Anya Taylor-Joy is fast becoming one of the biggest names in Hollywood. In 2021, the actress received the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress for her role in the Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit, according to People. Since then she has landed roles in critically acclaimed films such as Edgar Wright’s Last Night In Soho and Mark Mylod’s The Menu. She is next set to play the title role in George Miller’s “Furiosa” in his “Mad Max” franchise.
But while Taylor-Joy’s list of awards is long and well known, few people know about her background and how she became the actress she is known as today. According to an interview with Good Morning America, Taylor-Joy was born in Miami and grew up in Argentina before moving to London. In 2017, she told Marie Claire that her father was Scottish-Argentinian and her mother was African-Hispanic. One thing is for sure – she has always wanted to act. She said, “I always wanted to be an actress and dropped out of school when I was 16.”
But how did she learn English and eventually start booking roles in many American series and films? The answer is a bit more magical than one might think.
Anya Taylor-Joy grew up in Argentina and England
In her interview with Marie Claire, Anya Taylor-Joy explained that her family moved to Argentina as soon as she was born, but moved to England not long after; and initially she was not a fan of life in the new country.
“I was stubborn and wanted to go home and I didn’t understand London at all. I came from a place where everything was green and everything was expensive and there were animals everywhere and suddenly I came here and I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’” Taylor-Joy said her family was in Argentina because of political unrest moved to England, adding: “We all really resented them and now we look back, we’re how thankful they gave us such a chance in life.”
Born in Miami and raised in Argentina, Taylor-Joy explained that her journey to learning English was complicated. “I was very lonely,” Taylor-Joy told GMA. “So I learned English. I had to find friends. So I actually learned to speak English by reading the Harry Potter books.”
She also acquainted herself with other children’s classics.
She refused to learn English for two years
According to Perth Now, Anya Taylor-Joy actually spent two years refusing to learn English after first moving to London. It was her uncle who suggested she read Harry Potter. Speaking to NME, Taylor-Joy said, according to the outlet, “My uncle set me up with the Harry Potter books, so my whole language when I was young was pretty precocious because I was learning from those books.” She jokingly added added, “I was very skilled at spells from a young age.”
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Taylor-Joy opened up about the excitement she got for The Queens Gambit just before the Golden Globe nominations. She said: “Look, any kind of recognition for your work is wonderful and really moving, but I have to show up for my film and my director and my friends. If I kept thinking about such things, I don’t know how sane my mind would be.”
Taylor-Joy added that she’s always grateful for the opportunities she’s been offered, but makes sure to do her best no matter the task at hand.