Mckenna Grace was born in Grapevine, Texas. On her 5th birthday, her great-grandparents gave her a dvd collection of Shirley Temple movies. After weeks of watching them, she declared “that’s what I want to do” and so began Mckenna’s desire and passion to entertain. In addition to putting on plays at home with her stuffed animals, she started attending a local acting class. The people running it quickly took notice telling her parents that she was “doing things you just can’t teach”. They were put in touch with an agent and within a week she booked her first job, a commercial for the YMCA. At the advice of the agency, they flew to Los Angeles for a couple days and Mckenna booked her first audition feature film “Goodbye World.” As fate would have it, her father was accepted into a orthopedic surgery residency program and the family re-located to California when Mckenna was 7.
At the young age of 11, Mckenna has already paved the way to an incredibly bright future. No stranger to the big screen she has worked alongside many greats, including Eddie Murphy and Britt Robertson in “Mr Church” and Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsh in “Independence Day Resurgence.” She has had worked on many hit television shows such as “Once Upon A Time”, “The Young and the Restless”, “CSI”, “CSI Cyber”, “The Vampire Diaries,” and more.
Her biggest role however, came after an 8-month audition process and a global search of over 600 girls, when Mckenna landed her first major leading role in Fox Searchlight’s “Gifted.” Directed by Marc Webb, she starred opposite Chris Evans as child prodigy Mary Adler. Variety praised her emotional performance saying “Precocious child actors can be annoying especially when they’re playing kids brilliant beyond their years, but Mckenna Grace, with appraising eyes, her top front teeth missing, and a sugary but brisk delivery that is never less than spontaneous, is like the Drew Barrymore of “E.T.” on speed-dial. When Mary Gripes that children her age bore her, it isn’t just haughty code for how smart she is; you really feel her alienation-her sadness at being a girl apart.”
Mckenna currently portrays Penny Kirkman, Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter in ABC’s hit show “Designated Survivor”. She most recently wrapped up filming on Miramax’s Margot Robbie lead drama “I, Tonya”, where she learned to ice-skate to play a young Tonya Harding (the latter being played by Robbie) opposite Allison Janney. She is currently working on Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House” due out in 2018.
In her spare time, Mckenna enjoys singing, being outside (especially if it’s raining), working on her fairy garden, crafting, watching scary movies. She is in the 6th grade, but reads at a 10th grade level. She loves visiting the book store and is currently on her 14th novel of 2017. Often described as an old soul, she is very caring and compassionate from the tiniest of bugs to her friends and family. When Mckenna left Texas for California, her grandfather told her the most important thing was to stay good, sweet and humble and to always try to have a good heart. It’s this attitude and her incredible work ethic that has garnered attention from many of the adults she works with. Despite her maturity, she has a natural innocence and child-like wonder that is contagious. Mckenna’s sweet spirit, genuine heart for others and love for life make her a joy to be around.