We don’t care if we never exist to Fairuza Balk, because of her and her goth ways, we have one of the most iconic characters in one of the best witch-themed movies ever made. The Craft had all of us magic lovers dabbling in witchcraft and heading to the local occult shop to pick up supplies to make our potions.
Known for her mix of indie hits and mainstream feature roles, Fairuza has a look that makes your eyes follow her in everything she does. You can’t forget her signature style, husky voice, or those eyes that nail you to the wall. Her most popular role might be as Nancy in The Craft, but let’s see what this supernatural woman has been up to since drinking of her sisters.
The little firecracker (she stands at a height of 5 feet, 3 inches tall) that is Fairuza Alejandra Feldthouse, known to the world as Fairuza Balk, was born on May 21, 1974, in Point Reyes, California, to a belly dancer mother, Catherine Balk, and a traveling musician father, Solomon Ben Feldthouse (birth name was David Earle Scaff).
Fairuza’s unique name came from her father, who uttered the Farsi word for “turquoise” when he saw her eyes.
Fairuza’s parents split up not long after she was born, and Balk was raised by her mom. Balk and her mother lived all over, starting with Jackson, Michigan, then off to spend her childhood in San Francisco, spent some time in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, then on to the United Kingdom, had a six-month stay in Paris, and made a return to Vancouver before settling down for the most part in California.
For school, she attended the Royal Academy of Ballet in the UK, the Bush Davies Performing Arts School, and the Ramona Beauchamp Agency.
Fairuza started taking acting lessons when she was nine, and her first job was in a commercial to promote British Columbia tourism, where she was paid $100 for it. Her first credited role was as Beth in the ABC television movie The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in 1983.
Balk’s early career had some memorable roles, with two specific ones being Dorothy Gale in the 1985 dark fantasy movie Return to Oz (sequel to The Wizard of Oz) and Mildred Hubble in 1986s The Worst Witch with the legendary Tim Curry. Both roles earned Fairuza Best Performance by a Young Actor nominations, and both films are still great watches today.
The reason she moved to Paris was to film the 1989 film Valmont, starring Colin Firth and Annette Bening. She went on to earn an Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her role as Shade in the 1992 movie Gas Food Lodging. Balk then earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as Lizzie in the TV movie Shame.
Other notable early roles were as Sonya in the 1994 period drama Imaginary Crimes and Lucinda in the 1995 crime drama Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead, which starred Andy Garcia, Christopher Lloyd, and Steve Buscemi. Quite a resume for a person barely in their 20s.
The 1996 supernatural teen movie The Craft let weirdos everywhere feel safe to be witchy, and everyone had their favorite corner – and witch – they identified with. The cult movie followed a group of three high school outcasts, Nancy, Rochelle, and Bonnie, looking for their fourth member for their coven, and found it in a new kid in school, Sarah. With the ultimate 90s cast of Robin Tunney, Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Christine Taylor, Breckin Meyer, and Skeet Ulrich, it was Fairuza Balk you couldn’t take your eyes off of.
Fairuza played Nancy Downs, a poor teen who lived in a trailer park with her drunk mom and abusive stepdad. Nancy was the leader of the group, wanting to call on the deity Manon to give the four powers they’d use to get back at those who hurt them.
Fairuza mesmerized as the power-hungry Nancy, made us think maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to be bad, and had us looking for kids in school we thought would make a good coven to call the corners with. While her character didn’t have the best ending, Nancy will go down as one of the best gothic characters ever, and left us a little bit in awe of Fairuza.
Balk was nominated for a few awards for her portrayal of Downs, and won an MTV Award for that amazing fight between Sarah and Nancy. In 2020, Blumhouse made a sequel, titled The Craft: Legacy, where Balk reprised Nancy for a small cameo. There’s a rumor a third installment could happen, which would bring the generations of witches together.
What did Fairuza do after The Craft?
After her time calling the corners was over, Fairuza landed roles in movies like The Island of Dr. Moreau with Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, and David Thewlis in 1996 and American Perfekt with Robert Forster, Paul Sorvino, and David Thewlis in 1997.
Balk appeared in the cult hit drama American History X as Stacey, starring alongside Edward Norton and Edward Furlong. In a fun twist, we saw her as Vicki Vallencourt in the Adam Sandler comedy The Waterboy in 1998. Her next role as Sapphire in the 2000 dramedy with Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson earned her a few award nominations, including a SAG, as well as an Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble.
Other films on Fairuza’s resume are Don’t Come Knocking in 2005, Humboldt County in 2008, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans in 2009, Beyond Clueless in 2014, and August Falls in 2017.
Though Balk mostly appeared in television movies until the 2000s, in 2001, she popped up in an episode of The Sopranos and snagged a seven-episode run on Ray Donovan in 2015 as Ginger.
What is Fairuza Balk doing now?
Our coven leader is still acting, with her latest role being Lizzie on the American Satan spinoff series Paradise City, whose first season dropped in 2021.
The actress also made a cameo in the 2020 film The Craft: Legacy, the sequel to the original cult favorite, The Craft. She also appeared on the Lifetime show The Haunting, discussing the ghosts she believes are living in her studio.
In spring 2022, Balk announced she would co-host a podcast with Rachel True, her The Craft co-star. The podcast is available for listening to on her website.
But Balk also had done a few side quests, starting with her music, released in 2010 under the name Armed Love Militia, and in 2011 exhibited her art in New York and Los Angeles.
You won’t find much about Fairuza’s personal life out there. She’s been keeping things pretty close to the chest since the 90s. Back then, though, Balk dated fellow actor Crispin Glover (George McFly in Back to the Future) and David Thewlis (Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter franchise). As far as anyone knows, Fairuza has never married and has no biological children. She’ll always be our Mama Witch, though, and we are blessed to be able to witness her craft.
With the 30th anniversary of The Craft only a few years away, we’re here if they need a fourth to call the corners, or just a weirdo fan to cheer them on. Hail to the guardians of the watchtowers of the East, hear us when we say we want Fairuza Balk on our screens for years to come.