WOMEN

'Girls'' Reluctant Star

04/16/2012 10:39 am ET

It shouldn't be surprising that Jemima Kirke, the scene-stealing actress from Lena Dunham's indie hit "Tiny Furniture," has gone on to become one of the scene-stealing stars of Dunham's upcoming HBO series "Girls," which premieres this Sunday to dazzling critical acclaim. On-screen, Kirke comes across as carefree and glamorous, the kind of friend with a cool-girl vibe that can lead to a lot of fun trouble. In both "Tiny Furniture" and “Girls," Kirke plays characters who are similar to real-life Kirke: well-traveled, funny, super-stylish and British (the accent, in case you were wondering, is real). Like the other stars of "Girls," Kirke's parents are famous: Her father is Simon Kirke, the drummer from Bad Company, and her mother is interior designer/muse Lorraine Kirke.

What is surprising is that Kirke considers herself a painter, not an actress, and had to be coerced to get in front of the camera. Kirke received her BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of design (you can see some of her oil portraits here). She met Lena Dunham at St. Ann's high school in Brooklyn Heights and agreed to help her out with "Tiny Furniture" after college. She is also the mother of a toddler. (Full-disclosure: I first met Jemima because I occasionally baby-sat her daughter.)

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