeven's Elle, a dark, powerful and disturbing psychological thriller. It was a professional (César for Best Film) and popular success and took the Belgian actress beyond the confines of comedy. Another success in the same year was Justine Triet's La Bataille de Solférino (Age of Panic). Efira plays Victoria, a criminal lawyer in the midst of a romantic void, and is touching in a role perfect for her. Victoria seemed to mark the coming-of-age of a great actress whose many facets would continue to surprise us. Un amour impossible (An Impossible Love), by Catherine Corsini (2018), silenced those who still had doubts about the actress in a dramatic role, and earned her a second César nomination for Best Actress after Victoria. A new collaboration with Justine Triet in Sibyl (2019), saw Virginie play a crazy lover, manipulative seductress, and protective, absent mother, brilliantly going through many different states. And lastly, Adieu les cons (Bye Bye Morons), with twelve César nominations, a film, whose screening was interrupted shortly after release due to the pandemic, promises to be one of the great favourites of 2021.
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