Maya Hawke Admits Nepotism Led to 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Role

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman's daughter Maya embraced the label in a new interview promoting her third studio album, 'Chaos Angel.'

Maya Hawke is not shy about being labeled a "nepo baby." In fact, she embraces it, and she even admits being a "nepo baby" is what landed her a role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman's 25-year-old daughter made the revelation in a new interview with The Times of London, who headlined the profile "Maya Hawke: My life as a Hollywood nepo baby." In the lengthy interview, the actress recalled her 2019 Hollywood Reporter interview, in which she shared she "got an audition for the project through the normal channels through my agents [and] I did an audition in my bedroom with my dad ... we sent in the tape to Quentin and I got a callback."

In retrospect, Maya says she could have chosen her words a little more carefully.

"I've been wildly made fun of for this clip when I said, on the red carpet, that I auditioned," she told The Times. "I never meant to imply that I didn't get the part for nepotistic reasons -- I think I totally did."

Maya landed the role of one of Charles Manson's followers, Flower Child. But Maya was far from the only actress in Tarantino's film with famous parents. There was also Margaret Qualley (the daughter of Andie MacDowell) and Rumer Willis (the daughter of Bruce Willis).

Maya Hawke at the premiere of her film, "Wildcat," on April 11, 2024 in New York City. - Getty

Earlier in the interview, Maya scoffed at the notion that she "deserves" her current status in Hollywood as a rising star who has put in the work long before she hit the screen -- from her productions in high school to attending the prestigious Juilliard School in New York City. 

"'‘Deserves' is a complicated word," she says. "There are so many people who deserve to have this kind of life who don't, but I think I'm comfortable with not deserving it and doing it anyway. And I know that my not doing it wouldn't help anyone. I saw two paths when I was first starting, and one of them was: change your name, get a nose job and go to open casting roles."

She acknowledged that the "honest" relationship she has with her famous parents afforded her a level of comfort in accepting the "nepo baby" role.

Maya Hawke and her famous mother, Uma Thurman, on Jan. 22, 2019 in Paris, France. - Getty

"It's OK to be made fun of when you're in rarefied air," said Maya, who has since also appeared in Stranger Things and Bradley Cooper's, Maestro. "It's a lucky place to be. My relationships with my parents are really honest and positive, and that supersedes anything anyone can say about it."

Maya is so comfortable with the "nepo baby" label that in her new single, "Chaos Angel," she sings about it:

"Born with my foot in the door / and my mind in the gutter / and my guts on the floor."

Back in September, Maya and her famous father interviewed each other for ET in Toronto, Canada, and spoke about nepotism, a topic that came to the social conscious forefront in 2022 after New York Magazine's nepotism cover sparked a fiery discourse in Hollywood and beyond.

Ethan Hawke with his daughter, Maya Hawke, at the premiere of their film, "Wildcat." - Getty

"Your generation gets a lot of flack about this expression, which somehow seems derogatory, this nepo child, and I wanna align myself as a nepo father," said Ethan, who joked that Maya hired him to direct her 2023 film, Wildcat.

For her part, Maya acknowledged that having famous parents who are well connected in the industry doesn't hurt.

"I think the criticism of the kids has to do with access and opportunity, and so I'm hesitant around it, though I do appreciate the humorous recognition of our process," Maya said.

Ethan added, "Let me publicly say on Entertainment Tonight that I'm really grateful for one of the best job offers of my life, and I don't care how it came about."