Anya Taylor-Joy covers the May 2021 issue of Elle, which boasts a theme of “Rising Stars.”
In a wide-ranging interview, the “Emma” star opens about how being bullied as a child placed her on a path toward acting, and shares her thoughts about a potential second season of her acclaimed Netflix hit “The Queen’s Gambit”.
As Taylor-Joy recalls, she had a solitary childhood. “I joke about this, but I’m kind of serious when I say that the characters in the Harry Potter books were my friends. I spent the first two years in England playing hand-clap games with plants — if you slap them hard enough, they clap back — and learning how to read. That was my existence. I didn’t hang out with other kids,” she says, joking, “I was clearly a very normal child.”
While she’s spoken candidly in the past about being bullied due to her wide-set eyes, she chooses not to discuss it with Eille — “not because it’s traumatizing, but just because I don’t want to give it the airtime,” she explains.
Now that she’s come to better understand the psychology behind why children bully, she’s been able to let it go.
“It just really pushed me. Much the same way as Beth needed chess, I needed acting,” she said, referencing her character in “The Queen’s Gambit”. “I needed to believe in a place where I could be valued and appreciated, and actually have something to contribute rather than constantly feeling like, ‘What is wrong with me, and why do I not fit in?’”
Speaking of “The Queen’s Gambit”, she also admits she’s not ruling out a second season, even through it was originally envisioned as a standalone limited series.
“It would be silly of me to go, ‘There’s never going to be a second series,’ and then I’m 40, and [series co-creator Scott Frank] is like, ‘Yo, how do you feel about this? You want to go back?’”