Born in Westminster, London, daughter of of Louise Fawkner-Corbett and Chris Ridley, Daisy’s great-uncle was Arnold Ridley, an English actor, playwright, and an appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Daisy attended the Tring Park School for Performing Arts, Hertfordshire, England, where she trained in musical theater. “I went because initially I was very naughty, and my mom thought if I was busy, I’d be better,” says Daisy. “And I didn’t really do acting until later on in the school, with an amazing teacher. I left, went travelling, came back. And then it all kind of went from there.”
Before the force was with her, Daisy Ridley (aka Daisy Jazz Isobel Ridley) had a less than lukewarm acting career which was virtually going nowhere. “I was actually sacked from my first job,” says Daisy in a recent interview with Elle. “It was at a workshop for a short film and after the first week, I was told not to come back.”
Next came a supermarket commercial that had Daisy “eating a pie in a way that has never seen anyone so happy,” before she at last started landing the odd role on episodes of television series such as Mr. Selfridge and Silent Witness. Then, in late 2013, word spread around London that casting had begun for the first Star Wars film in more than a decade. “I heard all sorts of famous people were being seen for it. But then a friend got an audition, so I knew they were interested in an unknown. I immediately got this weird feeling all over my body. I knew I had to be seen for it.”
When Daisy e-mailed her agent for Star Wars and bagged an audition, she ended up getting JJ Abrams’s immediate attention. “When you walked past her in the waiting room, she was just sort of alight,” he says of Daisy. “She was so funny and had a great spark,” he continues. “But I had her do a scene where she had to get pretty emotional, and she nailed it on the first take. She was born with this gift to be in a moment and make it her own. She simultaneously works from the inside out and the outside in.”
And folks, as they say, the rest is history. Today, Daisy is not only the most recognised faces in the industry but has also been featured on Forbes’ ‘30 Under 30 Europe’ list alongside bigwigs in the entertainment industry such as Adele, Emilia Clarke, Ed Sheeran and Maria Sharapova. This wonder woman is definitely going places!
Since its release in December 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has received critical acclaim and became the fastest movie ever to reach $1 billion at the box office, worldwide. And a few days later it was announced that she’d reprise her role as Rey in the eighth Star Wars film, which will start filming in January 2016 and is scheduled for release in 2017.
However, she admits she wasn’t the world’s biggest Star Wars fan as a kid. “I don’t think it’s because I’m a girl. It’s just that no one in my immediate family was really a big fan,” she says. But now she’s totally onboard. “I have gone back and watched all the movies, multiple times… My middle sister [especially] is super excited. Last year when we were filming, everyone came round and we had dinner and watched Episode IV: A New Hope, which was super cool.”
Although there hasn’t been too much news about her future projects, Daisy is currently happy riding the Rey high. “The thing that has carried on with me the whole way through this,” she says, “is, Why me? And I don’t know. I honestly don’t. But when you are doing a job and people believe in you and they listen to what you say and they care about how you feel—I felt like I became the best version of myself on set. When I’m playing Rey, it just feels right. It feels… amazing. When I’m her, I’m like, ‘Yeah, I got this.'”
Yes Daisy, you’ve certainly got this, and how!