Daisy Edgar-Jones On Her Latest Fashion Move And Reuniting With Paul Mescal

Daisy Edgar-Jones talks to Grazia's Rosamund Dean about overnight stardom and her first fashion campaign with Jimmy Choo.

Daisy Edgar-Jones for Jimmy Choo AW20

by Rosamund Dean |

This year has been transformative for many of us. But Daisy Edgar-Jones, the 22-year-old star of Normal People, is emerging from her lockdown chrysalis as a global superstar. It’s odd to think that, just a few months ago, she was a jobbing actor. ‘There was quite a lot of non-jobbing as well,’ she laughs over Zoom, from her dressing room on the Cardiff set of War Of The Worlds, the first UK drama series to recommence filming in the Covid era. ‘I worked in a café while We’ve been desperate to see what Daisy will do next, and you know that an actor has gained instantly-recognisable status when they land a fashion campaign, so props to Jimmy Choo for getting in there first. She is delighted, not least because ‘I can show my lower half! It’s all been waist-up, but now I can celebrate my feet, which have been in slippers for the last five months.’

‘Daisy is a modern heroine in the making,’ says Sandra Choi, creative director of Jimmy Choo. ‘I knew she’d be perfect to represent the new collection,which focuses on off-duty glamour. I’m so thrilled we were able to create such a beautiful campaign that talks to the brand’s London roots.’

Daisy was particularly pleased with the Hawaii sneakers, because ‘comfort has become more important over lockdown. Having said that,’ she continues, ‘the crystal knotted Jimmy Choos I wore to the BAFTAs were comfy too. I don’t wear heels very often, but I could actually stand in those.’

She was at last month’s TV BAFTAs to present an award with her Normal People co-star, Paul Mescal, although they couldn’t reunite with a hug because of social distancing. ‘It was so lovely to see Paul – from two metres away,’ she grins. ‘It was our first event together, because everything else has been over a laptop camera. We were like, “Oh my gosh, maybe this is real and not just some weird lockdown dream.”’ Did they get a chance to celebrate? ‘We had a quick drink afterwards, but we’re still desperate to properly celebrate with the whole crew.’

BAFTAs until next year, but it’s safe to assume there’ll be a big celebration then. Meanwhile, all industry buzz pointed to an Emmy nod when they were announced last month, so it was disappointing that Daisy’s performance was not recognised in the Lead Actress category. Paul Mescal is nominated, as is writer Sally Rooney and director Lenny Abrahamson.

‘I was obviously disappointed, but I’m only 22, I’ve got to earn my stripes,’ she says diplomatically. ‘I want to keep dreaming and working towards that. And I’m so proud of the others. I know first-hand how special Paul’s performance was.’

Daisy Edgar-Jones for Jimmy Choo AW20
©Daisy Edgar-Jones for Jimmy Choo AW20

Well, we think she was robbed, and also Connell’s chain and Marianne’s fringe should have their own categories, such was their cultural impact. It was almost cruel that Daisy brought the perfect fringe to TV at a time when all the hairdressers were closed.

‘Genuinely, I feel like I owe everything to my fringe,’ she says, fully deadpan. ‘I kept not getting roles and was thinking, “Should I have gone to uni? Should I have gone to drama school? I’m never going to work again!” So I got a fringe. Then literally the week after, I got War Of The Worlds, then Normal People. My fringe is everything.’

She pauses for emphasis. ‘Everything.’

Fringe maintenance is not easy in lockdown, but it’s vital while doing video interviews. ‘One of my flatmates, Kenny, cut it – very well, actually, which is good because it’s sacred.’

Daisy’s three flatmates – her actor boyfriend Tom Varey, actor/poet Kenny and aspiring scriptwriter Liam – have been her life support. The first month of lockdown was the calm before the storm: they watched films, while fizzing with nervous anticipation until Normal People landed on the BBC at the end of April and life changed. ‘It was wild,’ she says. ‘I wonder how I’ll remember it. It feels like this surreal other world that happened in a corner of my bedroom.’

It’s mind-bending that Daisy experienced this stratospheric rise completely through a screen. ‘Do you ever have that feeling where you get off Zoom and think, “Did that conversation even happen? Was that real or some kind of video game?” Because you turn it off and you’re still there in your bedroom.’ Her Instagram following shot up overnight, giving people a direct way to tell her what they thought of her and the show.

‘Social media was my whole experience of people watching it,’ she nods. ‘And lockdown has shown how wonderful it can be in the way that we can elevate voices that might not have been heard. But I also have to delete it off my phone quite often because I find it all-consuming. Also, it’s almost like I go on it looking for something bad. I legitimise criticism far more. I don’t know why I do that.’

Daisy has talked about her anxiety in the past, so... how’s the imposter syndrome these days? ‘A bit better!’ she grins. ‘I’m starting to feel more confident, not only in terms of acting, but also in my opinions. It’s important, especially as a young woman, to know that what you have to say doesn’t have to be in an apologetic manner. Now I say what I think.’

The days of disappointing auditions are behind her now. She has a US agent and has been working out her next move. First, it’s back on set to finish War Of The Worlds season two (the producers of which must be delighted that they inadvertently hired the star of the moment just before her big break). ‘It’s all about aliens invading and empty streets and the world going mad,’ she says, ‘which is quite close to home at the minute.’ After the intensity of Normal People, followed by end-of-days drama, she’s looking for something very different next. ‘It would be nice to do a light comedy.’

READ MORE: Paul Mescal: 'Heart-Throb? That's Genuinely The Last Thing I Was Expecting!'

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