Anya Taylor-Joy was born on April 16, 1996 in Miami, Florida. Her father is Scottish-Argentinian while her mother is African-Spanish-English. She lived in Argentina as a young child before moving to London at the age of six.
Early Interests and Education
Even from a young age, Anya was drawn to the arts. She began ballet lessons at age two and practiced for several years. She also developed an interest in opera singing and learned to speak Spanish and French fluently.
For her education, Anya attended Hill House International School. She decided to focus on acting instead of attending university.
Rise to Fame and Major Acting Roles
At just 16 years old, Anya landed her first-ever acting role in the horror film Vampire Academy. This launched her acting career, leading to more prominent roles.
In 2015, Anya played the lead role of Thomasin in the acclaimed horror film The Witch. Her performance was widely praised, bringing her critical acclaim and industry attention despite it being just her second movie.
Acclaim for The Witch role
Anya’s acting in The Witch earned her numerous Best Newcomer awards, including the Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor. The New York Times wrote that her performance signaled “the arrival of a major new talent”.
Anya’s fame rose even further when she starred in M. Night Shyamalan’s 2016 psychological horror film Split. She played Casey Cooke, a teenager kidnapped by a man with dissociative identity disorder. The movie was a massive box office hit and Anya again drew significant praise for her performance.
Emma and Jane Austen Roles
Not wanting to be pigeonholed into horror movies, Anya looked for diverse roles that would showcase her versality. She found that opportunity playing the lead role in the 2020 adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Anya won acclaim for her performance as matchmaker Emma Woodhouse.
She continued playing Austen characters in the Netflix movie Last Night in Soho where her character loved 1960s fashion inspired by Austen’s 18th/19th century world.
Furiosa and Mad Max
In 2023, Anya was cast as the young Imperator Furiosa in the upcoming Mad Max prequel Furiosa. She has big shoes to fill taking on the iconic role that Charlize Theron made famous. But fans are already excited to see Anya’s take on the post-apocalyptic road warrior.
What Other Films and TV Shows Has She Starred In?
In addition to her most famous roles already highlighted, Anya Taylor-Joy has built an impressive acting resume across both film and television. Some other projects she has starred in include:
- The Miniaturist (BBC miniseries)
- Peaky Blinders (popular British crime drama)
- The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix limited series)
The Queen’s Gambit Success
Anya received perhaps her biggest acclaim yet for starring as chess prodigy Beth Harmon in Netflix’s 2020 smash hit The Queen’s Gambit. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe for Best Actress and an Emmy nomination.
- Marrowbone (English-language debut)
- Radioactive (biopic of Marie Curie)
- Here Are the Young Men (coming-of-age dark comedy-drama)
- The Northman (historical epic action film)
- Amsterdam (historical comedy from David O. Russell)
What Makes Anya Such a Gifted Actress?
With major industry awards and praise from critics backing her performances, what makes Anya Taylor-Joy such a standout acting talent at just 27 years old? A few key factors:
Captivating Screen Presence
Anya has an undeniable charisma and camera presence that leaps off the screen. Her expressive eyes, captivating gaze, and radiant beauty memorably pull you into her performances.
Emotional Depth and Nuance
Critics frequently praise Anya’s ability to compellingly convey complex emotions. She brings an emotional depth, vulnerability, and nuance to every role.
Total Immersion into Characters
Displaying a rare level of commitment, Anya fully immerses herself into whatever world her characters inhabit. She disappeared into the 1960s to prep for Last Night in Soho, took chess lessons for The Queen’s Gambit, and reportedly lived as a real Jane Austen lifestyle for Emma.
Versatility Across Genres
Rather than stick to one genre, Anya has shown incredible acting range across period dramas, biopics, horror, comedy, and more. She is clearly one of the most versatile young actresses today.
Personal Life and Other Interests
When she isn’t acting, Anya maintains a relatively private personal life. But here are a few known tidbits:
Anya has been dating photographer Ben Seed since 2021 after working together for a Dior campaign. Prior to that, she was in a relationship with actor Eoin Macken.
Hobbies & Interests
Outside of acting, Anya enjoys:
- Reading (especially Stephen King and Edgar Allen Poe)
- Chess (thanks to making The Queen’s Gambit)
- Fashion and cosplay
- Spending time with her dogs
She also remains close with her parents and credits their emotional support for much of her success.
What is Next For Anya Taylor-Joy?
As one of the most sought-after actresses today, Anya Taylor-Joy has an exciting slate of projects ahead:
After some pandemic delays, the Mad Max spinoff Furiosa is now set to release May 24, 2024. This will mark Anya’s biggest blockbuster role to date as she takes over the iconic character.
More Collaboration with Robert Eggers
Anya will team up again with The Witch director Robert Eggers for the vampire revenge film Nosferatu. She portrays the wife of a haunted aristocrat. Filming began in early 2023.
The Menu Comedy with Ralph Fiennes
In post-production now is The Menu, a horror comedy satirizing the world of fine dining. Anya stars alongside Ralph Fiennes with Mark Mylod directing. It is expected to release sometime in 2024.
Potential for More Seasons of The Queen’s Gambit
Given its popularity, there has been demand for more seasons of Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit. Anya has expressed openness to returning as Beth Harmon. But nothing official yet if it will actually happen.
More Diverse Roles Likely on the Horizon
If the trajectory of her career so far says anything, expect Anya Taylor-Joy to continue taking on a diverse range of complex, challenging lead roles across all genres.
In just a few short years, Anya Taylor-Joy has established herself as one of the most talented and versatile actresses of her generation with a series of star-making roles. Already earning comparisons to legends like Meryl Streep, expectations will be sky-high for Anya as she takes on the iconic Imperator Furiosa role and continues collaborating with top directors across diverse genres.
With critics raving over her magnetic screen presence, rare emotional acting depth, total role immersion, and undeniable star power, Anya Taylor-Joy’s future in film looks exceptionally bright at just 27 years old. Audiences around the world eagerly anticipate what she’ll deliver next.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Anya Taylor-Joy’s background?
Anya was born in Miami, Florida but lived in Argentina for several years as a young child before her family moved to London when she was six. She has Scottish-Argentinian heritage from her father and African-Spanish-English roots from her mother.
What was Anya’s first acting role?
When she was just 16 years old, Anya landed her very first acting role playing a vampire in the movie Vampire Academy. This convinced her to quit school and pursue acting full time.
Is Anya Taylor-Joy going to be the next Mad Max Furiosa?
Yes! Anya has been cast as the young Imperator Furiosa in the upcoming 2024 prequel film centered around Furiosa’s backstory. She’ll play opposite Tom Burke as the villain Immortan Joe.
How did Anya prepare for her role as Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit?
She took chess lessons, read the original novel, studied chess games, and worked with a movement coach to develop her chess playing mannerisms. Her total immersion into the chess world paid off with critical acclaim.
What awards has Anya won for her acting?
Some major awards Anya has won so far include Best Newcomer from the Gotham Awards for The Witch, Golden Globe for Best Actress for The Queen’s Gambit series, and numerous film festival and critics awards.