With captivating visuals and plot twists, The Queen’s Gambit is without a doubt one of the most-watched Netflix tv shows in history – and even more captivating is the girl who plays fictional chess prodigy, Beth Harmon: Anya Josephine Marie Taylor-Joy. By her perfect English accent, no one would have ever guessed that she is in fact, Argentinian (among other nationalities).
Anya was born in Miami, the youngest of six children. Her mother, born and raised in Zambia, is of British and Spanish descent, while her father is Scottish-Argentine. Taylor-Joy moved to Buenos Aires as an infant and lived there until her family moved to Victoria, London at age eight. She found the move to the United Kingdom traumatic (who can blame her) and refused to speak English for two years because she believed this would force her parents to move the family back to Argentina. Unfortunately, her plan didn’t quite work.
Her dream of becoming an actress came to fruition when she was offered a modeling job at 16 after being spotted by Sarah Doukas of Storm Management. Her first prominent role was in Robert Eggers’ period horror film, The Witch. The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2015, and her performance left no one indifferent about her pure talent.
Now, just a few years later, Taylor-Joy plays an orphan prodigy addicted to tranquilizers and chess. The story follows the beats of a classic Hollywood misfit tale: a woman succeeding in a male-dominated world without stable role models, a troubled biological mother (played by Chloe Pirrie), and a depressed, alcoholic adoptive mom. For a father figure, she was only able to rely on the orphanage’s janitor who teaches her what she ends up loving the most: chess.
The Queen’s Gambit is a must-watch series, and Taylor-Joy is a young star.