Anya-Josephine Marie Taylor-Joy is an actress, model, and former ballet dancer. She has won several accolades, including a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, in addition to nominations for a BAFTA Film Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.
Taylor-Joy left school at the age of 16 to pursue an acting career. After portraying small television roles, she found success through a role in the horror film The Witch (2015). Taylor-Joy later starred in the horror film Split (2016), its sequel Glass (2019), and the black comedy Thoroughbreds (2017). She won the Trophée Chopard at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.
Taylor-Joy appeared in the fifth and sixth seasons of the television crime drama Peaky Blinders (2019–2022), and played Emma Woodhouse in the period drama Emma (2020), which gained her a Golden Globe Award nomination. Also in 2020, she received acclaim for her performance as chess prodigy Beth Harmon in the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, winning a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, as well as receiving a nomination for an Emmy Award. Taylor-Joy has since starred in the films Last Night in Soho (2021), The Northman (2022), The Menu (2022) and The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023).
Years active 2014–present
Born: April 16, 1996, 27 years old and 10 months, Miami, Florida, United States
Sun Sign: Aries
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Hazel
Height: 5 ft 6½ in / 169 cm
Measurements: 33-26-34 in / 84-66-86 cm
Bra Size: 32A US / 70A EU
At the age of 17, Anya dropped out of school to concentrate on becoming an actress.
Father – Dennis Alan Taylor. Scottish-Argentine, former international banker – used to race powerboats.
Mother – Marina Joy-Morancho. English-Spanish. Psychologist and has worked in the fields of interior design and photography.
Anya Taylor-Joy is the youngest out of six siblings.
Taylor-Joy was born on 16 April 1996 in Miami, Florida, to Dennis Alan Taylor, a former banker, and Jennifer Marina Joy, a psychologist. She has stated that her birth in Miami was a “fluke”, since her parents had been holidaying in the city at the time; because of her birthplace, she holds American citizenship due to the country’s jus soli nationality law. Her father is an Argentine of English and Scottish descent, the son of a British father and an Anglo-Argentine mother. Her mother was born in Zambia to an English diplomat father, David Joy, and a Spanish mother from Barcelona. She is the youngest of six siblings, four of whom are from her father’s previous marriage.
Taylor-Joy lived with her family in Buenos Aires and attended Northlands School until the age of six, when the family relocated to the Victoria area of London. She is fluent in both Spanish and English. Taylor-Joy experienced the move as “traumatic” and initially refused to learn English in hopes of moving back to Argentina. She attended Hill House International Junior School and Queen’s Gate School, acting in school productions. She struggled at school, recalling:
I didn’t really feel like I fit in anywhere. 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.
Taylor-Joy initially trained in dance, studying ballet until the age of 15. At age 17, she was scouted as a model by Storm Management founder Sarah Doukas, while walking her dog outside Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London. She signed with the agency on the condition that acting remain her first passion and pursuit. During a modelling shoot promoting the television series Downton Abbey, which she had almost rejected because she was studying for her GCSE examinations, Taylor-Joy was noticed by the Downton Abbey actor Allen Leech while running errands for the crew and while reciting the Séamus Heaney poem “Digging” for a forthcoming screentest. He later introduced her to his agent, with whom she signed as an actress.
Early work and breakthrough (2013–2019)
Taylor-Joy was removed from the final cut of her first acting role as a background ‘Feeder Girl’ in the 2014 fantasy comedy-horror Vampire Academy, with her role left uncredited. She made her television debut as Philippa Collins-Davidson in an episode of the detective drama series Endeavour, followed by a multi-episode arc in the 2015 fantasy-adventure drama series Atlantis. That same year, she starred in The Witch, a period horror film directed by Robert Eggers, which tells the story of a Puritan family that encounters forces of evil in the woods beyond their New England farm. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim. The role was her breakthrough. Anthony Lane of The New Yorker called Taylor-Joy “remarkable in the role, her wide-eyed innocence entwined with a thread of cunning—proof either of her quick wits, scarcely unusual in a clever and curious girl, or of some fell purpose.” She won the Gotham Independent Film Award for Breakthrough Actor and the Empire Award for Best Female Newcomer.
