Anya Taylor Joy on her hectic schedule: ‘I survived on Diet Coke, cigarettes & coffee’

'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings' film premiere, London, UK

Anya Taylor Joy covers the October issue of Tatler. She’s promoting Last Night in Soho, the freaky-looking horror-thriller where she plays a jazz singer in the swingin’ 1960s in London. Anya works a lot and has worked consistently for years, which has given her the vibe of an older actress and a veteran actress, even though she’s only 25. She chatted with Tatler about the movie, the paparazzi and of course, how much she loves Argentina. She spent years of her early childhood in Argentina and she still talks about it like she would do anything to go back there permanently. Some highlights:

Last Night in Soho: ‘That film was the first time I ever wore white boot. Now I live in them.’

The hidden history of Last Night in Soho: ‘Our version of London is presenting you with the fine line between downtown where your dreams will come true and a full-blown nightmare that is difficult to get out of. We’ve all had moments when we’ve been at a party, met somebody and thought, “Oh, this is wonderful, this person is really kind and we’re really vibing,” and then seven hours later you’re like, “Oh, this person’s horrible and I no longer want to be in this situation.”’

What she learned in her research of the ‘60s scene: ‘Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick were really only active and working for about a year and a half, which blows my mind. It feels like it was this big expansive time and so influential – yet it was a flash in the pan. And 1960s London was like that.’

Her early childhood in Argentina: Leaving Argentina ‘broke all of our hearts. It’s such a sacred world to all of us.’ It wasn’t until she was 14 that she came to appreciate what her parents had done for the family by moving to the UK. ‘I apologised to them because I started to understand the opportunities in London. I had the autonomy I wouldn’t have necessarily been afforded in Argentina, so I was very grateful for that.’

She hated being a teenager: ‘I was just very insecure and deeply unhappy…. When you’re a teenager, your feelings are so dramatic, you don’t think you’re going to survive them. Then you make it another 10 years and you’re like, “I feel the same level of pain but I’ve been through it before so I know that it passes. And I understand myself better, so I have the tools to help myself through.”’

Filming projects back-to-back: ‘I survived on Diet Coke, cigarettes and coffee, and by the end of it, I was like, “I need to eat a vegetable.” It can be difficult when you’re “young” to not feel guilty about not doing things that other 25-year-olds are doing and that can be a bit of a headf**k.’

She has fun but it’s mostly about work: ‘I still love going out and being around people, but now my work is taking up so much of my energy, I have to be a lot more careful because I end up paying for it. I don’t have time to be a 25-year-old with a hangover.’

On the paparazzi: ‘Well, there are other times when you’re just one person facing off against 20 and that’s just physically not safe. It can be very frightening when there are whole bunches of men with cameras attached to their faces running after you down the street.’ This happened on a recent trip to New York when she was hosting Saturday Night Live. ‘I went home and cried, but then I figured it out. The next morning I went out and I said, “Hello, my name is Anya. Let’s lower down the camera and let’s meet.” I am not prey. I don’t want to run. I’d rather be like, “I understand this is your job and I hope that you can understand that I am a woman of a certain size and I feel intimidated right now, so can we make it work so you can do your job and I can feel less frightened?”’

[From Tatler]

That’s a mature way to handle the paparazzi, but I do get scared for actresses when they’re in the middle of a paparazzi swarm. It must be so scary to be young and alone (as in, no security) when that happens. As for surviving for a year and a half on Diet Coke, cigarettes and coffee while working on back-to-back projects… I appreciate her honesty? Most actresses are like “oh, water and meditation, that’s how I stay thin!”

Cover & IG courtesy of Tatler.

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30 Responses to “Anya Taylor Joy on her hectic schedule: ‘I survived on Diet Coke, cigarettes & coffee’”

  1. Mimi says:

    I’m excited for soho. I still need to watch queens gambit, I’m going down my list of things to watch 😅

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I really, really enjoyed Queens Gambit. She’s a great actress, and she plays a complicated person very well. Plus, the visuals are top notch.

  2. Jenny says:

    It’s hard to be unique looking as a teen. She’s grown into herself and is absolutely incredible to look at and incredible to watch. The queens gambit was consuming because of her.

  3. Killfanora says:

    Cigs, Diet Coke, coffee…..Well that’s a sensible way of eating. And a great message for impressionable young people. (Sarcasm, for those who misread.)

    • Twin falls says:

      Honest though. At least it’s realistic versus oh I eat and sleep like a normal person and stay this thin and active and successful in this cutthroat industry without any self destructive habits.

