Anya Taylor-Joy has revealed that she spent her school days being cruelly bullied.
The actress, 26, dropped out of school aged 16 as a result of the abuse but thanked her parents for their support and kind words of appearance.
Speaking on Thursday’s episode of the The Drew Barrymore Show, The Queen’s Gambit star reflected on her tumultuous upbringing.
‘I was very lucky to have my parents’: Anya Taylor-Joy recalls being cruelly bullied at school as she made a striking appearance on Thursday’s episode of The Drew Barrymore Show
Clad in a striking pink dress with a low-cut neckline and thigh-grazing hem, the 5ft8 beauty explained: ‘I was very, very lucky with my parents because when I was bullied for my looks my mom always said you look at the inside of somebody.
‘You look at the inside of somebody you don’t look at class, you don’t look at anything like that.’
The Tiffany & Co spokesperson then said: ‘You don’t look at what they do for a job, it’s just do you like that person’s heart? And I really have to give a big shout out to my mom for that because it was really helpful.’
Childhood: For the first six years of her life, Anya was raised in Argentina until her family – whom she once called ‘nomadic, travelling gypsies really’ – moved to London (pictured in childhood)
Throwback: The actress, 26, dropped out of school aged 16 as a result of the abuse and landed her first acting role in The Witch (pictured at the premiere in 2015)
For the first six years of her life, Anya was raised in Argentina until her family – whom she once called ‘nomadic, travelling gypsies really’ – moved to London.
At the time she did not speak a word of English, and in a previous interview she revealed her struggle to adapt to her new home country.
‘Argentina is all green and I had horses and animals everywhere – all of a sudden I was in a big city and I didn’t speak the language,’ she recalled.
‘I didn’t really feel like I fitted 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.’
The effect, she said, was that she spent a lot of time in school ‘crying in bathrooms’.
Heartbreaking: The Queen’s Gambit star reflected on her tumultuous upbringing as she spoke with the show’s host Drew Barrymore
She decided to move to New York at the age of 14, then gave up school two years later to pursue acting – a decision that ‘terrified’ her family.
Anya got a lucky break very soon afterwards, back in London, when she was spotted by Sarah Doukas, founder of the prestigious Storm model agency who is also credited with discovering Kate Moss.
Anya told Entertainment Tonight last year of her childhood experience: ‘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. I was clearly a very normal child.’
Anya said: ‘I was very, very lucky with my parents because when I was bullied for my looks my mom always said you look at the inside of somebody’ (pictured with her mother Jennifer in September)
She added to Elle that she turned to acting because school was so weird: ‘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?’
Anya burst onto the showbiz scene aged just 17, as the lead in Robert Eggers’s 2015 period horror film The Witch, which won her several awards.
She has worked steadily ever since, including a recurring role in BBC series Peaky Blinders and The Miniaturist, before earning a degree of wider fame when she took on the title role in the movie remake of Jane Austen’s Emma – a character she recalled being attracted to because of her recalcitrant streak.
She also starred in 2020’s The Queen’s Gambit, which at the time set the record as the most-watched scripted limited series to date.
Anya added: I’ really have to give a big shout out to my mom for that because it was really helpful’
Elsewhere in her chat with Drew she told how was star struck by Sarah Jessica Parker.
Drew said, ‘Now as a girl I’m totally in love with you. I heard you like raves. You like Sex and the City. You’re cool, you’re fun.
‘Age transcends I just want to hang out with you and bring back dance parties. Is it true you went up to Sarah Jessica Parker and you were like, “I am watching you and Big.”‘
Stylish: Anya was clad in a striking pink dress with a low-cut neckline and thigh-grazing hem
Anya then said, ‘Yeah it was a really bad moment for me just because I saw her and I ran up, and I was going through a really bad breakup, and I was like, “Hey I just had to tell you I’ve been watching you and Big and it’s given me a lot of hope.”
Taylor-Joy was in a relationship with Eoin Macken from 2016 until 2018.
‘And she’s like, “Oh that you’ll get back together,” and I was like, “No. That I will survive that I can move on from this and that I will be okay.’”She was like, “Okay.”‘
After the show: She was seen in her mini dress with her publicist behind her on the streets of NYC post interview
Anya wed Malcolm McRae in an intimate courthouse wedding, Page Six claimed this summer.
She also said when working in Berlin for The Queen’s Gambit she had a healthy lifestyle.
‘I genuinely think I was the healthiest I’ve ever been, because I would wake up on Sunday. I would have brunch, I would go to the club. I would dance for about 8 hours not talk to anybody, go home eat a bowl of spaghetti and wake up at 4 o clock in the morning and go to work,’ she said.
Her idol: She also told Drew she was star struck by Sarah Jessica Parker. ‘I saw her and I ran up, and I was going through a really bad breakup, and I was like, “Hey I just had to tell you I’ve been watching you and Big and it’s given me a lot of hope,”‘ she shared; Sarah seen on Wednesday