The following year, Taylor-Joy starred in Luke Scott‘s science fiction horror film Morgan, playing the title character. It received negative reviews and was a commercial failure, but Booth Michigan‘s John Serba wrote that “Taylor-Joy disarms us with a performance that keenly teeter-totters between little-girl innocent and dead-eyed viciousness.” She next starred in the drama film Barry, which focused on a young Barack Obama during his first year at Columbia University in 1981; it premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. The same year, Taylor-Joy’s likeness was licensed from Storm Management to represent the character of Valkyrie Cain on the tenth anniversary book cover of Skulduggery Pleasant, and subsequently the covers of the seventh, eighth, ninth, and fourteenth books in the series, before she appeared in the music video for Skrillex‘s remix of GTA‘s song “Red Lips”.
In 2016, she was cast opposite James McAvoy in M. Night Shyamalan‘s Split, where she played Casey Cooke, a teenage girl abducted by a man with multiple personalities (McAvoy). It was a commercial success, grossing $278.5 million on a budget of $9 million. Her next film that year was Cory Finley‘s directorial debut Thoroughbreds. It co-starred Olivia Cooke and Anton Yelchin in his final film role. Taylor-Joy played Lily, a high-school student who schemes to kill her stepfather via a contract with a drug dealer. It premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival; David Ehrlich of IndieWire called her performance “captivating”. Her third release in 2017 was Sergio G. Sánchez‘s horror mystery Marrowbone; Tasha Robinson of The Verge wrote that Taylor-Joy brought “a shy, appealing warmth” to an inconsistent character. Taylor-Joy was nominated for the BAFTA Rising Star Award, and was awarded the Trophée Chopard at the Cannes Film Festival that year. In December 2017, she portrayed Petronella Oortman in the BBC One period drama miniseries The Miniaturist, based on Jessie Burton‘s novel of the same name.
Taylor-Joy reprised her role as Casey Cooke in the 2019 psychological superhero film Glass, the final film in the Unbreakable film trilogy, appearing with McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson and Sarah Paulson. It was a commercial success, grossing $247 million worldwide, Later that year, she appeared in the documentary film Love, Antosha, on the life and career of her late co-star Anton Yelchin; and in Hozier‘s music video for his song “Dinner & Diatribes”. Her next two 2019 films, the animated musical adventure film Playmobil: The Movie and biographical drama film Radioactive, were commercial failures. She also voiced the character of Brea in the Netflix animated fantasy series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. In her final role of 2019, she played the starring role of Gina Gray in the BBC One period crime drama series Peaky Blinders.
Rise to prominence (2020–present)
In 2020, Taylor-Joy starred as Emma Woodhouse in Autumn de Wilde‘s directorial debut Emma, an adaptation of Jane Austen‘s 1815 novel of the same name. Reviewing the film, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone deemed Taylor-Joy “incandescent”. The Guardian critic Mark Kermode described Taylor-Joy as having created an “admirably spiky character who is less likable than some of her screen predecessors, and all the better for it”. She received a Golden Globe Award nomination for her performance. Taylor-Joy also portrayed Illyana Rasputin/Magik, a Russian mutant and sorceress, in the superhero horror film The New Mutants. It was originally intended for release in April 2018 but experienced several delays; it was released in 2020.
Taylor-Joy starred in the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit as Beth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy on her rise to the top of the chess world while struggling with drug and alcohol dependency. The series and her performance received widespread critical acclaim. Netflix announced that it had been seen by 62 million households in its first 28 days of release, becoming its “biggest scripted limited series to date.” Darren Franich of Entertainment Weekly called Taylor-Joy’s performance “darkly fascinating” and noted how she “excels in the quiet moments, [with] her eyelids narrowing as she decimates an opponent, [and] her whole body physicalizing angry desperation when the game turns against her.” Similarly, Caroline Framke of Variety found her “so magnetic that when she stares down the camera lens, her flinty glare threatens to cut right through it.” Taylor-Joy’s portrayal won her the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie and garnered her a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie.
