Sharni Vinson was born in New South Wales, Australia and grew up in Sydney’s southern beach suburb of Cronulla, in the Sutherland Shire. As a teenager, she trained and competed at a National Level in swimming, holding a total of 4 State records throughout high school. Sharni began singing, dancing and acting at a young age, becoming the 3rd generation of performers in her family. Her Mother was a performer in musical theater, and her grandmother was Australia’s youngest ballerina in 1945 to be offered a scholarship in the Borovansky Ballet Company in England. At the age of 12, Sharni enrolled as a student in the Brent Street School of Performing Arts in Sydney, where she trained in ballet, contemporary, hip hop, tap, drama, singing, and musical theater over the next 10 years. At the age of 17 Sharni graduated high school and within a month, was signed to Roadshow Music Australia as a member of the all girl pop group, “Foxfire IV”, whose debut single ‘Roses’ reached the top 50 on Australia’s ARIA’s charts.
Vinson is still best known amongst Australian audiences for her role as ‘Cassie Turner’ in the long running television series, “Home and Away”. After having previously appeared twice on the show as minor characters, Vinson was asked to join the show permanently in 2004. Her performance earned her a nomination for ‘Most Popular New Talent’ at the TV Week Logie Awards in 2006. In 2008, Sharni announced she would be leaving the #1 Australian drama series to pursue a career in America, where she was immediately embraced by the entertainment industry.
In January 2008, she was chosen by director David Nutter (Smallville, Supernatural), to appear in the $50M LG ‘Scarlet’ TV series advertisement campaign, shot in Bangkok,Thailand. From there, she booked continuous guest roles on CSI:NY, NCIS, My Boys, Cold Case, and CW pilot ‘Austin Golden Hour’. She also secured herself the lead role in the pilot presentation, ‘The Depths’, produced by Gregory Bonann (creator/producer ‘Baywatch’).
In March 2009, after an extensive search for a leading lady with amazing dance capability, Vinson booked the coveted lead role of ‘Natalie’ in Disney’s “Step Up 3D”- the third installment of the ‘Step Up’ dance film franchise. The physically demanding role required a brutal 5 month ‘boot camp’, which included lengthy days of weight lifting, dance rehearsals, dialect coaching, capoeira classes and parkour training. The ‘Step Up’ series has since become the most successful series of dance films in the world, with a total of 5 films collectively grossing over $450M worldwide. ‘Step Up 3D’, was released in August 2010 and has since alone, grossed over $180M worldwide.
In need of an actress highly accomplished in water skills, Vinson portrayed the bitchy, pro-surfer ‘Tara’ in ‘Blue Crush 2, Wild Coast’ – a role which was later written in to add Vinson to the film. It was then asked that Vinson display her ocean savvy skills in the middle of shark infested waters in Durban, South Africa. The film required all of its actors to partake in a vigorous surf camp, where they all learned the ambidextrous skills of surfing. The film was released in June 2011 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
By the end of 2011, Sharni had headed back to her home country, where she joined the Australian/Singaporean co-produced shark thriller ‘BAIT 3D’, written by Russell Mulcahy (Resident Evil- Extinction). The film was renamed ‘Shark 3D’ for Chinese audiences, which literally took a bite out of the China box office after it opened #1 in October 2012, grossing over $25M in its first 3 weeks in theaters.
But it was Vinson’s next role which would finally earn her the industry credibility and recognition she had been seeking. In March 2011, Sharni had auditioned for the low budget, indie horror film, titled “YOU’RE NEXT”, which for months had been unable to cast its lead female actress. It was during her audition that the director and producers became convinced they had finally found their lead girl, and writer Simon Barrett re-created the role of ‘Erin’ to suit the actresses’ native Australian background. During the film’s premiere screening in 2011 at the Toronto International Film Festival, an immediate bidding war erupted, which eventually saw ‘Lionsgate’ win the battle to acquire the film. The company then soon merged with Summit Entertainment, creating a back log in their combined list of films, and by the time “YOU’RE NEXT” was finally released in September 2013, it had sat ‘on the shelf’ for 2 years. However, due to the buzz which had been building throughout the industry and by word of mouth of horror fans across the globe, the film managed to open to overwhelming success. ‘YOU’RE NEXT’ was across the board, named one of the “best horror movies of 2013”, and Vinson’s role as the perfect blend of girl-next-door meets tough action survivalist, has since earned her the title of America’s new ‘scream queen’. Vinson’s most critically acclaimed role saw her take home Best Horror Actress at Fantastic Fest 2011.
In October 2012 Sharni starred in the music video “Put Your Hands Up” for Matchbox 20.
In November 2012, Sharni led the way in ‘PATRICK’, the remake of an Australian cult classic, originally released in 1978. She was asked to play the lead role of ‘Nurse Kathy’ opposite Charles Dance (Game of Thrones, Alien) and Rachel Griffiths (Six Feet Under, Brothers and Sisters). The film was shot in Melbourne, Australia, and again, earned Sharni critical acclaim for her portrayal of a caring nurse who becomes the subject of her telepathic, murderous coma patient. The Australian Film Critics Association nominated her performance for Best Actress in 2014 at the AFCA Awards.
In June 2014, Sharni was asked to join Jackie Chan in his latest action adventure epic, “Dragon Blade”, opposite John Cusack (Being John Malkovich) and Adrien Brody (The Pianist). As one of most costly Chinese films of all time, it released in February 2015 breaking all records at the box office in China. In “Dragon Blade”, Sharni plays the Queen of the Roman Empire in the days of early war on the Silk Road.
In October 2014, Sharni teamed up with NYFA film student Shantal Freedman to play small town cop ‘Jackie’ in her final graduation project at the New York Film Academy. The short film titled “TICKETED” went on to become an official selection for the 2015 Short Film Corner at Cannes International Film Festival, the LA Shorts Fest, and won Best Student Film at the LA Cinema Festival of Hollywood. Vinson also received an honorable mention for Best Principal Actress at the Independent Film Awards 2015.
Most recently, Sharni was asked to join Adi Shankar’s highly anticipated ‘Gods and Secrets’ which has generated interest from HBO. In the dark superhero series, Sharni plays the first female version of superhero ‘The Flash,’ set for release in early 2016. The series also stars Jane Seymore, Denise Richards, and WWE wrestler Diamond Dallas Page.
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