Daisy Ridley’s earliest childhood memory is of a party hosted by her parents at their family home in west London, when she was three, maybe four. She was surrounded by grownups, towering above her, when she abruptly and dramatically declared: “I’m shy!” before running out of the room. “My mum told me I did that, so maybe I’m remembering half an imprint of someone else’s memory,” she says, laughing at the irony of both commanding attention from her audience and then immediately rejecting it. It’s a trait that has somehow stuck.
At 27, Ridley finds herself at the centre of the universe. With three Star Wars films under her belt, the actor is adjusting to multiple layers of fame: there’s the gilded A-list Hollywood kind that comes with red carpets, stylists and outfits gifted by the most sought-after designers; then the sort of fame that has tabloids tracking her most mundane moves, breathlessly documenting Ridley’s “brave” trip to the dry cleaner’s (with no makeup!) or strolling through London wearing – gasp – a daisy print skirt. And then, of course, there’s the fierce, cult-like superfan fame, where the force of millions of Star Wars obsessives will always be with her, the legacy of being plucked, as a fresh-faced 21-year-old unknown, by director JJ Abrams to play Rey, the scrappy scavenger mentored by Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
Autumn - Afternoon - London - Hotels - Star
We meet on a late autumn afternoon in one of London’s grandest hotels. The Star Wars press campaign has occupied an entire floor and a corridor of suites is taken up by publicists, assistants and executives fixed on their phone screens. Ridley, wearing a dark denim Ulla Johnson boilersuit, cinched in at the waist and tucked into Christian Louboutin mesh ankle boots, takes a seat on a beige chaise longue in a very beige room, expertly...
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