      • detritus says:

        I hope her honesty goes a way to dispel the myth that thinner = healthier

      • Christine says:

        Agreed. I am side-eyeing all the celebrities that preach yoga, pilates, Mediterranean diet, whatever, and get caught smoking behind a dumpster. I STILL remember being shocked when Goldie Hawn was caught by a pap smoking, and that must have been the 90s? Keep in mind, I was a smoker at the time, but I felt like all her time yammering on about yoga and being naturally happy was a pile of BS.

    • Andie says:

      Did she say she still eats that way? Did she recommend it? Come on. She said it was unhealthy and she felt the need afterwards to improve her diet.

      I’ve been a young woman and most of us don’t need a sound byte from an actress in an interview to “inspire” us to take on unhealthy eating habits. It’s something a lot of young people, especially women, do. She did it. She doesn’t anymore.

    • Elaine Stritch says:

      Honestly, when I was 25 I lived on cigarettes, diet coke, coffee and maybe potato chips… I think she’s just being honest. She’s not telling people to go do it and It’s not her responsibility to be a role model for every young person.

  4. Lightpurple says:

    Can’t wait to see what her character does in Peaky Blinders.

  5. Tiffany :) says:

    After years of hearing good things, I finally watched The Witch. It definitely made me think about it long afterwards!

    I think she’s a fantastic actress and I look forward to see what she does during her career.

  6. candy says:

    She lost a lot of weight. Let’s face it, with the work she’s getting she has the money to pay someone to cook for her and look after her. Studios probably do that too with the foods they have on set. If she’s living on coffee and cigarettes, there’s a different reason imo.

    • Robyn says:

      Diet Coke, coffee, and cigarettes is a very specific diet in corners of the internet. I wonder if she is alluding to that. Hope she’s eating more vegetables at least!

      • Blubb says:

        Ok…now I want to know what this specific corner is. Or do I? Should I google it or is this going somewhere really dark? I did a half-hearted search and all I saw was the expected ‘the supermodel diet’ articles, but that can’t be what you mean.

    • Ella says:

      Blubb, I think it’s a reference to the community that promotes a well-known eating disorder as a way of life.

  7. tealily says:

    I really, really like her. She just seems so smart and normal.

  8. Natters says:

    This young lady has a great future ahead of her and I can tell she is enjoying her life immensely.

  9. Stacy Dresden says:

    I feel like people want celebs to be squeaky clean in interviews. At least she’s being honest

  10. jbyrdku says:

    Aka the “diet” of every model, ever.

  11. SMSCat says:

    I think she is great but I do not understand her saying in interviews that she was unique or awkward looking, somehow an ugly duck , while growing up. All I see in the link attached is a beautiful girl throughout the years. If that is the way she feels, is a bit dismorphic.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      She’s beautiful but I can see where she would have had a hard time as a teen. Large, wide spaced eyes, slightly buck teeth. As an adult I think she was stunning but teenagers are a whole other animal.

    • Concern Fae says:

      I worked at a video store where a big-time Hollywood was a frequent customer. One of the things he told me that has stuck with me was that famous actresses were rarely the “pretty” sister in their family. The camera likes slightly unusual features, beauty but a bit off. Thus the famous beauties insecure about their looks.

      I can totally see Anya’s features being seen as odd when she was a tween/early teen. Being eccentric and Argentinian probably added to it.

      • MarisolChile says:

        I watched a video recently where she said she’s a dual British-US citizen, but not Argentinian, although she does have residency because she lived there for 5 years because of her dad’s job (investment banker irc).

        She’s always looked like a pretty, posh Brit, which, tbf, is what she is. I think some of her feelings may have been projection or insecurity, but not really based in fact.

  12. observer says:

    as someone with an eating disorder i’m wondering why she’s toting the cigarettes coffee and diet coke thing. among other ED people i know, that’s a pretty common “”diet”"…(sometimes with the occasional white claw but yeah)

    • Ella says:

      I don’t know why people are applauding her “honesty.” She’s visibly, dangerously underweight and she’s basically admitted to having an eating disorder without calling it one. If her takeaway is “I need to eat a vegetable,” she’s not even admitting that she needs to consume more calories and put on weight, let alone seek treatment for an ED.

  13. Moo says:

    I survived for years on coffee and little sleep. Never had enough time to eat, or properly chew food. I was underweight despite eating as much as I wanted when I finally did get find time to eat. I’m in early middle age and already with osteoporosis and menopause 10 years earlier than my mother. I’m sure my lifestyle is the cause.

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