Emma Mackey has stolen hearts as the strong, out-spoken, badass, Maeve Wiley on Netflix's hit series 'Sex Education.'
Emma Mackey has stolen hearts as the strong, out-spoken, badass, Maeve Wiley on Netflix's hit series Sex Education. Despite the third season of the teen drama creating quite a buzz, Mackey's future with the show seems uncertain. Her role as Maeve earned her first BAFTA Television Award nomination for Best Female Comedy Performance. But this is only the beginning of the journey for the 25-year-old who is now making strides in her acting career. She is set to star in more films in the future and has expressed her excitement to be able to portray many more powerful female characters.
This is not the last we will hear about Mackey so here are a few things you may have known about her.
Emma Mackey has a French father and an English mother. She grew up in the rural idyll of Sablé-sur-Sarthe, in northwest France. "It was really… nice," she told Evening Standard. "I went to a Catholic school and did loads of sport and I was really happy. I loved studying and was very bookish. It was quite a sheltered existence." She thought her sense of humor was lost on the people of France and thought she was better suited to life in England. But she admitted to missing the small town she grew up in. Surprisingly, she does not have a French passport but has applied for one since she is planning on moving back.
When she turned 18, Mackey left France and moved to Leeds on her own to pursue a degree in English Language and Literature at Leeds University. It was there that she developed a love for theatre and decided to pursue acting. After uni, she could not afford to live in London by herself and crashed with a friend of hers as a live-in nanny before quitting to start applying to drama school. She then shared a place with a bunch of friends.
After her stint at Leeds University, Mackey applied to drama school but did not get in. "Then I left the nannying job and moved in with some other friends, all the while applying to drama school," she told Vulture. "I didn’t get in, but that whole year, I was also going to acting classes. Going there every week, was my acting education. After that year, I got an agent, started auditioning, and eventually got the job six months after getting the agent."
As the writers got to know Mackey better, they started to incorporate more of her characteristics in Maeve. "It felt really familiar," she said of her role, speaking to Stylist. "Her lip bites, her smiles, those idiosyncrasies which were mine are now hers. And this time around we find out so much more about Maeve, it gets quite dark but there was so much to get my teeth into."
The show deals with topics that have been taboo for the longest time and amplifies the message of sex positivity. Mackey feared that her grandparents would not like it but was delighted that they actually enjoyed it. She said, "I think a lot of people feel that way about the show, from what I’ve heard. My grandparents actually said they wished they had a show like this 50 years ago. My grandma literally said that her sex education at a girls’ grammar school in the ’40s and ’50s was rabbits reproducing. Can you imagine? We’ve come a long way since pictures of reproducing rabbits."
For Mackey, staying grounded is important. She has a close-knit group of friends from uni and enjoys her alone time. "I think most actors are massive loners, it’s just easier sometimes to be on your own," she told Grazia. She dislikes the invasion of her privacy and would rather have a conversation with someone who recognizes her than have their phone shoved in her face. "It’s like you belong to people, the image of you and your character belongs to them because you’re there in so many homes all of a sudden," she said.
Even though she is spare about the details of her personal life, she has revealed that she has been subject to sexual assault, which was why the way Sex Education portrayed Aimee's assault on the show meant a lot to her. Without revealing too many details she told The Independent, "Stuff has happened to me,” she says. “You know, it’s when people are taking advantage of small spaces... I rarely go out to clubs but every time I’ve been to a gig there’s always been something, or it’s happened around me. It’s, unfortunately, a really common thing, so to me, this was one of the most moving and important storylines.”
The actor revealed that she has now opted for a vegan lifestyle. In her interview about traveling around the world with Condé Nast Traveller, she praised a restaurant in Paris called Le Grand Bain saying it is one of her favorite spots. "I’m vegan now, so I need to return and see if there are any options for me, but it serves great vegetarian food. It’s French tapas – seasonal, local and fresh – with natural, organic wines and a lovely atmosphere."
Mackey has hinted at the possibility of not returning to Sex Education if there is another season but she already has a great lineup of work to keep her busy. She is already set to star alongside Gal Gadot in Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile, based on the Agatha Christie novel and sequel to Murder on the Orient Express. She is also starring in the period film Emily, in which she plays Victorian novelist Emily Brontë. She has also acted in her first French film Eiffel which is now in post-production.
While she is all set to have a successful acting career, she also has her ambitions set high. “I think I’m probably more of a director than an actor, in some part of me,” she told The Guardian. “I’d probably quite enjoy directing because I’d see the whole thing through, as opposed to just popping in for two months, getting to do a bit of acting, then off, poof, it’s not mine anymore. So I am thinking of directing, just not right now. I’ve never written anything either. But I’ve got ideas. When the time’s right they’ll happen, and I’ll just trust in that, I think.”