Caitriona Balfe: biography
Nowadays Caitriona Balfe is a well-known star of the TV series Outlander about a military nurse lost between worlds, but a few people know that the young woman has become the first Irish model who was featured on the famous runways. Her photos appeared on the covers of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, and now Caitriona is one of the most in-demand actresses of TV projects and a frequent guest of the Golden Globe ceremonies.
Childhood and youth
Caitriona Balfe was born on October 4, 1979, in the Irish town of Monaghan, Ulster. Her father served as a sergeant in the police, and her mother worked as a marriage agent. In addition to the girl, six children were brought up in the family, two of them were foster children. They lived in the village of Tydavnet, near Monaghan.
Caitriona showed interest in acting in early childhood. At the age of 7, she began attending a youth drama school. The first role of the girl was Mr. Bumble, a fat, greedy and arrogant official in Oliver Twist’s story.
Sister Deirdre saw Caitriona’s beauty and natural grace, so she urged her to try her hand at modeling. Balfe refused because she did not want to turn into a doll. Caitriona did not like that anyone could put on make-up and make her wear any clothes at his own and sole discretion. She wanted to build an acting career, and at the age of 17 she enrolled in the drama department of the Dublin Institute of Technology and for the first time left her native village.
In the capital of Ireland, Caitriona had an independent life which was full of exciting events. 1999 was a turning point in her biography. During the Easter holidays, she worked at a supermarket as a food packer for people with multiple sclerosis. One day a man approached her and asked her to think about going to the runway. He gave her a business card of Assets, the most significant Irish model agency.
Caitriona trained for the next few months. She participated in shows of local designers, posed for the covers of Dublin magazines. Perhaps Balfe would have remained an ordinary fashion model, but the representatives of Ford Model, a leading US agency, noticed her. The young woman had a day to pack, and then she went to conquer Paris.
The debut and significant event in the modeling career of Caitriona was the 30th anniversary of Kenzo. The top models who have ever worked with the brand participated in the anniversary show. For example, the Irish woman followed Iman on the runway. However, Balfe managed to stand out among the famous beautiful ladies. The leading fashion houses wanted that Caitriona with her snowy skin, a little bit strongly-built body (Balfe weighed 60 kg with a height of 177 cm), light blue eyes and a big smile wore their collections. But Calvin Klein Inc. turned out to be faster and signed a one-year contract with the girl.
Balfe told in an interview that the first year in the modeling business was exhausting, she could sleep only on the way between filming and shows. During the day she had to use energy drinks and caffeine. But the result was worth it because Caitriona walked for Miu Miu in Milan, Chanel, Givenchy, and Gucci in Paris.
When the model moved to New York City, Dolce & Gabbana begged her to become the face of the brand, and Narciso Rodriguez created fragrances inspired by the foreign, beautiful lady. In the USA, Caitriona wore the famous wings and became the first Irish Angel of Victoria's Secret. Balfe joked that she was probably the “whitest angel in the history of the brand.” The young woman walked in underwear side by side with top models Heidi Klum, Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks. When Caitriona Balfe was ranked in the top 20 most in-demand models in the world, the 29-year-old woman announced her retirement:
"Fashion is a sphere in which you are growing old rapidly."
The woman planned to fulfill her dream and become an actress.
While working as a model, the Irishwoman appeared as an employee of Runway magazine in the movie The Devil Wears Prada (2006) about the fashion world.
After retirement from modeling career in 2009, Caitriona moved to Los Angeles, where she spent many months improving her acting skills. In the film Super 8 directed by J.J. Abrams (2011), the woman did not say a word. The following year, Balfe was cast in two projects: the series H+: The Digital Series (2012) and the film Now You See Me (2013), where she was also not allowed to "open her mouth."
“I would have become a silent movie star in the 1920s!”, Balfe joked in an interview.
Caitriona finally spoke in Escape Plan (2013), starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. She performed the role of Jessica Miller, a CIA agent, who hired Stallone’s character to inspect the prison security system.
In between filming the woman participated in the creation of music videos. Balfe appeared in the music video for the song “First Fires” of the British singer, Bonobo, as well as in Phoenix’s video for "Chloroform," which was directed by Sofia Coppola. The career break was short, and in September 2013, Caitriona was cast to portray a title character in the TV series Outlander. The role of Claire Randall is the most significant in the Irishwoman’s filmography.
The series is based on the books of American writer Diana Gabaldon. The actions unfold in 1945 and 1743. In the so-called present, military nurse Claire Randall and her husband Frank go on a vacation to Scotland. Under mystical circumstances, Claire finds herself transported back to the past, where Frank's double, Jack, is a villain. Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) shelters the young lady from the wrath of the ruler. Claire and Jamie’s relationship is developing during the war between the British and the wild Highland warriors.
Outlander allowed Caitriona to show her acting potential. She won the Saturn Awards, the People's Choice Awards, the BAFTA Scotland Awards, the Oscar Wilde Awards for Best Actress – Television Series Drama. In 2014, Entertainment Weekly magazine named Balfe the Breakout Star and Woman of the Year. A year later, the woman was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama, but Taraji Henson (the drama series Empire) won it.
In 2002, Caitriona dated the guitarist of the American rock band Radio 4, Dave Milone. Although the model had a busy working schedule, she found time to film together with her lover in several music videos for the songs "He is a Chemical" and "The Damage Done." The couple allegedly broke up in 2007, immediately after the release of the second video.
In 2008, the media found out about Balfe’s relationship with screenwriter Jamie Moss, the creator of the films Street Kings, X-Men: First Class. 3 years later, the lovers separated.
After the release of the TV series Outlander, fans suspected Caitriona of the love affair with Sam Heughan, a partner on the set. Moreover, the actors fueled speculation, calling each other "husband" and "wife," "Mr" and "Mrs” on Twitter, posting ambiguous photos on Instagram. Fans waited for the creation of a new couple, but in 2018 a significant event happened in the private life of Balfe because she got engaged.
Her boyfriend was Tony McGill. The couple hid the relationship, and in 2015, they said openly: "We are not a couple." But at the 2018 Golden Globe Award ceremony, Caitriona appeared with a ring on her ring finger. It is known that Tony made her a marriage proposal during New Year's holidays.
Caitriona Balfe now
In the story, two well-known automotive designers must create a powerful car for driver Ken Miles. Caitriona will play Ken's wife, Mollie.
- 2006 – The Devil Wears Prada
- 2011 – Super 8
- 2011 – H+: The Digital Series
- 2013 – Now You See Me
- 2013 – Escape Plan
- 2014-2018 – Outlander
- 2016 – Money Monster
- 2019 – Ford v. Ferrari