Anya Taylor-Joy, the New Indie Queen

Anya Taylor-Joy, the New Indie Queen

Until the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, no one in Hollywood had heard of Anya Taylor-Joy, a wide-eyed teenager from Miami, Florida starring in the low-budget horror movie The Witch. But that was just the beginning of things for the young model-turned-actress. “Everything changed really, really quickly after that movie and it’s continuing to change,” she says. “I went to Sundance and didn’t really go home.”

Now, Taylor-Joy is starring Morgan, a sci-fi film produced by Ridley Scott, and Barry, the Barack Obama biopic that premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and regularly wears brands like Chanel and Gucci. For these reasons, we crowned her the new indie queen in W‘s Royals portfolio, and paired her with actress Elle Fanning, an equally stylish teenage actress who, too, I poised beyond her years.

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Actresses on the Rise

Four Actresses on the Rise, in Minimalist Knits

When she was just 17, Anya Taylor-Joy was faced with a particularly meaningful decision: She could fulfill her childhood dream of appearing on a Disney show, or she could make her lead-role debut in “The Witch,” the puritanical horror film that would eventually launch her to stardom. “I had to be honest with myself, and realized that I’m a lot darker and less bubbly than I thought I would be at this age,” the now-20-year-old says. A former model — she was discovered while walking in London, where she was tailed by a car containing the Storm Model Management founder Sarah Doukas — Taylor-Joy will next star as an at-risk artificial being in the sci-fi thriller “Morgan,” the debut film from Luke Scott, the son of filmmaker Tony Scott. It’s been a rapid ascent, to be sure, made real when Taylor-Joy recently spilled trade secrets with her acting idol, Saoirse Ronan. “That was the first time I thought, ‘I guess I’m officially an actor.’”