Here, as she moves onto a new chapter in her life, the 27-year-old joins the latest edition of GLAMOUR UNFILTERED – our bi-weekly chat show hosted by our Josh Smith – to discuss how the pressures of Star Wars led to her attending therapy, the lessons she learnt from it and how she is yet to find a job after finishing the franchise…
The force was awoken in Daisy Ridley – having played Rey in the Star Wars franchise for three films – but now she is hanging up her light saber for good after the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
What do you think you’ve learnt about yourself through going on this amazing journey with Star Wars?
I’ve learnt that I’m a sticker – I stick at things. Even when things are tough. And I’ve also learnt that I have a really good poker face. I don’t have a good poker face for when I’m emotional, but when I’m absolutely terrified doing a stunt, I’ve learnt that I have quite a calm face. We were doing something in the desert that was literally giving me a panic attack, and our stunt coordinator, Eunice, who’s hilarious, was like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, joke, joke, joke.” She’s a Scouse, sorry anyone from Liverpool. And later on, I said, “Eunice, that was terrifying.” She was like, “Oh, I’m so sorry, you didn’t seem that…” So, I’ve learnt that I have a good, calm face.
How did you lean into your own mental strength in those tough moments?
I leaned more into the people around me, because you just have to trust that if your life is in someone else’s hands, they’re gonna keep you safe. So, it’s a lot of trust, telling yourself it’s gonna be okay. And also telling yourself, if something does happen, [touches wood] that it’s the right thing.
How have you looked after your own mental wellbeing, while having this level of insane scrutiny on you?
I went to therapy for a bit, which was great. ‘Cause a lot of it was about feeling out of control, ’cause I’m quite controlling in that I like to know what’s going on, and suddenly you’re in a situation where you have no idea what’s going on. You don’t know if people are gonna look at you, you don’t know if people are gonna be somewhere. Like you don’t know to what extent, your day is gonna go. And then in general if I don’t wanna go out, I won’t go out. If I don’t wanna see people, I won’t see people. Facial, massage, all of the things that keep you feeling good, too.
What do you think you learnt about yourself the most from going to therapy?
Weirdly that when you have a lot of stress, or drama I remember thinking, “What do you fill that space with if you deal with the drama and the stress?” The therapist was like, “Well you fill it with good things.” And I was like, “Oh!” ‘Cause I think a lot of people assume you have to fill stress with stress, but you don’t. You can deal with the stress and then fill it with good stuff.
Is part of that process realising you are your own ally, too?
Yeah, and also learning that you’re the only person that is experiencing your life. So, if you’re not having a good time, what is the point? Like, you have to almost fake it until you make it. Force yourself to have a good time, and then eventually you’ll be like, “Oh yeah, okay, this is quite enjoyable.”
Does playing such a strong character as well gives you another level of faith in yourself?
I think it’s less playing her, and more being surrounded by very talented people that have worked with a lot of people that are like, “Oh yeah, I’ll listen to what you have to say, sure. You have an idea, let’s try it!” So, when people are giving you the space to have ideas, you’re like, “Oh yeah, maybe I am smart and maybe I am talented!” All of those things that for the most part, people sort of tend to self-doubt.
Have you had a turning point, a specific turning point in your journey with self-doubt?
Yeah, I took six months off before we did this film, and it was just a good time to be realise yes, it’s all good, I’m supposed to be here. Which is why I think I had the best experience on Rise Of Skywalker, because I felt the most confidence, and I felt, even though it was very difficult, I felt the most at ease within myself.
Rey is such a great role for having a strong body image as well and shows it’s a positive to be strong and not skinny. What’s been your own journey with body image, for you?
Oh, I think I didn’t really have a thing about body image and then you sort of realise that it’s more of an issue than I thought it was. A friend of mine had a really bad eating disorder at school, and then I was more aware of that people have this need to look like something that they’re not. But when I started training with the new company that I train with now, it’s all about strength, mobility and stability, and I didn’t get ill during filming, and I didn’t get injured. So, for me now, that’s the most important thing out of anything is you feel happy doing it. So id you don’t want to run, don’t. If you don’t wanna go and sweat for an hour every day, don’t do it, just do stuff that makes you feel good.
And work on yourself as well, right?
Yeah, because it’s also if you’re a jealous person, you can work on that. Smother it with love. If you’re an angry person, smother it with love.
I think my parents have always said that I’m brave, because I’m scared of things, but I do it anyway. So I guess it’s that because ultimately, you have to feel like you can do it, in order to actually do it.
I had to do scuba diving training, and I was having a total panic attack at the bottom of the tank, and I had to think to myself, “It’s okay, you’re here, there’s nothing you can do, except breathe and be calm!”