Scarlett Johansson’s Evolution: A Look from Age 9 to 36

Hollywood is full of megastars, but few can compare to the allure and talent of Scarlett Johansson. Johansson is one of Hollywood’s modern-day bombshells but embodies the vibe of someone you’d want to idolize with her cool demeanor. After kick-starting her professional career at 7 years old, Johansson captured the attention of film critics and fans alike with roles in “Lost In Translation,” “Match Point,” “The Nanny Diaries,” “Her,” and, of course, Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise

Johansson’s on-screen success made her the highest-paid actress in 2018 and 2019, per Forbes, and her work has won her numerous accolades.

With more than 70 acting credits to her name and an outspoken personality, it’s hard to imagine Johansson not ruling the film industry with her talents. However, as it turns out, she had to overcome her childhood struggles and work hard to get to where she is today. Let’s take a look at Johansson’s remarkable transformation below.

Scarlett Johansson had a humbling childhood in New York City Britannica, Scarlett Johansson was born in Manhattan, New York City on November 22, 1984. She is the older twin to brother Hunter Johansson, and the two of them are the youngest of four siblings, per Us Magazine. Johansson’s brother worked briefly in the entertainment industry but is now in philanthropy, having founded a charity that equips first responders with equipment after natural disasters and other emergencies, per People.

While Johansson and her twin have found success in their respective careers, things weren’t always sunshine and roses when they were growing up. Johansson revealed to Interview in 2013 that her family lived in a “middle-income housing development.” Johansson was initially enrolled in a public school but decided that she wanted to pursue a career in the arts at the Professional Children’s School. “I’d go off to do a movie the same way some kids go off to camp,” Johansson told Elle in 2005.

In fact, Johansson had such a natural talent for acting that she earned her first gig on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” when she was 9 years old, per ET Canada. In the sketch, Johansson pretended to be a spelling bee champion named Sara Hughes and was quizzed by Conan O’Brien on her vocabulary knowledge. Johansson did not pass the spelling bee test but did surprise everyone with her acting skills.

Scarlett Johansson was destined to become an actor

While Scarlett Johansson landed her first professional acting gig when she was 9, she was determined to make a name for herself from the moment she was born. As the “Black Widow” actor explained in an interview with The Guardian in 2003, she was “a big ham, it’s like I hopped out of the womb and said: I will perform!’” Johansson was determined to get her way and once threw a tantrum in a talent agent’s office when she was 7 years old because they wanted to sign her older brother instead of her. “I was, like, devastated. I decided at that very moment that my whole life was going down the tubes,” she recalled. It was clear that Johansson believed in herself more than anyone in her family, and it was her determination that also persuaded her mother to get on board.

Shortly after Johansson’s temper tantrum, her mother found her an agent and she began auditioning for commercials. The experience, though, was not as positive as she thought. “It was like being in a beauty pageant,” Johansson said. “The other moms were really scary, and it was awful, a really sordid scene.” She said that she frequently fought with her mother, who acted as her manager at the time, because the auditions created a lot of tension.

As a result, Johansson transitioned to auditioning for films instead.

Scarlett Johansson earned her first award before she was a teenager

Although Scarlett Johansson began her career as a child star, she wasn’t sure if she liked being on set. But everything changed when she landed her first film role in 1994’s “North” when she was 8 years old, and the experience gave her the acting bug. “I was a big song-and-dance type of kid — you know, one of those kids with jazz hands,” she recalled to Interview in 2013. “I liked to improvise and do weird vocal exercises.”

Her role in “North” opened the doors to many more opportunities for Johansson, who solidified herself as the real deal in “The Horse Whisperer” in 1998. “I’d made probably five or six movies at that point — I was doing a lot of really emotional work — but I remember finding that place of realizing, “Oh, wait, I can manipulate this thing that I’m doing,” she said to Interview. “I could start to see the colors of the scenes and to understand the nuances of what went into giving a performance. It was this realization that acting was more than just this natural thing — that it was something that you could craft.”

Johansson continued her ascent when she was nominated for an award at the 1997 Independent Spirit Awards for her role in “Manny & Lo,” per W Magazine, proving her worth in the industry before she was a teen.

Scarlett Johansson’s parents inspired her acting performances

A year after Scarlett Johansson was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, she was faced with a difficult change in her personal life: her parents’ divorce. “At the time it was difficult to understand why they did certain things,” she recalled to Elle. The divorce was hard on Johansson because her family separated as well. Johansson revealed in an interview on “Inside the Actors Studio” that her mother moved to California, while she, her twin brother, and their father stayed in New York.

Her parents’ divorce, while painful at the time, helped Johansson build on her acting performances. The Cut noted that many of Johansson’s films revolve around marital problems, and she admitted that she drew on her parents’ divorce for 2019’s “Marriage Story,” for which she was nominated for a slew of acting awards. “I had some kind of shared experience with the character, or with any person going through a divorce, really,” she told Vanity Fair in 2019. “I understood the bittersweetness of it somehow, in a way. All those kind of in-between feelings that the character has.”

Johansson noted that she “understood” those feelings because she had gone through them herself and had seen her parents go through them.

Scarlett Johansson has become one of the most outspoken actors in Hollywood

Scarlett Johansson, even from an early age, wouldn’t take no for an answer, and she has become even more outspoken throughout the years. She has been a strong advocate for women in a male-dominated industry and doesn’t have time for any labels, telling The Hollywood Reporter in a roundtable discussion in 2019 that she never agreed with the public’s perception of her. “When I was working in my early 20s and even my late teens, I felt that I sort of got somehow typecast as hyper𝑠e𝑥ualized,” she explained. “I guess at the time [it] seemed okay to everyone — it was another time — even though it wasn’t part of my own narrative.”

Thankfully, Johansson has stood her ground and found a husband in Colin Jost who sees her for who she really is: a hardworking and talented woman. Johansson married Jost in October 2020, per Elle, after three years of dating. Jost told People that the wedding ceremony was special because “we were just so happy to be able to celebrate with our family,’ while adding, “We felt really fortunate that we were able to do it.’”

It’s safe to say that Johansson is living her best life at 36 years old — and we couldn’t be more grateful to witness her growth.



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