Emily VanCamp was born on May 12, 1986 to her mother and animal nutritionist father in the small town of Port Perry, Ontario, Canada. Growing up, she was third in the family of four girls, so it can be said she was a hyper middle child. At the ripe young age of three, Emily started dancing all around her house. When she got older, she told her mother she wanted to move away from home to pursue it further. Her mother was hesitant, but supported her daughter nonetheless. At 11, Emily applied to L’Ecole Superieure de Danse de Quebec and when she was accepted, she moved there to study ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and tap.
Emily was influenced to start a career in the acting biz when she saw her oldest sister, Katie, do a film. She found an agent when her mom told her to find one herself if she was truly serious about pursuing it. And she was. Emily was passionate about acting from the moment she saw her sister on the set of that movie. After finding an agent, Emily starred in two commercials, one which involved her standing in a big pot of ice cream. By then, she was trying to balance her dancing and acting career at the same time, and finally decided to focus her attention soley on acting since she loved it more. She left the school after three years. With the help of her agent it wasn’t long before she landed parts. In 2000, she starred in an episode of the popular Nickelodeon television show, Are You Afraid Of The Dark? and went on to have a small role in the made for television movie Jackie O: A Life Story. The following year, she starred in an independent film named Lost & Delirious, which got rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival that year.
2002 was the year her television career started. She landed a role as one of the main characters in Kevin Williamson’s new show, Glory Days . After a few months, it stopped production and was taken off the air. However, she wouldn’t be out of a job for long. She soon learned she won the part of Amy Abbott for Everwood. Greg Berlanti, creator of the show, had seen her performance on Glory Days and was certain she would be perfect for the part of Amy. After living in Montreal for a few years, she moved to Utah to be near the filming sites for Berlanti’s new show.
For four years from 2002-2006, she played the character of Amy Abbott flawlessly, with dignity and grace. Her natural beauty and effortless talent made her presence on screen remarkable and a joy to watch. She was never afraid to go beyond the limits to perform the best she could with the role of Amy, even with difficulty. Her acting during Amy’s depression storyline in the show’s second season could have well given her an Emmy. The show was broadcast on the WB. The network ceased in 2006 then later became what is now known as The CW. In this transition, a decision was made to cancel the show so after the fourth season concluded, it did not continue. Alternate scenes for the finale was filmed in case this would happen so the ending could be a proper goodbye for the fans.
After Everwood ended, Emily sold her house in Park City, Utah and moved to Los Angeles. It didn’t take long for her to receive a new project. She landed a guest starring role in the popular crime drama, Law & Order: SVU, playing a girl named Charlotte who gets herself tangled in a web of lies and deceit while being the main suspect to her mother’s murder.
Not long after that, Emily scored a pivotal role in the hit television series Brothers & Sisters on ABC. Greg Berlanti, creator or Everwood, was an executive producer on this show. Because of his confidence in her, she did not even have to audition for the part; it was offered to her by him. Emily played the character of Rebecca Harper, the youngest of the Walker family. Or so we thought. It was revealed in season two that she was not the illegitimate daughter of William Walker and Holly Harper after all, but of Holly and another man. This opened the door for the Justin/Rebecca relationship. She worked on the show from 2007-2010 and left before the fifth season completed filming. She felt the role of Rebecca had run its course and wanted to pursue other opportunities. Unfortunately for the rest of the B&S crew, the show would be canceled by ABC. But luckily for Emily, she would land the role of Emily Thorne in ABC’s Revenge, keeping her in the ABC family and opening her up to new experiences and challenges.
During the audition process for Revenge, Emily convinced the producers that she would be able to deliver in the role. They were wary that she could rise to the caliber necessary to play Ms. Thorne because of her past girl-next-door type roles. But she won them over.
The premise of the show was simple. It was the story of a young woman named Amanda Clarke who lost her father at a young age at the hand of the rich and powerful Graysons of New York. Her father, David, was blackmailed for a terrorist crime he did not commit and as a result, she lost her father, her childhood, and her innocence. She trained her whole life to infiltrate the Graysons and seek revenge on them and anyone who did her father wrong by any means necessary (except killing). She assumed the identity of Emily Thorne and created a fake backstory and paper trail of her life. Once she was ready, she reeked havoc on the Hamptons. With an endless money supply, wits, and fighting skills she was almost unstoppable. She was very clever in covering her tracks and had the help of hacker friend Nolan Ross, who saw her father as a mentor. Lies, manipulation, drama, sex, and of course revenge were constants in the show. It premiered in 2011 and ran for four seasons, ending in 2015. The show gained massive success both in the United States and internationally. She graced the covers of countless magazines and was able to promote the show in countries such as Japan and Australia, where it did very well. Her sympathetic appearance helped the audience root for her character despite all the diabolical and unmoral things she did.
Apart from her television career, Emily has also found time to shoot films during summer hiatuses. In 2004, she played Sharon Stone’s daughter in A Different Loyalty and was also cast in the eventual box office hit, The Ring 2, a sequel to 2002’s The Ring. In the summer of 2005, she filmed Black Irish, a coming-of-age movie, on the streets of Boston. For the summer of 2006, she filmed the post-apocalyptic thriller, Carriers. In mid-2008, she shot an indie flick named Norman. This film would be the last time she would play a high school character. 2009 would bring Emily to the streets of Spain and Morocco for the remake of Ben-Hur. For the television movie Beyond the Blackboard, which aired in early 2011, she was able to reunite with Treat Williams, who she worked with previously on Everwood.
Being the lead character and protagonist for Revenge meant that she did not have as much freedom or time to shoot films but two were possible. One was an indie flicked called The Girl in the Book which was able to film in the streets of New York City in 2013 thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that helped fund it. The second was her role as Kate / Agent 13 in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She beat the likes of Emilia Clarke, Teresa Palmer, Alison Brie, and Anna Kendrick for the role. She joined the ranks of Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, and more in her first big blockbuster. While her screentime in the film was only a few minutes long, it comes with a bright future in the Marvel cinematic universe. Even more so now that Captain America: Civil War, which she filmed in the summer of 2015, is about to be released in theaters. Her character Sharon Carter (yes, there is a relation to Peggy Carter) aka Agent 13 will have a much bigger presence in this film.
After filming Captain America: Civil War, she told herself she would take a small break from acting after the busy year she had. But she could not refuse the beautiful script for Borders, previously known as Pays. In it, she plays an international mediator. The French film will be the first time she’s spoken another language other than English for a project (she previously spoke French in a scene for Everwood but that was cut and ended up as a deleted scene on the Season 1 DVD).
Wherever her career leads to next, I know it will be a success because everything she does is impressive. With both a television and movie career under her belt and her undeniable talent, the future for Emily is nothing but promising.
© Shirphie, written for Emily VanCamp Online
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Last updated April 2016