Who is Juliana Canfield? Get to know the actress who plays Jess on 'Succession'

She plays the *most* put-upon assistant on TV, but who is Juliana Canfield? Let's get to know the 'Succession' star

Juliana Canfield attends HBO's "Succession" Season 4 Premiere at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 20, 2023 in New York City
(Image credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage/Getty)

Hers is a fan-favorite Succession character, but who is Juliana Canfield, the actress who plays Kendall's assistant Jess? 

Canfield has portrayed Waystar employee Jess Jordan since the second episode of Succession all the way back in season one, but her screen time has amped up considerably in Succession season 4, which kicked off on HBO and HBO Max on Sunday, March 26, with the big Succession finale set for Sunday, May 28.

"She’s a big watcher. There are some people who really get ahead in life by the force of their personality. That’s not her. She is quite smart and very competent," Canfield told Vulture about the character. "It’s not being invisible. It’s, I want to be indispensable. I want to be the wiring in the walls. If they want to turn on the lights, they need me to be there to do it."

The actress continued: "As time has gone on, Jess is never explicit about her disapproval or what she thinks about the cast of characters she’s constantly around, but I do think she’s very slowly thawing and getting more liberal with her mask."

Now that Jess has fully thawed by the penultimate episode of the show (don't worry, no spoilers here!), let's get to know the woman behind her, Juliana Canfield. 

Who is Juliana Canfield from 'Succession'?

Juliana Canfield is a 31-year-old American actress best known for her roles as Jess Jordan in the HBO drama Succession and as Beth DeVille in the post-apocalyptic FX on Hulu series Y: The Last Man. For her work in Succession, she was part of the cast's 2022 win for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. 

Canfield got her acting training at the prestigious David Geffen School of Drama at Yale University, from which she graduated with an MFA in Acting in 2017. Prior to that, she attended and graduated cum laude from Yale College in 2014, earning a degree in English. 

"My first play, at age seven, was a children’s production of As You Like It. I had a very small part—twelve precious lines!—but the bug bit me. The language of the play was heightened and glamorous…I felt very adult speaking in iambic pentameter," she told Essence. "But I also loved the inside jokes, the backstage drama, the camaraderie, and the silliness of the whole endeavor. It was this perfect combination of challenging work and wild fun. When it occurred to me that I might be able to keep doing this, as a job, even as a grown-up? Game over."

Juliana Canfield movies and TV shows

Though pretty fresh out of drama school, Canfield has already racked up an impressive list of TV and film credits. Including Succession and Y: The Last Man, you've seen her on the small screen in the Peacock crime procedural The Calling and the  Apple TV+ anthology series Amazing Stories. Film-wise, she's featured in titles like 2019's The Assistant and 2020's On the Rocks

Juliana Canfield Instagram: where to find her

Juliana Canfield can be found on Instagram at the handle @julianakdc, where she has more than 17,000 followers. There, you'll find behind-the-scenes snaps with her Succession buddies like Justine Lupe (who plays Willa) and Zoe Winters (who plays Kerry), as well as peeks into her life in New York City and updates on her upcoming projects. 

Catch Juliana Canfield and the rest of the Waystar crew in Succession season 4, airing on Sundays at 9pm on HBO and HBO Max.

Christina Izzo

Christina Izzo is the Deputy Editor of My Imperfect Life. 

More generally, she is a writer-editor covering food and drink, travel, lifestyle and culture in New York City. She was previously the Features Editor at Rachael Ray In Season and Reveal, as well as the Food & Drink Editor and chief restaurant critic at Time Out New York

When she’s not doing all that, she can probably be found eating cheese somewhere.