Most people came to know Anya Taylor-Joy via her Golden Globe-winning role on The Queen’s Gambit. But, for horror fans, she’s been a favorite for a while. The British-Argentinian actress made her big-screen debut in Robert Eggers’ celebrated 2015 fright flick The Witch, quickly following it up with roles as an A.I. in sci-fi Morgan and a kidnapped Final Girl in Split — where the newcomer proved herself capable of going toe-to-toe with James McEvoy — both released in 2016 (via IMDb).
Taylor-Joy has since made her mark on indie drama (Thoroughbreds), period romance (Emma.), superhero fare (The New Mutants), and, of course, TV, appearing in Peaky Blinders prior to her barnstorming role on The Queen’s Gambit. The London native, who was born in Florida but spent much of her childhood in Argentina, has also been tapped to play Furiosa in her standalone origin story. She’s an enigmatic star so, naturally, there’s plenty of fun things to learn about Taylor-Joy.
She’s happiest on horror movie sets
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Taylor-Joy argued that being on a horror movie set is actually more fun. She explained, "Film sets that are making movies about such dark subject matters are the happiest places in the world because you need that. Otherwise no one’s going to survive." The actress, who’s definitely made a home for herself in the horror space, re-teaming with Eggers for The Northman, as well as fronting Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho, credited the "emotional release" associated with making scary movies.
She was quick to note, however, that it’s about finding a kinship with the character rather than tapping into her own personal hardship. Taylor-Joy advised, "It comes not from a place of my own, but from a place of empathy for the character." She added, however, "It just so happens that it exorcises some of my demons at the same time, too."
She can make her nose bleed on cue
Some actors, understandably, find it tough to cry on cue. Taylor-Joy struggles with it herself, but she learned on the set of Autumn de Wilde’s Emma. she can do something else on demand (via Hollywood Reporter). As The Guardian notes, one scene sees the titular character, played by Taylor-Joy, suffering an embarrassing nosebleed at a highly inopportune moment. No makeup was required, however, as the actress remarkably managed to conjure up a mini hemorrhage right on cue. She quipped, "I didn’t know I had that talent until that scene."
Taylor-Joy noted, "As soon as my nose started bleeding, Autumn and Johnny [Flynn, who played Mr. Knightley] both got as excited as me. The crew were going ‘Cut, cut!’ because they were concerned about me but us three were like: ‘What are you talking about? Keep rolling! This is unbelievable! We have to capture it on film.’" The British-Argentinian star joked that, similar to Liam Neeson’s iconic Taken character, she has a particular set of skills. Unfortunately, they "would render me useless anywhere else other than in the acting world."
Her beauty aesthetic is vampiric
Taylor-Joy has become a bit of a social media sensation thanks to her swoon-worthy summer goth look. The actress admitted in an interview with British Vogue that she’s not great at doing her own makeup but applying mascara and lipstick comes a bit easier to her. "My lips are kind of a weird shape and so I’ve had to learn how to do them. But for winter I am a fan of a plummy lip. I have always loved that," she explained.
On her own individual style, Taylor-Joy honored her horror roots by advising, "I have got a bit of an Interview with the Vampire aesthetic, and so as soon as it gets dark outside I love long, straight blonde hair and dark purple lips." She name-checked the Ghost of Christmas Past as another influence, noting she’s "a bit vampy — but I like it." The Witch breakout also credits a spooky wellness routine with keeping her mental health on track, as per Vanity Fair.
Her greatest fear is not what you’d expect
Appearing in scary movies can be an intense experience, even for someone like Taylor-Joy, who’s naturally drawn to that intensity. The most frightening aspect of making The Witch, however, was watching the film back and realizing how many close-ups there were. "That camera was all up in my grill and I was completely oblivious to it because Thomasin is such an interesting maverick on the inside that I spent a majority of the time filming the movie just lost in her world," she explained to Du Jour.
However, when it comes to her own personal fears, they have nothing to do with witches, serial killers, or supernatural forces. As Taylor-Joy admitted, "If I’m going to be really honest, I have an unhealthy fear of baboons. They really, really panic me." The London native explained, "I don’t even know why. I love animals. I’m the biggest animal lover in the world. Baboons and I are just not supposed to be in the same room. Ever."
She learned English through Harry Potter
As NME notes, Taylor-Joy relocated to the U.K. at the age of six and she was so unhappy about it the youngster refused to learn English at first, reasoning they’d have move back to Argentina if she never did. Her plan didn’t pan out, obviously, with the Split star attending an international school with just one co-ed speaking Spanish. As a result, "My uncle would sit me down with the Harry Potter books, so all my language when I was young was quite precocious because I was learning from these books." However, Taylor-Joy reasons, "I was also very well versed in spells from a very young age."
She was convinced her letter from Hogwarts would arrive eventually. And, when the actress starred opposite Harry Melling, who played Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter movies, in The Queen’s Gambit, she admitted he very kindly allowed her to nerd out like a "weirdo" over his history with The Boy Who Lived (via Marie Claire). Considering she started off in a movie called The Witch, and describes her personal look as vampiric, it stands to reason Taylor-Joy is unashamed of being a weirdo.