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By Helena on January 24, 2021

S MODA (translated by Daisy Ridley Daily, do not reproduce) – Daisy Ridley (London, 1992) radically changed her life on a quiet day in 2014, when she decided to audition to star in Star Wars Episode VII, The Force Awakens. Until that point, she had only landed a few supporting roles in minor projects in the UK and paid the rent by working as a waitress in a pub. The chances, therefore, of going from being a complete stranger to the protagonist of one of the highest-grossing films in history were minimal. However, director J. J. Abrams saw something in her that had gone completely unnoticed in the rest of the castings. There was something very particular about her and it was just what the role of Rey, the most important character in the third trilogy of the saga, needed. “I’m still surprised when I think about everything this character has given me,” she explains with a very strong British accent via Zoom, from her London home. Although it is impossible for the Star Wars universe to stop accompanying her wherever she goes – Carrie Fisher knew a lot about this, who could never completely separate herself from Princess Leia – now it is another science fiction story that brings her back to the big screen . This is Chaos Walking, a film based on the literary phenomenon for adolescents by author Patrick Ness, which will soon be released in Spain.

 

In Chaos Walking, men have killed women because they have the ability to see and hear their thoughts. I don’t want to sound negative, but it has reminded me of violence against women that exists in real life. I have recently taken a Doula course, you know the people who help other women during pregnancy and childbirth, and one of the companions of that course was murdered by her partner. You just have to look at the statistics on domestic violence in confinement to get an idea of ​​how serious the problem is and how horrible it has been this season. Patrick Ness, author of the books and screenwriter of the film, is so talented that he has managed to take this tough issue, and of which it is often difficult to talk, to a story written for a young audience.

When I was watching Chaos Walking on several occasions I thought that the situation that we live with the coronavirus looks a lot like a science fiction movie. How have you lived the pandemic?
I have felt incredibly privileged at all times. I didn’t have a job to lose, I’ve been healthy and young enough not to be at risk. But I have felt very vulnerable, very concerned about conspiracy theories, about people who did not have enough decency to wear a mask in the supermarket, something that here in London was frequent … When I felt sad I found a escape route in helping others. So I have volunteered, I have donated blood just this week and of course I have contributed money to organizations that work to help people who are having a hard time. I have also tried to feel grateful for everything I have.

During this season of restrictions, confinements and spending a lot of time at home, has your way of dressing changed?
At first I can assure you that I didn’t wear anything other than sweatpants. I also don’t wear a bra, although I didn’t actually wear one before this pandemic. I count a lot on comfort. But recently I have read that it is important to dress more or less as before to recognize yourself, so I am trying to make an effort to fix myself more.

Have you taken advantage of this forced break time to learn new things?
I’ve been brushing up my French with a pretty good score on the LinGo app. As I am vegan, I have taken the opportunity to follow the wonderful recipes in an incredible book called East, by Meera Sodha. Also, I’ve been taking American accent classes. I needed something that would give structure to my day, to my time, and I think that with this I have achieved it.

Daisy Ridley experienced one of the most delicate moments of her career when – after attending the 2016 Teen Choice Awards ceremony, where a tribute to the victims of gun violence in the United States was held – she wrote a message in her Instagram account in which she encouraged to fight against such deaths. Within hours, an avalanche of comments against her collapsed her profile. «The woman who does not stop killing people with weapons in her films says it. The typical Hollywood hypocrite. Do not make political comments and dedicate yourself to making Star Wars movies, ”said one of the comments that showed how strong the pro-gun lobby can be when it is well organized. Although J.J. Abrams had warned her that being in Star Wars was not just being in any movie “because some fans understand it as a religion.” The harassment, threats and insults from gun defenders went too far and she decided to delete her account with two million followers.

You became very famous all of a sudden due to your role as Rey in Star Wars. How was the experience?
This time of confinement has made me reflect on how extreme it all was. Not just the Star Wars movies, but constantly traveling without having a home, doing interviews and having no time at all. At the time I thought it was the way it had to be. But it was a very unusual situation. I’m obviously grateful, but there were things that were overwhelming and hostile, and I didn’t want to think about them because I felt like I wasn’t being faithful to the great opportunity that had been given me. Also at the same time I think I am very lucky because I have a more or less private life. There are people in my situation who are constantly taking photos. I have managed to separate my personal life well from my professional life, partly probably because I do not have social networks.

What precisely do you think of social networks, after having abandoned them?
Have you seen the documentary The Social Dilemma (The Social Media Dilemma)?

Yes.
It’s scary, right? I am very happy to have left the social media. There are people who know how to use them incredibly well and they have helped many people obtain very useful information. But then there is the other side of the coin. The statistics that link them to anxiety are terrifying. I have friends completely addicted to their phone who have suffered from this problem. If you use them simply to connect with people, great. But there comes a time that you use Instagram when you are in a restaurant with friends. You have real people around you, but you are not having a conversation with them. All that is sad to me. It must be very complicated for teens today. I am very glad that the networks were not as present when I was a teenager.

Have you ever thought about going back to Instagram? It had millions of followers …
I don’t want to go back, but sometimes I think about it. For example, while we were taking the photos for this editorial, I thought it was something very nice. There was a great connection with the team and when we finished we hugged and danced while filming a video. I thought it was really cool content to share. But the truth is that no, I will not return.

When you were still present on the Internet you made public that you suffered from endometriosis, a disease that affects millions of women, but about which little is known. Why did you decide to go public?
I don’t know why I did it. Right now I don’t know if I have it. It has always seemed very crazy to me that you cannot talk about issues related to the rule. I think it is important to do so. Lena Dunham has done an incredible job making the disease visible. By God, half of the population are women! We should talk openly about our periods.

It is a good time to be a young actress because you have fought a lot for equality. I was lucky to arrive at a time and with a group of people with whom I have felt safe. When I read the stories of everything that happened, it seemed horrible to me … Obviously everything happened because many people who knew what was happening were accomplices. We are actresses and we have a voice. But I think a lot about industries where they don’t have this speaker and they can lose their job if they talk.

 

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