To Hollywood, there’s nothing sexier or more fascinating than a British accent. In fact, anything British is so big in America that there’s even a term for the type of non-Brits that love anything to do with England, its people, and its culture: Anglophiles. Perhaps it’s the Brits’ refined and subdued manner of speaking. Or maybe the fact that their modern culture seems to belong to a bygone era. Whatever the reason, Brit celebrities are a big deal in North America. And British actors have been smart enough to bank on this craze and have been crossing the pond to partake of their piece in the Hollywood pie.
The British folk sometimes accuse their local actors who crossover to Hollywood as having sold out. After all, it’s in Hollywood where commercialization abounds. But you can’t blame these actors if they want to test the waters and have a go at international fame and fortune. At the end of the day, they’re still trying to make a living.
There have been tons of lists of hot British actors who have invaded Hollywood, to the delight of Anglophilia. Now here’s a list of their equally sexy female counterparts who have been slowly but surely rising to fame in tinsel town.
10 Saoirse Ronan
She’s most known for her role in Atonement, for which she received an Academy Award nomination and has been one of the youngest actresses to ever achieve that feat at the age of 13. Saoirse Ronan’s breakthrough performance in a starring role was in Peter Jackson’s The Lovely Bones, in which she played the daughter of Mark Wahlberg’s and Rachel Weisz’s characters. Her latest film was the 2014 comedy hit, The Grand Budapest Hotel and at the young age of 20, she’s sure to have many more film offers coming her way.
9 Naomie Harris
She was a child actress in Britain, having appeared in TV and film since she was nine. But it wasn’t until she starred in the zombie thriller hit, 28 Days Later that Naomie Harris caught the eye of the mainstream movie industry. She was cast as Tia Dalma in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and later as the sea goddess Calypso in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. She also holds the distinction of being the first black woman to play Moneypenny, the pseudo-Bond girl secretary of James Bond’s boss in Skyfall.
8 Gemma Arterton
Many actresses, known and unknown, have held the distinction of being one of James Bond’s conquests in the long and infamous list of Bond girls and Gemma Arterton is one of them. Playing the role of the naughtily named agent, Strawberry Fields opposite Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace opened more doors for Arterton. She went on to star opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Jeremy Renner in Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, for which a sequel is currently in the works.
7 Hayley Atwell
An appearance in a Marvel film almost always paves the way for actors to eventually make it big in Hollywood. Hayley Atwell played Chris Evans’ leading lady, Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger, as well as its sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier. She’s set to appear in Disney’s new film adaptation of Cinderella, as well as reprise her role as Peggy Carter in Avengers: Age of Ultron. She’s certainly fast on her way to becoming a Hollywood leading lady.
6 Michelle Dockery
No one expected British period TV drama Downton Abbey to take the world by storm, but when it did, its lead actress, Michelle Dockery, was caught in the midst of it. Already having received acclaim in theatre and British TV, Dockery has had the privilege of being exposed to Hollywood thanks to Downton and in it, her role as Lady Mary Crawley, for which she’s been nominated numerous times for an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors’ Guild Award. She’s known for her elegant style on the red carpet as much as her aristocratic role and when Downton Abbey wraps up, you can be sure the American film industry will be knocking on her doorstep with one lucrative movie offer after another.
5 Emilia Clarke
Before she shot to fame as Daenerys Targaryen in the hit HBO TV series, Game of Thrones, Emilia Clarke circulated the theatre scene in London. But in Game of Thrones, her platinum blonde-haired character became pivotal to the entire series, landing her an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series and movie roles to boot. She will co-star with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead female role as Sarah Connor in the upcoming fifth Terminator film installment.
4 Rebecca Hall
Having been born to a stage director father and an opera singer mother, Rebecca Hall was no stranger to performing. She got her Hollywood breakthrough role in The Prestige, where she played the wife of Christian Bale’s character. She came into further prominence when she played the titular character of Vicky in Woody Allen’s Vicky Christina Barcelona, for which Hall was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress.
3 Emily Blunt
We first came to know Emily Blunt as Miranda Priestly’s (played by Meryl Streep) bitchy senior assistant in the hit comedy, The Devil Wears Prada. Since her lead role as Queen Victoria in the critically acclaimed movie, The Young Victoria, she has appeared alongside other Hollywood big names in movies such as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (starring Ewan McGregor) and Edge of Tomorrow (with Tom Cruise). She’s set to show off her singing chops as the Baker’s Wife in the highly anticipated musical fantasy film, Into The Woods, alongside Meryl Streep once again.
2 Carey Mulligan
She first came into the spotlight as the youngest, surliest Bennet sister, Kitty Bennet, in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice. But she established herself in Hollywood when she starred as Jenny in An Education, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award. After that, the movie roles came pouring in. She went on to star in the remake of Wall Street, as the daughter of Michael Douglas’ character; Drive opposite Ryan Gosling; and The Great Gatsby alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.
1 Emma Watson
As one of the few actresses who was successfully able to transition from child star to adult actress, Emma Watson has come a long way from her days as Hermione Granger in the wildly successful Harry Potter film franchise. It doesn’t hurt that she has that natural beauty and grace that’s only further enhanced by her fashion choices. She has made many red carpet Best Dressed lists, thanks to her eye-catching, yet classy and age-appropriate outfits. She has starred in The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Noah and surely, many more movie offers are lined up. To top it all off, she has a bachelor’s degree from Brown University! You can’t get any more A-list than that!