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Anya Taylor-Joy lived off 'Diet Coke, cigarettes, coffee' on Queen's Gambit

Wonderwall logo Wonderwall 8/27/2021 Mark Gray

For chess players, the term "fork" is well known. For Anya Taylor-Joy, a fork is what she could have used while filming "The Queen's Gambit."

While chatting with Tatler magazine, the 25-year-old actress recalled filming the popular Netflix series after finishing back-to-back projects, including 2020's "Emma" and the upcoming movie "Last Night in Soho." She only took one day off in between all three projects. Because of the nonstop work schedule, her diet left much to be desired.

"I survived on Diet Coke, cigarettes and coffee, and by the end of it, I was like, 'I need to eat a vegetable,'" she said. 

Anya Taylor-Joy posing for the camera © MediaPunch/Shutterstock Anya Taylor-Joy

It wasn't just Anya's diet that suffered, but her social life did, too, as she was going to bed every night at 8 p.m.


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"It can be difficult when you're 'young' to not feel guilty about not doing things that other 25-year-olds are doing," she said, but quickly adds that she no longer feels this way. "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."

She continues, "I'm not someone who needs a drink to dance. Basically I've become very efficient at everything. I'm like, 'What do I need out of this situation? I need to dance for a couple of hours, see my friends and have a good time,' so I'm like, 'Right, OK, let's bang it out.' Then it's: go home, have a bath, get up for work. I sound mental, but that's what's working for me right now."

Anya Taylor-Joy standing in front of a curtain © Swan Gallet/WWD/Shutterstock Anya Taylor-Joy

Oddly, quarantining during the COVID-19 pandemic helped her become more whole and centered.

"I do think there's a specific period of time between the ages of 18 and 25 when you are so malleable," she pontificates. "And because I was pouring so much energy into understanding these other people [the characters she plays], I was like a vase being filled with different colored liquids and I had no concept of who I was."

"It definitely got to a point where I was like, 'I haven't had time to catch up with my personal life and my perception of myself because I've been chucking all these experiences in a backpack and continuing to barrel forward,' Anya continued. "So quarantine was actually great because it let me sit down with everything and think, 'Wow, that happened.'"

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