Whether you’ve seen “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” or not, you know newcomer Daisy Ridley plays a big part in the hit movie. The young actress plays the mysterious heroine Rey, a scavenger, who lives on the planet of Jakku. If you don’t know her name yet, you’re about to.
This is no doubt the young Brit’s biggest role to date, but you’d never know it from the way she carries herself. In 2010 she graduated from performing arts school, and after accruing only a few years of novice experience, was cast by J.J. Abrams as one of the lead roles in The Force Awakens—similar to the manner in which relatively unknown actors Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill were cast in the original Star Wars almost 40 years ago.
1 – She’s Only 23!
Ridley is a native of London, England, and was born in 1992. Talk about making headway at such a young age.
2 – She Was Relatively Unknown Before ‘Star Wars’
Ridley’s IMDB credits only date back to 2013. She had a small role in “Mr Selfridge” in 2014 and was in the film “Scrawl” the following year. Ridley was cast as Rey back in April 2014. Here she is with fellow newcomer and co-star John Boyega, who also steals the show in “The Force Awakens.”
3 – Gym Rat
Ridley is not afraid to show off her hard work at the gym. On Instagram, she posted a montage video of her at the gym working abs, shoulders and her core.
No one ever said marching through the sands of Jakku was easy.
4 – She’s Got a Great Voice
According to co-stars John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, Ridley sang the entire time the cast was on set. Fans got a taste two weeks ago when the 23-year-old posted a sweet duet with Isaac.
5 –She’s been hailed as a feminist icon
Leia aside, previous Star Wars films weren’t exactly heavy on inspiring women – and it’s great to see how Rey has captured the imagination of younger Star Wars fans, giving them a female character they can look up to, whose courage and strength they can emulate – and who (as hundred of rather lovely pictures from fan events across the world testify) they can actually enjoy dressing up as.
Entertainment Weekly’s Nicola Sperling, who is mother to two girls aged 10 and 12, perhaps put it best in a recent comment piece, The Power of Rey.
“Leaving the theater, my girls felt as empowered as their brother usually does after seeing one of the many blockbusters built for him,” she wrote.
“They never commented on how pretty Rey is. They never had to flinch because Rey was a sexual object to some man in power. They just felt strong. Equal. I can only imagine how the film will feel to girls in parts of the world where women are not allowed control over their own bodies or hearts or minds. Imagine a generation of both sexes, growing up believing that girls are powerful. Imagine the force of a billion girls realizing that, one day, they can rule the galaxy.”