Winstead, the youngest of five children of Betty Lou (née Knight) and James Ronald Winstead, was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Winstead has stated that her maternal grandfather was a cousin of actress Ava Gardner. When Winstead was five years old, her family moved to Sandy, Utah, a Salt Lake City suburb. As a girl, Winstead attended Peruvian Park Elementary, where she excelled academically and attended advanced classes. A talented dancer and singer, Winstead studied dance in a Joffrey Ballet summer program in Chicago, Illinois and was also a member of the International Children's Choir. In her youth, Winstead initially hoped to pursue a career as a ballerina and appeared in local ballet productions. As she entered her teens Winstead was forced to quit ballet due to her height. She later stated "I realized pretty early on that I was already too tall by the time I was 13... You know, your body has to stay that way for your entire life, and it's pretty hard on your muscles and your bones". Realizing that her career as a ballerina was unlikely, Winstead turned to acting instead.
Read more about this topic: Mary Elizabeth Winstead
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