Kaya Rose Humphrey was born on March 13, 1992 in Holloway, London, England. She was raised by her Brazilian mother in a council flat after her father left when she was one. She adopted her mother’s maiden name, Scodelario, and became fluent in Portuguese. Growing up, Scodelario was bullied at school about her dyslexia, frizzy hair, and petite frame. Acting became an outlet for her, where she gained confidence and she soon became passionate about the art. She then decided to pursue roles after playing the lead in her school’s production of Oliver.
At the age of 14, Scodelario auditioned for a new E4 TV series called Skins. In order to get herself noticed, she claimed she was 16 on the forms, and asked the director for a light. The role originally went to another actress, but when she dropped out, Scodelario stepped in. She was cast as Effy Stonem, the younger sister of the show’s lead, Tony. The role grew over the years, from an almost-mute to queen bee, as the show decided to focus on Effy and her friends for series three and four. Effy was the only character to be featured in the first four seasons and Scodelario became one of the biggest breakouts of the series.
After Skins, she filmed small supporting roles in Moon, Shank, and Clash of the Titans. She has appeared in music videos for British musicians Plan B, The Ruskins, and Robbie Williams. Scodelario also had a short stint at Models 1 modeling agency, but still continues to receive modeling jobs in order to promote her projects.
Her big feature film debut came when Andrea Arnold cast her as Catherine Earnshaw in a new rendition of Wuthering Heights. Though Scodelario did not believe she was one for period drama, she was attracted to the role because of Arnold’s unconventional approach to the story. “I think a lot of people assume that ‘Wuthering Heights’ is this great love story, but I think the first thing [Arnold] said to me that it wasn’t, it’s very dark, deep and conflicting. It’s very kind of Gothic and a bit fucked up to be honest,” (WWD, 2011). The film played at several film festivals around the globe and was praised for its cinematography, art direction, and its use of natural sound. Scodelario was raved for her performance, and the role has opened more doors for her since then.
In 2011, Scodelario filmed roles for Twenty8k, Now Is Good, and a new improvisational TV series, True Love. She then filmed her first American feature in January 2012 called The Truth About Emanuel, where she plays the title role, and was buzzed as a ‘Sundance darling’ when it premiered at the 2013 festival. Soon after, she participated in her first ad campaign with popular Korean jewelry brand, J.Estina, filmed BBC drama Southcliffe, and reprised her iconic role as Effy Stonem, for Skins Fire.
2013 brought in many new aspects to her career. Scodelario decided to try her hand at a franchise, and scored the female lead of Teresa in The Maze Runner, based upon the popular YA series by James Dashner. She also completed a fashion film, Walking Stories, for Salvatore Ferragamo, and joined the cast of 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala, a fundraiser for the Old Vic theatre. Next up, Scodelario will film home-invasion thriller, Tiger House, in Cape Town, South Africa, in the new year. Furthermore, she is attached to Stay With Me and Invisible, which are both currently in-development.
She has stated that she loves being apart of a new generation of actors who are not professionally trained and have more of an edge. Scodelario’s heart currently resides in independent film, as it provides her with more of a learning experience, but would only consider Hollywood with the right role. “I don’t think that I could ever play just a ‘pretty girlfriend’ or just a stereotypical female part that’s just there to get her tits out – that just doesn’t interest me at all, really. I just want to keep pushing myself with every role and keep pushing myself with every film,” she says (Topman, 2013).
Amongst her hobbies, Scodelario enjoys watching her favourite bands in concert, such as the Rolling Stones and Arctic Monkeys. She has a fun, lovable crush on Austrian actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and even named her french bulldog, ‘Arnie’, after him. Scodelario is also a generous individual, and enjoys working with a few charities, most recently, Let’s Get Talking. LGT is a charity which encourages open discussion for teens to raise awareness of health and crime prevention amongst our youth.
Written by Tayna and Dajely, exclusively for Kaya Scodelario Web, 2012-2013.