Since nursery school, Jessica Brown-Findlay aspired to be a famous ballerina. After training for years, she was asked at age 15 to dance with the Kirov Ballet at the Royal Opera House in London for a summer season. Her dreams were shattered when a botched ankle operation ended her dancing career. Changing tracks, she got into a few acting classes and was spotted almost immediately by a casting agent.
Jessica Brown-Findlay portrayed a contemporary teen in the 2011 coming-of-age feature film, Albatross, and finds a powerful present-day resonance in Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil, explaining, "A young girl struggling with war, career, love, and family — the parallels with today are incredibly close." She recently reunited with Allen Leech, Downton Abbey's Branson, in the British television mini-series Black Mirror.