Anna Helene Paquin (pronounced /ˈpækwɪn/; born July 24, 1982) is a Canadian-born New Zealand actress. Paquin's first critically successful film was The Piano, for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1994 at the age of 11 – the second youngest winner in history. Her acting career took off almost half a decade later when she appeared in a string of successful films including She's All That, Almost Famous and the X-Men franchise.
Paquin has received critical acclaim for her role as Sookie Stackhouse in the HBO series True Blood, for which she won the 2008 Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama.
Paquin was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, the daughter of Mary Paquin (née Brophy), an English teacher and native of Wellington, New Zealand, and Brian Paquin, a high school physical education teacher. Paquin is the youngest of three children; she has two older siblings: a brother, Andrew, a director, born in 1977, and a sister, Katya, born in 1980. Paquin's family moved to New Zealand when she was four. She attended the Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School until she was eight or nine. Her musical childhood hobbies in New Zealand included playing the viola, cello and piano. She also participated in gymnastics, ballet, swimming and downhill skiing, though she did not have any hobbies related to acting.
While in New Zealand, Paquin attended Hutt Intermediate School from 1994–95. Having begun her secondary education in Wellington at Wellington Girls' College, she completed her high school diploma at Windward School in Los Angeles, where she moved with her mother following her parents' divorce in 1995. She graduated from Windward School in June 2000 and completed the school's community service requirement by working in an LA soup kitchen and at a special education center. She studied at Columbia University for one year, but has since been on a leave of absence to continue her acting career.