The frighteningly talented — and hilariously candid — 22-year-old shot to superstardom in just six years; here, she guides us through key moments in her career

By Karen Valby
August 02, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Born on Aug. 15, 1990, in Louisville, Ky. Nicknamed ”Nitro” by her family. ”I was very hyper.”

Heads to NYC to pursue acting. Shows parents article about future Hunger Games costar Josh Hutcherson. ”I was like, ‘He’s from Kentucky and made it. I can do it too!”’

Moves to L.A., where she works as a nanny; soon lands first major role on TBS’ The Bill Engvall Show.

Auditions for Twilight‘s Bella. ”I don’t think I had even read the books. When it came out I was like, ‘Whoa, okay, that’s what that was.”’

Stars in Winter’s Bone at Sundance; follows her unglam turn with a sexy Esquire shoot. ”I was like, ‘I am a girl and I can be a girl.’ Esquire helped me get X-Men. It was a great move professionally.”

Jan. 2011
Scores a Best Actress nod for Winter’s Bone; makes headlines with her red-hot Calvin Klein.

Feb. 2011
Cracks an incest joke about her brother in Rolling Stone, introducing us to her lack of filter. ”My mom was like, ‘Jen! This is not funny!”’

March 2011
Offered the role of Katniss in The Hunger Games. ”I walked around thinking, ‘It’s not too late, I could still go back and do indies.’ My mom told me I was being a hypocrite because I always said, ‘I don’t care about budget. I care about story.”’

March 2012
Becomes highest-grossing action heroine ever when Games earns $408 million; her salary for the sequel jumps to $10 million. ”Fame changes you. I always imagined I would stay the exact same…and I’m not.”

Feb. 2013
Wins Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook. Trips on gown, gets standing ovation, wins legions of fans with her speech: ”Thank you. You guys are just standing up because you feel bad that I fell, and that’s really embarrassing.”

March 2013
Reteams with Playbook director David O. Russell and costar Bradley Cooper on the ’70s-set American Hustle (out Dec. 13).

June 2013
While shooting X-Men: Days of Future Past, announces her first producing project, The Rules of Inheritance. ”I love producing because it’s way easier than acting. I’m kidding!”