Anya Taylor-Joy says she was 'bullied' in school over her looks

Anya Taylor Joy explains how her mom helped her deal with bullies. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Anya Taylor Joy explains how her mom helped her deal with bullies. (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic) (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images)

Anya Taylor-Joy got some words of wisdom for her mother after being bullied in her youth.

The star of the new thriller The Menu, 26, appeared on The Drew Barrymore Show this week, where she shared that she was not always “embraced” in school, despite her rising star now. She admitted, “I was very, very lucky with my parents because when I was bullied for my looks, my mom always said, 'You look at the inside of somebody, you look at the inside of somebody. You don't look at class, you don't look at anything like that. You don't look at what they do for a job. It's just: Do you like that person's heart?'"

Taylor-Joy, who also starred in Netflix’s Emmy-winning series The Queen’s Gambit, has previously spoke about feeling insecure about her looks in a 2020 interview with The Sun.

"I have never and I don't think I will ever think of myself as beautiful," Taylor-Joy recalled. "I don't think I'm beautiful enough to be in films. It sounds pathetic and my boyfriend warns me people will think I'm an absolute d*** for saying these things, but I just think I’m weird-looking."

In fact, the insecurity means she won’t watch her own films onscreen, including her 2020 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma.

"I thought, 'I am the first ugly Emma and I can't do this', because the first line in the movie is, "I'm handsome, clever and rich'," she said.

The Split actress also shared during a 2021 interview with Tatler that she can feel overwhelmed by the paparazzi attention she receives since becoming a public figure, admitting that she doesn’t always feel “physically safe” from the cameras.

"I am not prey," she said. "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?"'

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