The Queen’s Gambit was probably one of the best things I’ve watched in quarantine this year. It was thrilling and fascinating, a strangely feel-good film that had a lot of darkness. Plus I’m a real sucker for anything chess-related. But what really made the series pop was the work of actress Anya Taylor-Joy, who played chess prodigy, Beth Harmon, with equal parts ferocity and aloofness. And she can rock a killer eyeliner wing.
But Taylor-Joy has insecurities about her looks and even considers herself “weird looking.” In an interview with The Sun, Taylor-Joy spoke candidly about her relationship with her appearance, saying: “I have never and I don’t think I will ever think of myself as beautiful.”
Taylor-Joy, who was discovered by model scout Sarah Doukas outside London’s Harrod’s department store and signed to Storm modeling agency, says she is still working on self-acceptance: “I have made it a practice in my life to not turn down compliments.”
The actress, who turned heads with a performance in the 2015 horror film The Witch, admits she doesn’t “think I’m beautiful enough to be in films. It sounds pathetic and my boyfriend warns me people will think I’m an absolute d*** for saying these things, but I just think I’m weird-looking.”
“I won’t go to the cinema to watch my own film, I’ll watch it before. The beauty of being in your own skin is that you don’t have to look at your own face,” she said.
When Taylor-Joy played Emma in the most recent Jane Austen adaptation, she “genuinely had a panic attack on Emma because I thought, ‘I am the first ugly Emma and I can’t do this,’ because the first line in the movie is, ‘I’m handsome, clever and rich.'”
Taylor-Joy, who was born in Florida, grew up in Argentina, and moved to London, said she had trouble fitting in.
“I was too English to be Argentine, too Argentine to be English, too American to be anything. The kids just didn’t understand me in any shape or form. I used to get locked in lockers. I spent a lot of time in school crying in bathrooms. I was so lonely as a kid. I felt so isolated that I created this story in my head about lonely was bad, being alone was bad,” she said.
Next, Taylor-Joy is set to star in Last Night in Soho, a psychological horror film directed by Edgar Wright. And she’s working on being gracious when she receives a compliment.
“I have made it a practice in my life to not turn down compliments,” she said. “If somebody says I look pretty today, I just say thank you.”
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