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Daisy Ridley speaks at a speed of 100 miles per hour and she would tell you herself – every now and then she apologized for the waffles (her words, not mine!) And treated you to delicious little anecdotes about Barbra Streisand or Harrison Ford. The high one British actor's energy shines right through my laptop screen at 10am and is only surpassed by an equally high, super tight ponytail. She is naked and glowing and wears a maroon Adidas sweatshirt. She manages to create a look that can only be best described as a sporty spice. Your clothes are not the A-list norm for an IRL press briefing. Since she was the former female lead in the war of stars Franchise, we're used to seeing Ridley on the red carpet in Oscar de la Renta dresses and sharp Alexander McQueen suits with perfectly brushed hair and flawless makeup, but we don't live in normal times. Immediately after we call, Ridley will be doing the daily indoor training she developed for herself at the beginning of the lockdown last year. "I always had a lot of energy," she says, half-joking that this was the reason her parents sent her to boarding school when she was 9 years old.
However, the same energy can sometimes be misunderstood. Recently, a story about Ridley bubbled on the internet after speaking of a director who described her energy on set as "quite aggressive" and a makeup artist who told her she was "intimidating". As soon as we start talking, it occurs to me that this may be the weary affair of other people's insecurities that come to the fore in the presence of a confident woman without a BS. Ridley is open and spirited, but absolutely charming. "I'm pretty sure my answer was," I don't know this has to do with me? "Because I don't believe it," she says of interacting with the makeup artist. "I think this has to do with other people. I know that I'm very direct, probably more direct than other people. I probably ask awkward questions because I would prefer, if there was any kind of strangeness between friends, to talk about it and get it over with instead of just leaving it. "The director's comments weren't necessarily considered negative, but they were heavy nonetheless to process, and Ridley wondered how she'd come across them. “I also find that people are very comfortable telling me how I am. People always say, "You are the honest one. You are this one." It's you. ”Perhaps directness works like confidence or something, so people think you're ready to take that criticism. You would never say to anyone else, "Oh, you're just really not sure! The way you are is super passive!"
Would the same type of personality be scrutinized that closely by any of your male colleagues? Maybe not. Though Ridley doesn't like dividing the genders into such monochromatic stereotypes. "I found it when I met Barbra Streisand – sorry, drop your name!" She says. "The way she's been called controlling and the way you got yourself up is amazing. She is amazing. And I'm sure she knew what she wanted on set. When she directed she knew how to get it, and that was it. "
No woman is one-dimensional, and despite the strength she displays, Ridley is equally open about her weaknesses. She tells me that she did not "like" each other for a long time, but that a quote she heard about the evaluation of you by the five people around you swung enough to begin a journey of self-respect. "The five people closest to me are fucking awesome, so I thought, 'I have to be fine! "She says." If you can't love yourself … what a waste of time. You have your own thoughts to live with for a lifetime. "Now Ridley can say without embarrassment," I really like who I am. "
The fact is, without that powerful combination of enthusiasm, intensity, and focus, Ridley may not have landed one of the greatest film roles in one of the greatest film franchises of all time. If you google it, you can find one of their many audition screenings with director J.J. Abrams, where both her urgency and her ability to emote can be clearly seen. But last year that five-year trip ended with three blockbusters, and it had quite a galactic void to fill. After the premieres, press conferences, and chat shows, she remembers having stayed in a hotel and not being able to sleep. "I was like, & # 39;What should I do now? “She spent much of January 2020 feeling a little lonely, a little tearful, and a little different from herself. “I think it was a bit like grief. These relationships and this period of time had come to an end. It really felt like I was letting go of something emotionally, ”she says. She hadn't been home properly in years and had to adjust to the "massive quiet" of not necessarily having a crazy schedule or being surrounded by dozens and dozen others.
I couldn't help but wonder what a busy person like Ridley, who "loves to be at work no matter what it is," coped with the lethargic pace of the past year. All projects that were scheduled to be shot were put on hold while others were slowly being completed. At the beginning of our conversation, Ridley implied that all of 2020 she had done almost nothing other than watch TV shows for "research" (The undo and The American are the two she rated), but it turns out she may have missed out on her pandemic achievements. When we finished our chat, I learned that she had also completed doula training and had weekly dialect coaching sessions to improve her American accent which she used to record voice over for the upcoming adventure video game Twelve minutes in a socially distant studio with James McAvoy on one side and Willem Dafoe on the other via Facetime. Oh, and she's on a 280-day series, learning French on Duolingo.
After a year-long (and impressively productive) hiatus, Ridley is ready to move on to the next phase of her acting career, starting with the science fiction thriller Mess walking with Tom Holland. The adaptation of the Patrick Ness novel is gripping, fast-paced and contemporary. Ridley plays Viola, a person who seeks a better land and a better life, whose spaceship crashes onto a planet infected with a disease called The Noise. The sound affects men only and sends out their innermost thoughts aloud for everyone to hear – every innermost thought. It's an allegory of our reality regarding a rogue virus wreaking havoc, but it also mirrors the social media where any comment or whim can be instantly sparked. Ridley left Instagram back in 2016 and hasn't looked back. “I think people are using it really well. It's an amazing tool for connection, especially now. It's just not for me. "
Mess walking is in fact another out of this world story, and as it is its first major sequel war of starsOne could easily think that the actor was forever typed in the sci-fi / adventure genre. Not so. Ridley's Future Plan features two historical dramas set in and about World War II, including the recently announced one A woman of no importance in which she plays the American spy Virginia Hall. After driving the Star Wars freeway, she looks forward to venturing off-road into unfamiliar areas. She'd love to do something "really British" or be part of an iconic TV watercooler moment, but right now she's going with the flow. "I have no plan:" I want to do this, now I've done this. " [and] I want to do that, ”she explains. "There's a lot that I hope for if I can do it." With her drive and focus mentioned above, I think she will be fine.
Photographer: Stephanie Galea for Who What Wear
Stylist: Natalie Wansbrough-Jones
Hairdresser: Dayaruci at The Wall Group with Oribe
Makeup Artist: Kelly Cornwell at Nylon Artists with Shiseido
Manicurist: Karen Louise