Anya Taylor-Joy’s lifeplan wasn’t exactly what every parent wants to hear, but when she wrote a lengthy treatise to her parents at the age of 16 saying she wanted to quit school for acting, they acquiesced. Her drive and intensity even as a teen, coupled with a bewitchingly expressive face and famous doe eyes have shown the gamble paid off.

First noticed as a model while living in London, the precious teen was quickly making waves, wowing at Sundance in 2015’s The Witchwhich premiered when she was just 18. But it was her turn as Beth Harmon in 2020’s The Queen’s Gambit that introduced the sexy chess player to an audience of some 62 million on Netflix in the limited series where Taylor-Joy’s stardust was simply mesmerizing and much-lauded, earning her a Critics’ Choice Television Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award with an Emmy nomination pending Taylor-Joy returns to theaters in another dark role in the upcoming Last Night in SoHofrom director Edgar Wright, known for Baby Driver.

She’s also tied to the historical thriller, The Northman, in post-production, as well as a super-secret David O’Russell project with a monster cast attached including Robert DeNiro, Christian Bale, and Margot Robbie to name just a few. There’s no doubt this young starlet, just 25, will do more than hold her own.

“I can’t just say yes to a movie. I have to be really passionate about it.” —Anya Taylor-Joy