During her childhood, Lawrence performed in church plays and school musicals. At age 14, she was spotted by a talent scout while vacationing in New York City with her family. Lawrence then moved to Los Angeles and began her acting career by playing guest roles in television shows. Her first major role came as a main cast member on the sitcom The Bill Engvall Show (2007–2009). Lawrence made her film debut in a supporting role in Garden Party (2008), and had her breakthrough playing a poverty-stricken teenager in the independent drama Winter's Bone (2010). She achieved wider recognition for her starring role as the mutant Mystique / Raven Darkhölme in the X-Men film series (2011–2019).