It was a banner year for Anya Taylor-Joy. From stepping into the title role of Emma Woodhouse in Autumn de Wilde’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma to her critically-acclaimed turn as a midcentury chess player upending gender conventions in Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit, she’s already bound for award-season success and then some. But while buzz stirs around the Argentine-British actress’ upward trajectory, off-screen, the 24-year-old is just trying to stay grounded like the rest of us. These days, Taylor-Joy’s acts of self-care include relaxing baths, hygge-ifying her space, and falling back on feel-good scents as the face of Viktor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb. Here, Taylor-Joy talks Vogue through her beauty and wellness philosophies and rituals as of late.
From Emma to The Queen’s Gambit, you’ve played a myriad of different roles that have required visual transformations. How have these transformations shaped your perception of beauty?
I always find that I learned something different from each person that I play. Spiritually, emotionally, and physically… I’ve just learned that I do love to transform. I think people are very scared of change because when things are the same we feel more secure in them. But actually, if you can cultivate an exciting approach to change, it can actually be a conduit for better things to come that will never lead you wrong. It’s in resisting change that we find ourselves in trouble and it’s in accepting change that we’re able to adapt and grow.
You certainly don’t shy away from a hair transformation!
I remember the first time I ever dyed my hair brown, because I’m a natural blonde and I went to bed and I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I caught sight of myself and I thought it was an intruder! I just fell to the ground screaming because I didn’t know who the person in the mirror was. But from that moment on, I’ve been a lot more fluid and a lot less attached to one particular image, I think. What’s weird actually is the last time I looked like myself is when I worked with Robert Eggers on The Witch. That’s the way I had looked my whole life. I had butt-length blonde hair and then immediately after that role, started cutting it and dyeing it every color. I really went for it, you know? I’ve just finished working with [Eggers] again and I do think it’s really strange that in the five years it’s been since we’ve worked together, I’ve had so many different hair colors and now I have butt-length blonde hair again. The weirdest thing is looking the way that I looked when I was a kid now as a 24-year-old woman with all of the experiences that I’ve had. So that’s pretty wild, totally full circle.
As the face of Flowerbomb, you obviously have a deep relationship to fragrance. How is it an extension of your self-expression?
I think I’m figuring out that I didn’t really have a personal style and I actually really enjoy that because I’ve been playing so many different characters the whole of my adult life. It was always more about finding out who they were. And now that I’ve had a bit more time myself, I’m realising that I enjoy doing that as well. I enjoy dressing up and accentuating different styles, different elements of my personality. With the Flowerbomb collection, I love that you can pick your intensity. So if there’s a day where you’re feeling a bit softer, you can go for the Dew, and then you’re feeling a bit more frisky, you can go for the Midnight.
With lockdown fueling skincare obsession, how have you been taking care of your skin?
I never washed my face or paid attention to skincare until about two years ago when I suddenly realized I should probably start taking care of the thing I use to work with. I read an incredible book called If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha. I was completely unaware of the Korean skincare game before then and from that book—which is a fiction book, by the way, it’s not supposed to be a skincare book—but I learned so much. One of the steps in Korean skincare is the essence, which is especially important now in the winter months. I am loving it. I’m a big fan of toners and I tend to just use regular rose water and witch hazel when my skin is getting a bit aggravated. Using a toner with an oil wrapped up in one, my skin loves it. So I am very grateful for the work of fiction that has improved my skin. Thank you very much, Frances Cha!
What are your current must-have skin-care products?
I tend to just mix stuff up myself. Almond oil and rose water mixed together—that’s what I’ve been using. I love the fact that it’s accessible in that way. You can go to any pharmacy in any country and they will usually have witch hazel, rose water, and almond oil, so you’re never stuck without it.
If you have some downtime during the holidays, what other kinds of self-care will you be practicing to keep yourself looking and feeling your best?
My mum instilled in me a deep love of baths. I love baths! I think that would be my primary form of self-care. Baths have really helped me through lockdown. I like to make a ritual out of them. I’m big into the salts and I make my own blend of essential oils for whatever it is that I want the water to give me. I’m a very spiritual person, so I love the act of getting into a bath, cleansing yourself, and then allowing whatever it is that you want to get rid of just stay in the tub. Recently, I’ve been using a lot of almond oil in the bath, which, hazard warning: It makes it very slippery. For anyone trying this at home, make sure you’re holding onto something when you step out of it! Along with almond oil, I’ve been using a lot of sandalwood, jasmine, and lavender if it’s nighttime because it’s just gorgeous.
During your time in Ireland, did you try one of their local seaweed baths?
Oh my god! They’re crazy. I’m a very tactile person so I appreciate the sliminess of it, but when I first put my foot in it I was like, ‘Okay, this is different!’ [Laughs]
How else are you stay sane in mind and body?
I love to read. Reading is something that I don’t have a lot of spare time for, but something that I learned to do in lockdown. I wanted to acknowledge the things that make me a happier human being and actually make me better at my job if I make the time to do it. If I make time every day to read, I feel like I’ve done something for myself. I’ve gone off into my own little world that’s kind of where I recharge. I’m an extroverted introvert. And I think, for obvious reasons, the extroverted side of me gets a lot of time to play and I need to make space for my introverted pixie. I definitely need that. I need that to recharge. So reading, and then just spending time in nature. I was lucky that I just wrapped a movie in Northern Ireland and we were filming out in the elements every day and I found that so grounding. I really respond well to the awe-inspiring power of nature. It just makes all of your problems seem so small and it allows you to see the bigger picture in a way that I think is very conducive to a happier life.
I assume you’ve taken a lot of “sanity walks” during lockdown?
Yes! I spent the first lockdown in London and there were days where I would just put on my shoes in the morning and then just walk. I think the longest walk I did was like eight or nine hours. I had forgotten how much I would walk everywhere when I was a kid and how much I loved that. There’s just something about the consistent pace of walking where your brain finds it easier to solve problems and to understand how you feel about some things.
What about when you’re stuck inside? How are you cultivating a restorative space?
I’m a big fan of making things cozy. I think that’s because I hadn’t had a home for six years and I was just living in hotel rooms where I would put scarves over all the lamps so that it would be a color palette that I liked. I always have candles around and make sure that I have really comfy, warm socks and pajamas. I think that’s been my biggest purchase over lockdown. They bring me so much joy! Like, I probably have more pajamas than I do outdoor clothes and I’m kind of okay with it. They make me very happy. I’m also obsessed with candles and actually because I was living in Ireland, I found a wonderful brand Soilse that makes scents, like Irish moss, inspired by landscapes. I bought so many and they’re so nice to be able to have at home.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.