Monday 18 February 2019

It's really all about Eve Hewson

Bono's daughter has stepped out of his shadow to prove that, sometimes, you can make it on your own.

Eve Hewson arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Eve Hewson arrives at the 2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Ali Hewson, Bono, Eve and sister Jordan support Bono at the ‘Spider- Man Turn Off The Dark’ Broadway opening night in 2011.
Eve accompanies her father Bono to the 2013 Vanity Fair Oscar Party.
Eve Hewson in Knick.
Danielle Ryan
Simone Rocha
Aisling Quinn, daughter of Niall

Ed Power

It can't have been straightforward, growing up the daughter of one of the world's biggest celebrities. Especially if you dreamed of emulating your famous father and making your name in show business. But Eve Hewson - the 23-year-old actress and second child of Bono - has done an astonishingly good job of stepping outside her dad's shadow and standing on her own two feet. You might say she has made it look effortless.

Hewson has been verging on famous for several years. She won acclaim opposite Sean Penn in This Must Be The Place (about a glum '80s singer holed up in Dublin) and held her own against James Gandolfini in the late actor's final movie, Enough Said. However, it is her role in lauded new American cable drama The Knick (the first episode airs on Sky Atlantic tomorrow) which has cemented her status as a star on the rise.

Putting her weirdly Americanised accent - she sounds like she grew up in Malibu, not Dalkey - to effective use, in The Knick, she plays a distractingly beautiful nurse at a New York hospital in the 1900s. With medicine just out of its leeches-and-bonesaw phase, the show is an engagingly gruesome shop-window for Hewson's acting - in the first episode she is required to inject a vial of cocaine into the genitalia of actor Clive Owen. That's quite an arrival.

We tend to form preconceptions about the scions of the exceedingly famous. They are assumed to be privileged, obnoxious, lacking in ambition. Things, we imagine, have been presented to them on a plate their whole lives - what's the motivation to get out of bed every morning and be productive?

Raised in relatively anonymity in South County Dublin, Hewson has avoided familiar bratzilla pitfalls however. Yes, her Valley Girl twang makes it hard to straightforwardly root for her (appearing on Jimmy Fallon's talk show to promote The Knick recently, she came across as a Hollister-garlanded SoCoDu princess on steroids). And yet, it would clearly be a mistake to dismiss her as a silver-spooned daughter of entitlement. For one thing, Bono and her mother Ali Hewson, were by every account not keen on her entering show business. Actually, it seems they were dead against it.

"My parents were being protective of me, and I honestly didn't think they would have been good parents if they weren't wary of me, their daughter, entering the entertainment industry," Eve said recently. "They wanted to make sure I really knew what I was signing up for and that I was serious. And I basically said to my dad that, look, I'm just as passionate about movies as you were about music, and when you were 18 you wouldn't let anyone stop you so you've gotta let me do this. He was like, 'Oh shit. I do.' He was like, 'Crap'."

A determination to succeed in the face of daunting odds is clearly in her genes. However, her parents can also claim credit for bringing her up in as normal an environment as possible in view of their status as the first family of Irish rock. She was born in 1991, the second of Bono and Ali's four kids (she has an older sister Jordan, and two younger brothers, Elijah and John). Growing up in Dalkey, no doubt her childhood was cosseted - but it bore little resemblance to a stereotypical rich kid coming-of-age. She wasn't, as is traditional for rock stars' progeny, packed off to Swiss finishing school; rather than relying on a fleet of nannies and child-minders, Bono and Ali appear to have been hands-on parents.

After graduating from St Andrew's College in Booterstown - described by Wikipedia as "one of the most liberal schools in Ireland" - she studied acting for two years at New York University (bidding adieu to the last vestiges of her Irish accent). Away from home, she was encouraged to live like a normal person. Bono's $25 million Upper Westside penthouse was off limits - like her classmates, Hewson was expected to rough it in cramped undergraduate accommodation (she shared a room with another student).

"My family's been through it all," she said recently, reflecting on how her dad's fame has impacted on her. "Even just simple things, like my family's been through stupid tabloid rumors, so they don't believe everything that they read. I don't have my grandparents calling me being like, 'Are you pregnant?' It's actually really helpful that they've been through it before."

Has being Bono's little girl helped her career?

Unquestionably it has raised her profile. And yet, the way Hewson tells it, in cinema and television nobody cares where you come from - it's all about where you are going.

"What's great about Hollywood is that it is so cutthroat, and it really fucking doesn't matter who you are," Eve told journalists in the run-up to The Knick's first airing.

"If you're not right for the part, you're not right for the part. No director is going to sacrifice their film because they want someone's famous kid in it for a headline."

These kids are alright

Eve isn't the only child of an Irish celebrity stubbornly forging their own path.

Simone Rocha

The Dublin-raised daughter of designer John has been hailed "one of the hottest designers on the planet" by Vogue. The magazine rated her as among the "the eight anti-diva design stars who are transforming fashion now". Fans include Lady Gaga and Rihanna, who have sported her creations.

Aisling Quinn

The 19-year-old daughter of soccer star Niall is making a name for herself as a model. But, despite her stunning looks, she isn't banking on the catwalk for her future - Quinn is currently studying business and law at UCD. "I'm happy to do it part time," she said of modeling, "and to do my degree in college."

Zoe Jordan

Dad Eddie gave Formula One an Irish gloss via his Grand Prix team. Daughter Zoe, meanwhile, is an up-and-coming fashion designer who has been lauded by Vogue and featured at this year's New York Fashion Week.

Danielle Ryan

The granddaughter of Ryanair founder Tony, actress/entrepreneur Danielle has appeared in The Tudors and Casualty and in 2013 unveiled the fashion brand Roads, which produces fragrances and coffee table books and is also involved in film production.

Irish Independent

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