Daisy Ridley has gone from small acting gigs to starring in perhaps the biggest movie of the decade, and with all that exposure, she’s happy that her character is a strong young woman who doesn’t have to show off her body throughout the film.
In The Force Awakens, Ridley plays Rey, a girl left to survive on her own in a harsh desert world. She can fight, she can repair machinery, and she can take care of herself, something Princess Leia wasn’t always able to do in the original Star Wars films. In a recent interview with Elle, producer Kathleen Kennedy said that times have certainly changed, and the writers were very aware of their obligation to bring a new dynamic to these characters.
“In 2015, there was no scenario in which we weren’t going to bring balance to the way we tell these stories. And Daisy had a physicality and a self-confidence that was so important to the character we were looking for. She epitomizes that optimism where anything is possible,” Kennedy said.
Indeed, Daisy Ridley was aware of the chance she had to create an all-new heroine, one that little girls could look up to.
“She’s so strong. She’s cool and smart and she can look after herself. Young girls can look at her and know that they can wear trousers if they want to. That they don’t have to show off their bodies,” Ridley told Elle.
Of course, Ridley is still down to get girly and glammed-up for the red carpet, and for the premiere of the film she rocked a lacy white gown and vintage-inspired hair and makeup that enhanced her eyes.
“The white dress immediately inspired me to do an eye. I pictured a smokey eye, but not like dark black coals. I knew I didn’t want to ‘cover her up,’ so I focused on keeping the tones sheer and smoke — like, you can see through smoke — so it’s a feeling of being able to see through to her eyes,” said makeup artist Kara Yoshimoto Bua.
Ridley is still getting used to the life of a superstar, and often posts on Instagram throughout her journey. The actress is reportedly on board for more Star Wars films, so this is only the beginning for Daisy.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws for female fans is that Daisy’s character isn’t just a strong fighter, she’s many different things at once. She’s been taking care of herself for a long time, so she’s a survivor, but that’s not all she is.
“No distressing damsel, she’s instead a fighter and a survivor and a nurturer and an all-around badass. She may fit the trope-happy cliches of Hollywood lady-ry—the ’empowered woman,’ the Strong Female Lead—but she’s also something both simpler and more meaningful: a fully realized character. Rey is a woman who refuses to be defined as one,” writes the Atlantic.
Daisy told Variety recently that it was Rey’s hopefulness that drew her to the character, saying she was impressed by how a girl who had been abandoned and alone for so long could still look toward the future with an open mind.
“Her hopefulness. I think that was something driving me through the auditions — even though it felt so insanely out of anything that I could’ve imagined, there was something inside of me that was telling me that I could do it, even though I was riddled with doubts and insecurities. So probably that. She’s much more hopeful than I am, and much braver than I am. For a woman who had been alone for such a long time to be so open to what’s going on, and letting journeys happen, and letting relationships happen, I think is really incredible,” Ridley said.
[Image via LucasFilm]