Anya Taylor-Joy Explains the 'Devastating Breakup' She Experienced Before Filming 'Emma': I Was 'Very, Very Unsafe in My Own Skin'

Anya Taylor-Joy is one of those actors that comes along once in a lifetime. She is fascinating to watch, and at only 24 years of age, already has a long list of impressive credits to her name.

Best known for her role in The Queen’s Gambit, Taylor-Joy recently opened up about her pre-pandemic experience while filming the Jane Austen period piece Emma.

The young actor discussed her coming-of-age struggle and how she learned to believe in herself and identify with who she truly is as a woman.

The award-winning actor’s role in ‘Emma’

Before achieving super-stardom, the young actor landed the title role in Autumn de Wilde’s Emma. She had only appeared in a few films at that point and was nervous about convincing audiences of her acting abilities on the big screen. 

The acclaimed director fell in love with Taylor-Joy, referring to her as his muse. He explained, “She would take all the pieces we’d given her – and just f—— nail it.”

In a Vanity Fair interview, Taylor-Joy referred to filming Emma as an “idyllic experience.” She explained, however, that it was also “one of the most difficult moments of her life.”

Surviving a devastating breakup

Prior to filming Emma, Taylor-Joy experienced a “devastating breakup” that challenged everything she knew about herself. The accomplished actor confessed to Vanity Fair, “I was just incredibly insecure and very, very unsafe in my own skin.”

Taylor-Joy described working tirelessly, playing one character after the next. She expressed that she never took the time to find herself. 

While the Thoroughbreds actor never revealed details of the breakup, Elite Daily reported that she was believed to be dating Irish actor Eoin Macken. In 2017, engagement rumors swirled as she was spotted wearing a “sizable rock on that finger.” By 2019, the relationship appeared to be over.

Overcoming levels of a video game

Taylor-Joy described the last few years of her life to Vanity Fair as a video game, saying, “Every year has been a different video game level.” The Queen’s Gambit star explained that with each new level, she asks, “What are the rules? How do I interact with my space?”

The Peaky Blinders star revealed that before the pandemic put everyone on lockdown, she would go into an art gallery and look at paintings that she knew her characters would like. She explained, “I had no clue of what I would choose for myself.”

When asked if she was in therapy, the 25-year-old actor replied, “I haven’t had any therapy for the last four years, but you’re speaking to somebody who spends a lot of time dissecting her thoughts.” She revealed, “I’m at a point where it’s like, ‘Okay, you know how you deal with this, you just have to sit with it and figure it out until it makes sense.’”

Taylor-Joy expressed how she finally feels like she knows what she likes. She spent most of 2019 “becoming a woman, essentially,” and now feels more at home in her skin. She said that for the first time, “I know what I like. I know what I, as a person, enjoy!”

What’s next for Taylor-Joy?

The critically-acclaimed actor has several exciting projects on the horizon. She will be voicing the lead character of Princess Peach in the upcoming Super Mario Bros.: The Movie due out Christmas 2022.

According to IMDb, Taylor-Joy will appear in The Northman, starring Ethan Hawke and Nicole Kidman. She will also play the lead role in Furiosa, a prequel to Mad Max: Fury Road, where she will portray a younger version of Charlize Theron’s character.

With several other projects in the works, fans of the Last Night in Soho actor are most excited about an untitled David O. Russell project. The star-studded cast includes Robert De Niro, Margot Robbie, Taylor Swift, Mike Myers, Rami Malek, and more. According to Collider, the Oscar contender will premiere in theaters on November 4, 2022.

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