In 2020, she next appeared in the drama film Here Are the Young Men, directed by Eoin Macken and based on the novel of the same name by Rob Doyle. In 2021, she starred in Edgar Wright‘s psychological horror film Last Night in Soho. In the film, she performs the song “Downtown” by Petula Clark; a music video of Taylor-Joy’s rendition was also released. Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal highlighted the “dazzling sense of purpose” in her portrayal. She was included on Time magazine’s 100 Next list that same year.
In 2022, Taylor-Joy reunited with The Witch director Robert Eggers for a starring role opposite Alexander Skarsgård in the historical epic The Northman. Based on the old Scandinavian legend of Amleth, the film was described as “a Viking revenge saga set in Iceland at the turn of century”. It received a positive critical reception. Taylor-Joy then appeared in David O. Russell‘s period comedy Amsterdam, which emerged as a critical and commercial failure. Released the following month was Mark Mylod‘s black comedy thriller The Menu, in which Taylor-Joy starred opposite Nicholas Hoult and Ralph Fiennes. The film garnered largely positive reviews, and her performance gained her a Golden Globe Award nomination. The following year, Taylor-Joy had a voice role as Princess Peach in the animated film The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
Taylor-Joy will next star as the titular character in George Miller‘s action film Furiosa, which will serve as a prequel to the 2015 film Mad Max: Fury Road. She will also star opposite Miles Teller in Scott Derrickson‘s romantic action film The Gorge.
The Hollywood Reporter named Taylor-Joy on their list of 2016 Hollywood’s Rising Stars 35 and Under, and she was included in a similar list compiled by W magazine in 2017. In 2019, she appeared on the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list, a compilation of “the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers in the world”. In 2020, she was named “Breakthrough Entertainer” of the Year by the Associated Press and “Breakout Star of 2020” by the New York Post. In 2021, Time magazine included Taylor-Joy on its 100 Next list of “emerging leaders who are shaping the future”, with a tribute written by former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov.
On her father side, she has Scottish and Argentine ancestry while on her mother side, she is of Spanish and English descent.
She made her first film appearance in an uncredited role of a feeder girl in Vampire Academy in 2014.
First TV Show
In 2014, Anya guest appeared in an episode of detective drama series Endeavour as Philippa Collins-Davidson.
Anya Taylor-Joy Favorite Things
TV Shows – Dawson Creek (1998-2003), Freaks and Geeks (1999-2000), 8 Simple Rules (2002-2005)
Food – Truffles
Comedy Movie – Undercover Blues (1993)
Pizza – Vegan Truffle Pizza
Emoji – Unicorn, Twisted Snake, Pizza, Bearded Shrimp
Role Model – Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett
Anya Taylor-Joy Facts
Her first acting performance was in the primary school production of Perkin and the Pastry Cook. She was cast in the role of Perkin.
Anya took ballet classes until the age of 15. It was then, she decided to drop it as she didn’t want to give up on acting.
Her first professional audition was for the role of young Maleficent in the Disney movie. She had traveled for the audition to London with her mother but, missed out on the part.
She almost missed out on becoming a model, when she mistook Storm Modeling agency founder, Sarah Doukas as a stalker and tried to run away on the streets of London.
Taylor-Joy can play the ukulele and likes to write songs in her free time. She has also learned to play electric guitar.
She has been a vegetarian since the age of 10. And, in November 2015, she became a vegan as well. She doesn’t have a problem with eating eggs or cheese but objects to animal cruelty perpetuated by mass production.
When she wanted to drop out of school, she wrote a long essay for her parents in a bid to make them understand, it was a well thought and mature decision.
She only spoke Spanish until the age of 6 as her family had shifted to Argentina when she was an infant.
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