Date of Birth: 17 August 1994, New Jersey, USA
Birth Name: Taissa Jonas Farmiga
Height: 5′ 4″ (1,63 m)
Taissa Farmiga was born and raised in the Whitehouse Station area of Readington Township, New Jersey. She is the youngest of seven children born to Ukrainian American parents Lubomyra (née Spas), a schoolteacher, and Michael Farmiga, a systems analyst. Her older siblings are Victor, Vera, Stephan, Nadia, Alexander, and Laryssa; the latter of whom was born with spina bifida. Her paternal cousin is visual artist Adriana Farmiga. She attended public school until fourth grade, after which she began homeschooling. Taissa has stated that she understands the Ukrainian language but can only partially speak it. She is proficient in American Sign Language, having taken classes for four years.
Her maternal grandparents, Nadia (née Pletenciw; 1925–2014) and Theodor Spas (1921–90), met at a displaced Ukrainian persons camp in Karlsfeld during World War II. At the time, Theodor was working as a mechanic for the United States Army. Her grandparents emigrated to the U.S. in 1950 when Taissa’s mother was an infant. Her father was born in Ukraine and raised in Argentina. A former soccer player, Michael was scouted to play for the Argentine national team, and also played professionally for the Newark Ukrainian Sitch.
Although Taissa initially planned to be an accountant, she was persuaded to appear in her sister Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut drama Higher Ground, playing the 16-year-old version of the lead character Corinne Walker. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2011, to critical acclaim. Shortly after, and following rave reviews for her performance, she was signed to talent agency ICM Partners. In May 2011, she was cast in the first season of the FX anthology series American Horror Story, launching Taissa to worldwide prominence. She portrayed Violet Harmon, the troubled adolescent daughter of Vivien (Connie Britton) and Ben Harmon (Dylan McDermott), a role she secured in her first professional acting audition. American Horror Story: Murder House premiered on October 5, 2011, to positive reviews. Taissa then joined the cast of Sofia Coppola’s crime satire The Bling Ring, based on the real life group of the same name. She portrayed wild child Sam Moore, a character modelled after Tess Taylor. The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival on May 16, 2013, to generally positive reviews.
In June 2012, Taissa Farmiga signed on to portray Audrey Martin, an uptight teen touring a college campus, in the independent romantic comedy At Middleton, co-starring with her sister. The film premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on May 17, 2013, receiving a mixed to positive response from critics. Taissa Farmiga then returned to American Horror Story for the third season of the series. She portrayed Zoe Benson, a young witch afflicted with a dark and dangerous power. American Horror Story: Coven premiered on October 9, 2013, to positive reviews. She had her first starring role as Anna Greene in Jorge Dorado’s psychological thriller Mindscape. The world premiere was held at the Sitges Film Festival on October 13, 2013. The film was released in the United States on June 6, 2014, to a mixed critical reception. She next co-starred as Sarah, the main character’s love interest, in the biographical crime drama Jamesy Boy. The film was given a limited release in the United States on January 17, 2014, receiving mostly unfavorable reviews.
Taissa Farmiga joined the cast of Todd Strauss-Schulson’s horror comedy The Final Girls, portraying the lead role of final girl Max Cartwright. The film premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 13, 2015, to critical acclaim. Her next film role was as Melanie Clark in Hannah Fidell’s heavily improvised romantic drama 6 Years, alongside Ben Rosenfield. The film opened at SXSW on March 14, 2015, to mostly positive reviews from critics. Taissa then starred as protagonist Krystal Williams, a teenager who returns to school after an explicit video of her sexual assault goes viral, in Pippa Bianco’s short drama film Share. The short also premiered at SXSW on March 14, 2015, to a positive reception. Her performances in all three films were acclaimed, and Taissa was listed as one of the breakout stars of SXSW. She subsequently co-starred as Karen McClaren, a young journalist who gets caught up in the hunt for a serial killer, in ABC’s short-lived crime drama series Wicked City. The series premiered on October 27, 2015, and was cancelled after three episodes due to low ratings. However, the remaining episodes were released in December 2015 through Hulu.
In 2016, Taissa Farmiga made her stage debut as Shelly in the Off-Broadway revival of Sam Shepard’s drama Buried Child. Also starring Ed Harris and Amy Madigan, the production ran from February 2 through April 3, 2016, at The New Group, and was directed by Scott Elliott. The play was met with a mostly positive reception from theatre critics. She next starred opposite Ethan Hawke and John Travolta in the Ti West-directed revenge Western film In a Valley of Violence. Taissa Farmiga portrayed Mary-Anne, a motormouthed young innkeeper who befriends Hawke’s character. The film premiered at South by Southwest on March 12, 2016, and was met with positive reviews. She then made her voice acting debut as the superhero Raven in DC Comics’ Justice League vs. Teen Titans, directed by Sam Liu. The film was released direct-to-video on March 29, 2016. She returned to American Horror Story for the sixth season of the series, American Horror Story: Roanoke, guest starring as Sophie Green in the episode “Chapter 9”.
Taissa Farmiga next appeared as Sarah Bransford, the fiancée of Alden Ehrenreich’s character, in Warren Beatty’s ensemble romantic comedy-drama Rules Don’t Apply, released on November 23, 2016. The project reunited Farmiga with her Buried Child co-stars Harris and Madigan, who portray her character’s parents in the film. She has been cast in the lead role of Merricat Blackwood in Stacie Passon’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, alongside Sebastian Stan and Alexandra Daddario.
Taissa took American Sign Language classes for three years with her homeschool group and was an advanced student. She was part of a signing group called Signs of Hope.
Says sister Vera Farmiga serves as her stylist for public events. For her part, Vera told Teen Vogue: “Taissa is the person you take with you to choose your Oscar gown and then take to In-N-Out Burger. As much of an age difference as there is (21 years), she is one of my best friends in the world.”.
Loves the outdoors and enjoys snowboarding and hiking.
Initially had no ambitions to become an actress, but was persuaded to appear in Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut Higher Ground (2011).
Daughter of Ukrainian immigrant parents, she’s the youngest of seven children.
Farmiga attended public school until the fourth grade when her mother began homeschooling her along with two of her siblings.
Taissa is pronounced ‘tie-E-sa’.
American Horror Story (2011) was her first audition.
She is one of 7 siblings. She’s also the youngest child.
Taissa’s father was born in 1942 and her mother in March 1949; thus they were already 52 and 45 years old respectively when they had Taissa.
Quotes[on playing the strong-willed, feisty Violet in American Horror Story (2011)] The horror aspect, the scary parts, are easy for me. I mean I can get into that pretty easy, because I get scared. You have to invest yourself in these characters.
I was hoping, actually, that being on the other side of the camera in a scary movie, see how it’s filmed and maybe you won’t be as scared next time you watch one… didn’t really work out! Because I know it’s fake, but I just get so into it.
I get scared easily, so I’m not one for just sitting down with a bowl of popcorn and watching horror stories. But, I mean, I’m learning more. Maybe one day I’d like to be able to watch them.
American Horror Story (2011) is dark, so you shouldn’t be expecting too much happiness.