Life Lessons with Anya Taylor-Joy

Is there anything I’ve learnt about confidence? Listen, I’m still figuring it out,” Anya Taylor-Joy tells us in the latest episode of our Life Lessons series. “I think it’s something that has to come from you. I don’t think it’s something that you can rely on other people to constantly validate you for… You have to believe that you are worthy. And that’s actually really hard.”

With her unwavering commitment to creativity, the mesmerising and multifaceted star now has Hollywood and the fashion world at her feet – and is why she was named our Actress of the Year at the 2022 Women of the Year Awards.

The 26-year-old is an expert at transformation, moving seamlessly from one character to the next, kitted out in Regency dress one month and Sixties garb the next, then equally comfortable wearing rags befitting a Mad Max dystopia, or the contemporary looks of her current film, The Menu.

“Trying to pick a project that I’m most proud of is like trying to pick between children,” she laughs. “Even if you do have a favourite, you’re not supposed to say it!” She adds that she’s most proud of how she’s managed the balance of her hectic schedule. “I work back-to-back,” she explains. “Characters are real people for me, and I mourn them when they’re gone. So being able to jump from the skin of one person into the next rather quickly, actually helps me compartmentalise my feelings. I give myself an hour to breathe and then I have to let it go and move on to the next thing the next day. I’m proud that I’ve kept up with that.”

Having been modelling and acting since she was a teenager, Taylor-Joy has been open about experiencing anxiety over the red-carpet in the early years of her career. Today, she has learnt to master her fears – treating every press appearance as a new performance, and finding ways to deal with unfair criticism; particularly from social media trolls.

“Why would you let a stranger’s opinion of you ruin your whole day?” she asks. “I’ve done it, it’s awful. You have to live in the now; you have to live in the present.

She also shares a confidence-boosting tip for if anyone’s ever having “a bad moment, or a bad day”, and it involves her friends.

“Something I’ve often thought to myself is that I really rate my friends, I think my friends are incredible people, and they choose to spend time with me,” she explains. “So I’m like, OK, I can’t be that bad if these wonderful people are choosing to spend time with me. That’s a little hack for you.”

Watch our full video interview with Taylor-Joy above, in which she discusses what she’s learnt about style, beauty, career and confidence.

The December/January issue of Harper’s Bazaar, starring Anya Taylor-Joy and our 2022 Women of the Year, is out now.


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