Yrsa Daley-Ward does it all. Seriously. As a writer, poet, actress, model and LGBTQ advocate, the multi-hyphenate has attracted admirers from all sides, whether they are looking at her face in photos, hearing her voice at open mics, or reading her delicate words in their hands. She spent a good chunk of her late teens and early 20s modeling for the likes of Apple, Topshop, Estée Lauder and Nike, but she will tell you that deep down, she was always a writer. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Daley-Ward was raised in Chorley, North of England. For a time, she lived with her religiously strict Seventh Day Adventist grandparents, before returning home to her mother and brother. As she grew, her battles with the expectations placed on her as a woman lit a fire of rebellion within her. Writing helped her articulate those unfiltered thoughts.
Her medium slowly blossomed from Instagram, where she would post square snippets of her strung-together words, to Penguin Books, where she re-released her debut collection of poetry. The well-received Bone documents her religious upbringing, sexuality and struggles with mental health. Just months after its 2017 release, she announced that The Terrible, a memoir written in both verse and prose, would arrive in the summer of 2018. This book will center around her childhood in England, losing herself throughout all the “terrible” moments of her adolescence—the damage, pain and fear—and later finding her voice and witnessing the joy.
Aside from this work, Daley-Ward released a collection of short stories called On Snakes and Other Stories in 2013, and has acting credits in the UK TV series Shameless and films David is Dying (SAR Productions), Death Race (Universal Pictures), Gun in London’s Tricycle Theatre and The Cook (C-Films). No matter the medium, Daley-Ward is dead-set on excelling in them all and is a wonder to watch.