The countdown is on for the holiday release of Star Wars: Episode VII–The Force Awakens on December 18th. So far, J.J. Abrams and squad have dropped two trailers into the ether of the Internet, each one sending fans into a tizzy guessing plot points. The buildup to the film’s debut is also putting more emphasis on the stars, from those returning—like Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher—to the franchise’s newcomers, like John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. But it’s the woman at the center of it all, Daisy Ridley as Rey, who is beginning to capture the hearts of a whole new generation. Her aura is so powerful in the trailers and her spot so prominent on the posters, that many people are falling hard while hardly know anything about her. So just who is the newest resident of this legendary sci-fi universe? Scroll down to get to know Daisy Ridley a little better.
1. She is British.
Ridley was born in London, and grew up in the United Kingdom. She graduated in 2010 from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in Hertfordshire, England (past students include Downton Abbey actresses Jessica Brown Findlay and Lily James.) She acted exclusively there until being cast in the Star Wars saga.
2. She is a quadruple threat: actor, model, singer, and dancer.
Ridley is multi-talented. Not only does she act, but she also sings jazz, dances, and has modeled in various campaigns, including ads for ASOS.
3. Her Instagram became popular almost overnight.
It’s only been about three months since Ridley created her Instagram account, @daisyridley and she’s already popular on the social network. Her account boasts 142K followers and counting after just 12 weeks of activity.
4. She is basically unknown.
Star Wars creator George Lucas has a fondness for unknown names, so it was no surprise that he picked someone unknown to many for this mega part. Before landing this role of a lifetime, the British beauty had guest parts in the television series Silent Witness and Casualty, and acted in short film Blue Season as part of the SCI-FI-LONDON 48 Hour Film Challenge.
5. She was the star of an interactive film.
She played the lead in film three of Lifesaver, an interactive film nominated for a BAFTA British Academy Award, that gives viewers a sense of what it feels like to hold someone else’s life in their hands. Ridley played Jo, a rescuer. Viewers could choose her actions in the film—to save the victim or do nothing.
6. She’s obsessed with #FitnessFridays.
Since the induction of her Instagram account, Ridley has been posting a video showing her fitness routine every Friday. The videos consist mainly of free-weight workouts and body-weight circuits. They’re really intense, but they’re all done under the supervision of her trainer. Follow him at @gravzy12.
7. Performing is in her DNA.
Performing runs in the family. One of her sisters is model Kika-Rose, who is signed with agency Models 1. Her great uncle is Arnold Ridley who played the role of Private Charles Godfrey in the long running British sitcom Dad’s Army.