14 December, Thursday


Star Wars actor Daisy Ridley: social media is bad for mental health

Culture

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The actor Daisy Ridley, who will soon be seen on the big screen when she reprises her role as Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has said social media is “highly unhealthy for people’s mental health”.
 
In an interview with the Radio Times, Ridley described social media as damaging to mental health, especially for teenagers. “It’s such a weird thing for young people to look at distorted images of things they should be,” she said.
 
Ridley has been vocal about quitting social media, and left Instagram last year after a backlash for sharing a post about victims of gun violence.
 
A day after attending that year’s Teen Choice awards, during which Jessica Alba paid tribute to victims of gun violence by having young relatives of shooting victims join her on stage, Ridley posted about how moved she was by the tribute and called for a stop to the violence. While many comments praised her words, others were critical, and soon after, Ridley’s Instagram account disappeared.
 
Speaking more widely about her recent fame, the 25-year-old actor said: “Life suddenly got a bit different. I’m definitely recognised more, but I find the whole taking pictures thing weird. I’d prefer to have a conversation than someone asking for a picture, but I guess people feel the need to prove they have had the interaction through social media.”
 
Ridley said she had refrained from making extravagant purchases with her Star Wars earnings, and described the perks of flying first class for the press tour. “It was awesome. But I’ve travelled home to see my family a couple of times in economy and I’m like: ‘Oh, this is how normal people travel.’ I’d forgotten,” she said.
 
The actor, who dropped out of Birkbeck College, said she hoped to have a degree by 2050, and hinted that she might try her hand behind the camera. “My mum has said to me that I should be a director because I’m so bossy,” she said.
 
She went on to predict that by that time, rising sea levels would force humanity into “living in things built above the rising sea levels and travelling around in hovercrafts”, or into space.
 
Also in the new Radio Times, Mark Hamill, who has played Luke Skywalker since the original Star Wars trilogy, described feeling like he was “in a galaxy, far, far away” when on location at Skellig Michael in Ireland.
 
As a figure from the original films, Hamill said he was adjusting to being around a newer, younger cast. A number of new roles – many of them played by British actors – have been introduced for the third trilogy.
 
Hamill said Rey, one of the new characters, was a feminist figure in the spirit of Leia, from the original films. “Far from a damsel in distress, she took over and started bossing us around, which I thought was effortless feminism.”
 
Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Leia, died last December. The Last Jedi will be her final film.

Guardian

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