Had her breakthrough role as Hushpuppy in the 2012 indie film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which earned her an Academy Award nomination. She also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy for her role in the 2014 film Annie.
She lied about her age when auditioning for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
She has three siblings. Her mother is Qulyndreia and her father is Venjie Wallis, Sr.
She starred in Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was directed by Benh Zeitlin.