Summer Yasmine Bishil (born July 17, 1988) is an American actress. She first came to prominence starring as Jasira in the 2007 film Towelhead, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead. Over the following few years, she had small roles in films and TV series like The Last Airbender (2010) and 90210 (2011) before starring in the short-lived ABC series Lucky 7 (2013). She starred as Margo Hanson on the Syfy fantasy drama series The Magicians from 2015 to 2020.
Summer Yasmine Bishil
July 17, 1988
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Early life edit
Bishil was born in Pasadena, California and is the youngest of three children. Her mother is of half-Mexican descent while her father is of Indian ancestry. In 1991, when Bishil was three years old, the family moved to Saudi Arabia and then to Bahrain, where she and her brother attended British and American schools.
The September 11 attacks prompted her family to return to the United States. They moved to a Mormon community in San Diego where she attended a regular public high school for a week. Because of the post-9/11 tension in the U.S., her schoolmates did not welcome her kindly. She stated that the return was not easy: "I hated it. I was called a whore on the first day of school, and somebody said they thought my dad funded terrorism. I just knew that nobody was ever going to want to be my friend there. I had panic attacks the first year of my life here." The family later moved to Arcadia, where her mother home schooled her. She took classes at Citrus College in Glendora, California.
Bishil started acting lessons at age 14. Within a year, she was signed to a contract with a manager and agency. Bishil's first role was on the short-lived Nickelodeon television show Just for Kicks, followed by appearances in several other children's shows.
Bishil's breakthrough performance came as the lead in Alan Ball's film, Towelhead in 2007, an adaptation of the novel of the same name. Slate critic Dana Stevens said, "Her performance is the truest thing in a movie that, for all its good intentions, feels thoroughly phony and mildly embarrassing, like an extended PSA about inappropriate touching." Bob Strauss, who writes for several Los Angeles newspapers, states that Bishil, "...is one of the finest natural film actresses to emerge in years." Gary Goldstein in a September 12 Los Angeles Times review of the movie Towelhead, stated that, "...newcomer Summer Bishil turns in a gutsy, quietly riveting performance as Jasira."
In 2009, she filmed Wayne Kramer's project, Crossing Over, starring Harrison Ford, Ray Liotta and Ashley Judd, a portrayal that received some favorable notice from Associated Press's Jay Reiner. She was chosen to portray Azula in M. Night Shyamalan's 2010 film The Last Airbender, and was planned to be the focus of the planned but never-produced sequel.
In 2013, Bishil was cast as Samira one of the lead roles on the short-lived ABC drama Lucky 7. In late 2014, Bishil was cast in the role of Margo Hanson in the Syfy drama series The Magicians, which ended after five seasons.
|2009||Crossing Over||Taslima Jahangir|
|2010||The Last Airbender||Azula|
|2018||Under the Silver Lake||The Girlfriend|
|2005||Days of Our Lives||Stacey||Episode #1.10164|
|2006||Just for Kicks||Stacey||Episode: "Premiere Episode: Part 2"|
|2006||Drake & Josh||Tabitha||Episode: "Josh Runs Into Oprah"|
|2006||Hannah Montana||Rachel||Episode: "Good Golly, Miss Dolly"|
|2006||Return to Halloweentown||Aneesa||Television film|
|2009||Three Rivers||Karen Rollins||Episode: "Good Intentions"|
|2010||The Whole Truth||Michelle Penner||Episode: "Young Love"|
|2011||90210||Leila Shirazi||4 episodes|
|2013||Lucky 7||Samira||Main role; 8 episodes|
|2013||Blast Vegas||Serena||Television film|
|2014||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Heba Salim||Episode: "Criminal Stories"|
|2015||iZombie||Eliza Marquette||Episode: "Flight of the Living Dead"|
|2015–2020||The Magicians||Margo||Main role; 65 episodes|
Awards and nominations edit
|2008||Young Hollywood Awards||One to Watch||Towelhead||Won|||
|2008||Independent Spirit Awards||Best Female Lead||Towelhead||Nominated|||
- "Summer Bishil". TV Guide. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- "Summer Bishil". Hollywood.com. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- Jones, Michael (October 19, 2007). "Summer Bishil – 'Nothing is Private' starlet living the dream". Variety. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- O'Sullivan, Michael (March 13, 2009). "Summer Bishil Aims to Play Against Type". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- "Summer Bishil - Biography". Yahoo! Movies Canada. Archived from the original on January 7, 2015.
- Abramowitz, Rachel (September 3, 2008). "In suburbia, a world of woes". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
- Rechtshaffen, Michael (September 12, 2007). "Towelhead". The Hollywood Reporter. Associated Press. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
In a head-turning breakthrough performance, 19-year-old Summer Bishil (who looks much younger) is the budding adolescent in question...
- Stevens, Dana (September 12, 2008). "Towelhead; It's no fun being a sexually curious, biracial teenager in Houston". Slate. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
- Strauss, Bob (September 13, 2008). "'Towelhead' is Meant to Provoke". redOrbit. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Goldstein, Gary (September 12, 2008). "It's awkward, like puberty". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
- McCarthy, Todd (February 16, 2009). "Review: 'Crossing Over'". Variety. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
More bracing, although again nothing new, is the sorry fate of a Bangladeshi teenager (Summer Bishil, "Towelhead") who has the audacity to present a not-unsympathetic view of the 9/11 hijackers to a school class.
- Reiner, Jay (February 17, 2009). "'Crossing Over'". The Hollywood Reporter. Associated Press. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
Summer Bishil, star of Alan Ball's "Towelhead," is affecting as a Muslim girl whose rash actions tear her family apart.
- Warmoth, Brian (July 6, 2010). "'Last Airbender 2' Will Be 'Darker,' M. Night Shyamalan Says". MTV News. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
His description of the story implies that Summer Bishil's character from the film currently in theaters has plenty left to do onscreen as Aang (Noah Ringer) continues his fight against the Fire Nation.
- Andreeva, Nellie (March 1, 2013). "ABC Pilot 'Lucky 7' Casts Four Co-Leads, Fox's 'Enisted' Enlists Two Co-Leads". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 10, 2013). "UPDATE: ABC Picks Up 'Once Upon A Time' Spinoff, 'Mixology', 'The Returned', 'Killer Women', 'Lucky 7', 'Betrayal', 'Trophy Wife', Cullen Bros, 'Influence', 'The Goldbergs', 'Super Fun Night', 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' To Series". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Noonan, Kevin (December 8, 2014). "SyFy's 'The Magicians' Adds 'Towelhead' Star Summer Bishil". Variety. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Hollywood Life, Volume XIX, No. 1. Spring 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
- O'Hehir, Andrew (December 4, 2008). "Oscar season's bewildering kickoff". Salon. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
This year's prize went to Melissa Leo for "Frozen River." She was also nominated in the Spirits' female lead category, along with Summer Bishil for "Towelhead," Anne Hathaway for "Rachel Getting Married," Tarra Riggs for "Ballast" and Michelle Williams for "Wendy and Lucy."
- "Indie Spirit Awards actor/actress nominees". Variety. December 30, 2008. Retrieved June 1, 2016.