Who is Emma Mackey From 'Sex Education'?

The French-English actress is a rising star.

Maeve in 'Sex Education'
(Image credit: Sam Taylor/Netflix)

The Netflix hit Sex Education has finally returned for a third season after an almost 18 month-long wait. Among the students of sex-crazed Moordale Secondary is brainiac Maeve, who uses sarcasm to hide a heart of gold and has been a fan favorite since the first episode. This season, French-English actress Emma Mackey has brought a new depth to Maeve, as the character opens herself up to help from others and finally moves forward with her feelings for Otis.

Mackey's star has steadily risen as Sex Education has gotten bigger, and the actress has some huge roles coming up, including a star-studded Agatha Christie adaptation and her first starring film role. Though she's notoriously private and a bit social media-averse, here's what we know about the rising star.

She studied English Language and Literature at Leeds University.

The 25-year-old actress was born in Le Mans in northwestern France. She grew up and graduated high school in western France before moving to England for university. She also seems to be a brainiac like Maeve; she studied English, French, and law at Leeds University, graduating in 2016.

She almost turned down Sex Education.

Sex Education was Mackey's first recurring TV role and big break, but she revealed in an ELLE interview that she almost didn't take the role.

"I wasn't sure if I was even going to do it. I'd never done [a TV series] before, so it was quite a momentous thing to take on. Luckily, it's been handled really beautifully and has been edited and cast really well. It sets the bar very high. Other jobs now, I'm kind of like, "Why isn't this like Sex Ed?'" she told the outlet.

When asked what made her take the role, she said that after reading the scripts, she became protective of Maeve as a character.

"It was a gift of a part; I couldn't really turn that down. I think any doubts I had were more about my nerves, my own sort of prudishness that I might've had at the time, being new and not knowing what was right for me."

She loves gardening and cooking.

Though Mackey keeps her personal life quite private, she opened up about her hobbies to the Sydney Morning HeraldRecently she's adopted her mom's love of gardening, and she's also a vegan who loves to cook pan-Asian meals.

"I also love Middle Eastern food, big time. I love it so much I use za’atar on everything if I can. I’m like, let’s go! I’m not very good at presenting, though. That’s one thing I want to get better at, I kind of want to go to chef school," she told the outlet.

She has several huge roles coming up.

Mackey has been busy outside of Sex Education. Her most recent film just released in France, a French-language romance called Eiffel where she plays a fictional muse for Paris' Eiffel Tower. She recently wrapped filming on her first leading role, playing the Wuthering Heights author Emily Bronte in the upcoming film Emily. She's also set to appear in Death on the Nile, the sequel to 2017's Murder on the Orient Express, with director Kenneth Branagh.

She also wants a life outside of acting.

Though she loves acting, Mackey has also said that she wants to be a writer, or try directing one day. She attributes this to her restless brain, saying, "I've never been good at doing just one thing."

She told ELLE, "I'm very happy in my job, and I love my job when I'm in it. I very much feel like when I'm on set, I'm in my element, and it brings me a lot of joy. So I'm not going to stop acting right now. It’s just, only doing one thing—I can’t do that. It’s not possible for me. I like the idea of being a jack of all trades. And why not? Why not direct?"

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Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.