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Daisy Edgar-Jones: ‘Sometimes I think I made all this up’

“My style has changed a lot, actually,” she says. “I’m more in tune with fashion now and aware of the shapes that are in style. I do find it really interesting reading about the different trends.” Being the face of a new Simone Rocha x H&M collection is the next step.

Simone Rocha was a designer she knew about, but hadn’t had a chance to wear. “My cousin Jacqueline, who works in fashion, has been sending me pictures of Simone’s collections for years. So I’d always been a big fan of her work and it was really cool to get the opportunity to wear her clothes.”

Daisy still sounds charmingly in awe of the whole experience, but for Simone, she epitomises much of what she wants her label to be recognised for.

“I am always inspired by strong, talented women,” says Simone, who is known for her poetic, feminine-yet-tough aesthetic. “I love the idea of women of all different kinds, and with all different tastes, enjoying this collection. It was also a great opportunity to work with new people like Daisy. I adored her in Normal People.”

Of course, I want to talk with Daisy about Marianne, but is she a bit bored of all that now? If she is, she’s an even better actor than we all thought, because she does seem genuinely to light up at the chance to discuss the character who, for now, defines her.

Daisy wears Simone Rocha x H&M white shirt, black sequin crop top, skirt, bows and hair clips.

Daisy wears Simone Rocha x H&M white shirt, black sequin crop top, skirt, bows and hair clips. Credit:Courtesy of H&M

“It’s been lovely to see that audiences do crave simple stories from time to time, just of love and relationships, and how moved we can be by those types of stories. Half the time, I think, ‘Have I just made this up? Have I fabricated it in my mind?’ ” she says of the Normal People mania that swept the world.

“But then the interactions I’ve had, when I can, have been so lovely. I’m happy to talk about that book for the rest of my life.”

A lot of the appreciation Daisy now has for clothes seems to have come from how her costumes helped her to play Marianne through the different stages of her life, from Sligo schoolgirl to Trinity scholar.

“I remember every day coming in and having fittings with Lorna, our costume designer, and just saying, ‘How did you think of this? You’re a genius.’ When I read the book, I was thinking, ‘How on earth will you dress these characters?’

“They’re timeless – Marianne doesn’t go along with the trends at all. She has her own very specific style, which says a lot about where she is.” And like everyone else, it was the Italy looks Daisy loved the most (“I mean, I got to do three outfit changes in one day!”).

Marianne’s fringe also became a talking point. There is an Instagram account dedicated to it (@mariannesbangs) and countless online guides to getting the look.

Today, there’s no sign of the famous fringe and it’s clipped back with some of the sparkly crystal slides that feature in the Simone Rocha x H&M collection. “I’m growing it out, just to mix it up. I’m going through a bit of a change.”

Daisy’s normality extends to the way she thinks about style. She must have been offered endless designer freebies over the past few months, but her biggest fashion takeaway this year has been learning to wear what she already owns in new ways.

“There isn’t much need at the minute to buy a load of clothes because I’m not going out very much,” she says. “It’s been a nice challenge getting old pieces and trying to mix and match.”

The most treasured item in her wardrobe? “A Miu Miu shirt that my mum found in a charity shop
years ago.”

It may not be for much longer that Daisy is synonymous only with Normal People. She’s excited to be filming Fresh, described as a “social thriller”, for the next few months.

“I can’t say much, but it’s so different to anything I’ve done before. It’s a wild, scary, fun, interesting script. It’s using that genre to really say something. The director [Mimi Cave] is a really cool lady with an amazing imagination, so I’m excited to step into her world.”

Then in the spring, she will begin work on Where the Crawdads Sing, the film version of Delia Owens’s novel, which has spent two years on The New York Times bestseller list. Reese Witherspoon bought the film rights last summer, calling it a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to bring the world of “marsh girl” Kya Clark to life.

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How does it feel to be playing another role that will already mean so much to so many people? “I just feel so privileged, because I love reading,” says Daisy. “I used to read so much as a teenager, and I’d be so devastated at the end of books to say goodbye to this world and character. So now, in my adult life, I feel so lucky that I can read these books and fall in love with the world and the character, then get to spend months with them stepping into that world, developing it even further.

“It’s a great team of women and a brilliant story of a strong female character who is so complex and so fragile and interesting and strong. I’m just very excited to realise Kya as best I can.”

With the awards season just around the corner and a host of new projects to tackle, it feels like Daisy’s rise has only just begun.

The Simone Rocha x H&M collaboration goes online on March 11.

This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale March 7. To read more from Sunday Life, visit The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Stella Magazine, The Sunday Telegraph (UK)

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