DAILY NEWS – As long as the Force is with her, Daisy Ridley is going to wield her celebrity like a lightsaber.
The British actress downplays her position as a role model for tween and teen girls after having been launched into a whole new stratosphere of stardom as Rey in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” But when she receives photos of girls (and the occasional boy) showing their love by dressing up like her character, the adulation proves harder to ignore.
“J.J. Abrams emailed me a couple days ago and said he just met a guy who named his daughter Rey,” Ridley told the Daily News. “That was a big moment for me.”
That hero worship should be directed elsewhere, she insists, towards someone like 15-year-old Aisholpan, the subject of the brand new documentary, “The Eagle Huntress,” that Ridley narrated and co-produced after viewing footage from director Otto Bell.
Two years ago, the Mongolian teen became the first female eagle hunter in the history of the mountain region where her family has practiced the craft for 12 generations.
Aisholpan proved that a girl who scaled the side of a cliff to capture an eaglet could also withstand the prejudice of elders who crow that hunting with eagles is only for men. She even won Mongolia’s prestigious eagle festival … on her first try.
“She’s far more bad-ass than Rey,” Ridley told the Daily News. “She’s actually living this life, whereas I was living a fake life.”
Aisholpan didn’t really know who Ridley was until recently — there are no movie theaters back home and she finally caught “Star Wars” on DVD at her school.
“It is very interesting to see people from a movie in real life,” she says of Ridley through a translator.
Since “The Eagle Huntress” was filmed in 2014, two other girls have been inspired to enter the competition.
“At the time I was just worried about training my eagle,” Ashlopan said in Mongolian. “I didn’t realize I would be an inspiration for other children in the world.”
“Right now, I’m realizing that its getting bigger,” she added.
Buoyed by the $2 billion success of “The Force Awakens” at the box office, Ridley feels her influence in the business getting bigger too. She’s set to star as the titular noblewoman in “Ophelia,” a reimagining of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” from the point of view of the female lead.
She’s hoping she’ll keep getting offers that inspire and empower.
“There was a lot of stuff I read for when I was starting out that was to play the prostitute or the bad girl,” she said.
“But since ‘Star Wars’ happened, the scripts I’m reading are amazing. There was one recently to play the girlfriend — and that was odd because it was such an anomaly.”
That one she turned down.