Is Jo Ellen Pellman Related to Drew Barrymore or Elisabeth Moss?

'The Prom's Jo Ellen Pellman has captured the hearts of viewers, and many are convinced she's related to a Hollywood star. Details on who her real mom is.


Dec. 15 2020, Published 6:54 p.m. ET

jo ellen pellman drew barrymore mom

When The Prom launched on Netflix, viewers fell in love with breakout star Jo Ellen Pellman, who plays protagonist Emma Nolan, a lesbian character from conservative Edgewater, Ind., whose dream is to take her girlfriend to prom.

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While The Prom marked Jo Ellen's first major film role, fans were quick to notice how much the 25-year-old actress looks like Drew Barrymore and Elisabeth Moss. Some even thought that Jo Ellen must be the child of one of these famous ladies.

Is Jo Ellen Pellman related to Drew Barrymore or Elisabeth Moss?

As soon as The Prom premiered on Netflix, fans rushed over to Twitter to figure out whether they were the only ones who thought Jo Ellen Pellman had a Hollywood look-alike.

"If Drew Barrymore and Elisabeth Moss had a daughter, Jo Ellen Pellman," one person wrote. "So, does Jo Ellen Pellman know she's Drew Barrymore's daughter or...? Like was there a secret child?"

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"Jo Ellen Pellman from The Prom is basically baby Drew Barrymore," added another. "Jo Ellen Pellman is giving me major young Drew Barrymore meets Elisabeth Moss vibes," chimed in yet another fast fan.

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Well, clearly no one is alone in thinking that Jo Ellen looks like both the Never Been Kissed star and The Handmaid's Tale actress, but the young redhead is related to neither.

For what it's worth, Drew Barrymore's real-life daughters, Olive and Frankie, are much younger than Jo Ellen — having been born in 2012 and 2014, respectively. Elisabeth Moss currently does not have children.

Who is Jo Ellen Pellman's mom?

As for Jo Ellen, the actress has been candid about her upbringing in Cincinnati, Ohio, where she has also been living since March, when the COVID-19 lockdown began.

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As a child, Jo Ellen was a theater kid who went to theater camp, participated in choir, studied ballet and tap dance, and even had dreams of becoming an opera singer. But it was musical theater that captured her heart, and that's what she went on to study at the University of Michigan's prestigious program.

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Her mom, who features occasionally on Jo Ellen's Instagram page, is neither Drew Barrymore nor Elisabeth Moss, but she is a gay woman from Ohio, as the actress shared with Glamour.

In fact, the mother and daughter actually watched The Prom on Broadway, long before she knew she would one day be a big part of bringing the stage production to Netflix's streaming platform.

"We were laughing and crying through the whole show," Jo Ellen told The Cut. "And I remember leaving the theater and being like, 'This is why I wanted to become an actor.'"

Director Ryan Murphy told the New York Times that he knew instantly she would make a perfect fit for the role. "She spoke very movingly about being a queer woman and having a gay single mom who raised her," he said. "I remember she walked out and I was just like, 'Thank God, that's over — we've found our girl.'"

The Prom is now streaming on Netflix.

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