It’s hard to believe that Daisy Ridley didn’t understand just how high—or how quickly—her star would rise when she was cast in the sequel trilogy of Star Wars. But the English actress didn’t watch the films growing up, and thus was removed from the often-crazed fandom that has geeked out over the space epic for decades. So, back in 2014, when Ridley got the call from director J.J. Abrams that she would have a starring role in the trilogy, she was just glad to be breaking into the film industry at all.
“I really didn't know that people loved it in the way that they do,” Ridley said in conversation with Marie Claire's editor-in-chief Anne Fulenwider at Marie Claire's Power Trip—an exclusive two-day leadership event in San Francisco designed to connect influential women and allow them to share their stories.
In the interim, Ridley has been cultivating an impressive resumé of portrayals of complex characters. She's also set to reprise her role in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker—the film that is intended to cap the Skywalker family storyline and the entire saga as fans know it.
She’s more recognizable than ever, but Ridley explained she’s learned to handle the attention on her own terms. “You can't have anyone telling you it's going to be one thing, it's not going to be that thing anyway,” Ridley told Fulenwider, referring to actors who try to give advice on how to behave in the spotlight. “It's just a really strange thing you have to go through.”
In order to cope, she’s gotten rid of her social media accounts, saying she’s simply happier platform-free. In the same vein, she takes care of herself by doing more of what she wants. “I work out. I see my family a lot,” she explained to Fulenwider. “If I don't want to go out, I don't go out. I don't feel that pressure anymore to see people if I'm not feeling up to it.”
Ridley also said the cast and crew of the Star Wars films have provided a safe and comfortable work environment, which she found essential in order to make it through the many months of shooting for each film.
“You look at people that do, you know, like trilogies or whatever that may be, who don't get on, and it must just be really hard,” Ridley said. “We filmed the first two films in like seven months. It's a really long time. Don't get me wrong, it was really difficult, but we had so much fun. There was such a lovely spirit on set.”
In the film, fans will see an emotional scene between Ridley and the late Carrie Fischer, which was created by using footage from the first of the trilogy, as well as a “big ole” fight between Rey and Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver.
Ridley didn’t mention to Fulenwider what life after Star Wars might look like for her, but she did mention she has a “witchy” intuition that’s led her to believe that the universe always has a plan.
“I believe that things happen for a reason—not bad things,” she said. “Bad things are by accident. Good things happen for a reason. So that sort of takes the pressure off sometimes.”