Daisy Edgar-Jones has seen it. I am, of course, referring to the viral video of her red-carpet faux pas at the Met Gala in May this year. When I bring it up, the English actor’s fair complexion stains crimson as she buries her face in her hands. “Oh my God. This moment will forever haunt me! I was trying to be polite; I didn’t know I was meant to walk off,” she protests before erupting into giggles.
For those who are yet to see the clip, Edgar-Jones is being interviewed on the red carpet, and instead of moving on at the completion of the conversation she stands there hovering in silence. All of which was caught on camera, then packaged into a 15-second video with a computer-generated voiceover proclaiming it the “most awkward moment at the Met”. Within minutes of hitting social media platforms it had clocked up millions of views.
To be fair to the first-time attendee, rising to fame during a pandemic didn’t exactly offer much in the way of practice for glittery A-list events, so it’s no wonder Edgar-Jones had a deer-in-the-headlights moment at the most star-studded night of the year. “I think I was so overwhelmed about being there, I was not in my body. It was such a surreal experience. But I felt very lucky because I knew Paul [Mescal] and Phoebe [Bridgers], who were there, and Sebastian [Stan], who was hard to miss,” she quips, referring to her Fresh co-star’s hot-pink Valentino suit.
Despite the aforementioned moment, she did have a wonderful evening at the illustrious event. And the newly appointed global Tiffany & Co. ambassador certainly looked the part in her Daisy Buchanan-inspired crystal chain-mail Oscar de la Renta dress and Tiffany & Co. diamonds.
“It was the best night for people-watching I think I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’d describe it as the maddest dinner party you’ll ever go to. You look one way and there’s Sarah Jessica Parker, and then you look the other way and there’s James McAvoy. And then Lenny Kravitz gets up and starts singing “American Woman”. This was like the Olympics of people-watching, which is one of my favourite pastimes.”
Edgar-Jones will no doubt need to get used to high-profile events thanks to her latest film, Where the Crawdads Sing, where she arguably gives her best performance to date in the lead role of Kya. Come awards season, she will surely be the toast of the town. Based on the best-selling book of the same name by American author Delia Owens, produced by Reese Witherspoon and scored with an original Taylor Swift song, “Carolina”, the film is in cinemas now and the industry buzz around Edgar-Jones is quickly gathering steam. But she’s not letting it faze her. “I definitely block out that kind of noise,” she nods solemnly. “It’s not something I ever think about.”
If it appears as though Daisy Edgar-Jones came out of nowhere to suddenly be everywhere, that’s because it’s sort of true. She became an overnight sensation thanks to 2020’s hit television series Normal People.
Along with baking sourdough, it seemed that watching the sexually charged, overwrought adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel was an experience shared by almost everyone during the first lockdown.
Edgar-Jones explains that the circumstances of being housebound meant that news of her sudden stardom was difficult to comprehend.
“It’s only looking back now that I can unpick the whole experience of lockdown – and we knew nothing about the pandemic at that time – and then the show being a hit so immediately, which I could only see by what I was reading online. People were talking about [my role and the series], but then I’d put my phone down and I was still in my childhood bedroom and nothing in the physical world had changed. I was being told things had changed [for me], but there was nothing tangible, so it was quite hard to believe.”
It’s from her childhood bedroom that she is speaking to us over Zoom. The newly appointed global Tiffany & Co. ambassador is makeup free, in a chic but cosy Gucci jumper, hair down and totally relaxed as she lifts her laptop to show me Polaroid photos of her with friends taped to her bedroom walls.
Her marie claire covershoot takes place the following week, at a typically English cottage in Hampstead, where she swoons over the wallpaper and chats cheerfully with the creative team about moving into her own place soon. Not that she’ll be spending much time there.
“I was away working most of last year,” she says. “I think I only spent 10 days at home.”
Filming Where the Crawdads Sing meant Edgar-Jones spent a decent portion of 2021 in Louisiana. It was her first experience working in the United States and it was eye-opening.
“I look back and wonder,” she says, shaking her head incredulously.
“I can’t believe I did that, to be honest, because there were alligators everywhere. And there were so many scenes where I was diving into [the marsh water]. It never ceases to amaze me how I’m able to do things when I’m playing a character that I myself would never do. Like, I would never dive into alligator-infested waters but, as Kya, I just did it without thinking.”
The film catapults the relative newcomer to bona-fide leading lady status – although her role in the Mimi Cave-directed comedy-thriller Fresh, alongside Sebastian Stan, also saw her occupy that position with aplomb.
The surprisingly successful film about a man who dates and then (spoiler alert!) harvests women’s body parts as meat products for wealthy clientele could have been a disaster, but in the safe hands of Stan and Edgar-Jones, it’s become a cult hit. Surely she accepted the role after Stan had signed on?
“No, I actually signed on first,” she recalls. “When I read the script, I thought, ‘It’s definitely different. No-one can say that they’ve read this before.’”
She pauses to consider that for a moment. “You know, now that you mention it, it certainly was a risk, but I’m very relieved it paid off.”
Aside from swimming with the odd ’gator, Crawdads was less of a risk and more a dream come true for the actor, who is now enthusiastically promoting the film she’s so proud of – and hoping to meet singer Taylor Swift in the process.
“I haven’t met her yet but, oh my gosh, I hope I get to … I would love to,” she gushes. “When the director told us a top-secret really great artist was lined up to do the song, I said to my agents, ‘I wonder if it’s Taylor Swift?’ I didn’t find out it was her until the day before the trailer was released.”
And while her next move is currently under wraps and yet to be announced, Edgar-Jones is able to reveal who she would love to work with: “[Directors] Greta Gerwig or Wes Anderson would be a dream.”
As for the kind of role she’s keen to take on: “I would love to play someone with a really big character, perhaps someone really mean. The kind of character I can disappear into. Sort of like the female equivalent of Sebastian’s character in Fresh. Now that would be cool.”
No doubt Edgar-Jones will have plenty of offers.
For the full interview, pick up the August issue of marie claire.
Where the Crawdads Sing is in theatres now.