Anya Taylor-Joy, 24, is the lead of the hit show, “The Queen’s Gambit,” Netflix’s most-watched limited series reaching 62 million homes since its debut on Oct. 23. The worldwide success of the series is partly due to Taylor-Joy’s captivating work playing Beth Harmon, an orphan who becomes a chess prodigy. The actress — who is part-Argentine — has been praised for her portrayal of Harmon, who rises in the chess world while battling an addiction to tranquilizers. Read on to learn about Taylor-Joy including how being from Argentina has influenced her and when she hopes to take on a role in Spanish.
She spent the first six years of her life in Argentina.
Taylor-Joy is the youngest of six children and was born in Miami. Her mother, born and raised in Zambia, is of British and Spanish descent, while her father is Scottish-Argentine. The family moved to Buenos Aires when she was an infant and lived there until her family moved to London at age six. She found the move to the United Kingdom “traumatic” and refused to speak English for two years believing her family would move back to Argentina, she told The Wall Street Journal. She also recently shared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” that she learned to speak English by reading the Harry Potter collection.
She loves Argentine food and speaks with a perfect Argentine accent.
In a video Netflix’s Con Todo posted on Instagram she shared that her favorite Argentine foods are empanadas, provolone bread (which she prefers over pizza), and dulce de leche churros. She goes on to share that before the pandemic she hugged everyone on set and that she believes she gets her warmth and attitude about life from Argentina.
Her first prominent role was in a critically acclaimed horror film.
She starred in Robert Eggers’ The Witch and gained critical acclaim for her portrayal of a young girl encountering demons in the forest. The film opened up doors for opportunities in films including M. Night Shyamalan’s Split and Glass and the period piece Emma, based on the classic Jane Austen novel. She’s starring in the upcoming film The New Mutants, the last in the X-Men film series, and historical revenge film also directed by Eggers, The Northman.
She was told to put away her “Latin sass” for her role in Emma.
Emma is a famously English character written by one of the most famous English novelists so Taylor-Joy shared that during filming her Latinidad complicated her portrayal. She told the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) that she felt like a “multi-cultural cocktail” during rehearsals. She shared that the American film director for the movie, Autumn de Wilde, told her that her one note was that she moved her hips too much, telling her “put away the Latin sass and make it more ruler-straight.”
She’s waiting for the right role in Spanish.
She also shared with HFPA that she hopes to one day work with Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro saying, “I feel his relationship with the supernatural is very much like mine. He understands my brain and my heart very well. So I would love to work with him.” She goes on to say that she’s waiting for the right project and that it needs to be something special because Spanish is her first language. She adds, “But while I am very good at accents in English because I mimic a lot, in Spanish I have a very thick Argentine accent. So I wonder how difficult it would be when I will speak Spanish. But I am up for the challenge.”