“I live out in the middle of nowhere by a graveyard,” the Irish actress told Den of Geek at NYCC. “I used to hang out in it as a kid all the time. I’ve always been into creepy stuff.”
That quality time in the graveyard paid dividends for Codd when portraying the surly, sarcastic, and spooky Anya on The Midnight Club. Based on the young adult horror novels of Christopher Pike (including one of the same name), The Midnight Club is set in the early ’90s at the fictional Brightcliffe Hospice: a home for terminally ill teens looking to spend their remaining days out in reasonable comfort and with good friends.
Together, the eight youthful residents of Brightcliffe carry on the tradition of “The Midnight Club” in which they gather in the library at midnight to tell scary stories. Additionally, members of the club make a vow to reach out beyond the veil of death to give their living friends a sign of the afterlife once they’re gone.
“They’re so much more than their diagnosis,” Codd says. “The emphasis is on their character and their story. Even though they’re going through this horrendous thing, they all have each other.”
Each member of the titular club comes with their own unique story and perspective. Even in a diverse cast of distinct personalities, however, it is Codd’s Anya who stands out. An amputee with a self-destructive past, Anya becomes the beating heart of the group and lends her name to the show’s affecting seventh episode “Anya.” Despite shouldering much of the show’s emotional burden, The Midnight Club is actually Ruth Codd’s is first ever acting job.
“Casting was harrowing on this,” creator Mike Flanagan told TV Line and other press. “Anya was a really hard part to cast. She’s written to be an amputee in the book, and we really wanted an actor who was [too].”
A makeup artist and barber by trade, Codd came to prominence through her popular Tik Tok account, which amassed more than 600,000 followers before she deleted it upon getting cast in The Midnight Club.
“Well, [my popularity] kind of happened by accident, and it did pretty much happen overnight,” Codd told Teen Vogue. “I started it after being laid off as a barber because of COVID. I really enjoyed it, but when it started becoming more like a job, I was like, ‘Life’s too short. You don’t have to do it.’ I really admire people that can come up with content like every single day, but I just didn’t enjoy it anymore. So, I stopped doing it. But I’m so grateful because it got me to where I am now. I’ll always be grateful for the following I had on social media.”
Per Codd’s Teen Vogue interview, she elected to have her right leg amputated below the right knee at age 23 due to complications from breaking her foot at age 15. She used her Tik Tok account to advocate for disability awareness, particularly for amputees. Now with her role in The Midnight Club, Codd has become another success story for casting representative and authentic actors for marginalized roles.
The experience has proven so successful, in fact, that Flanagan has tapped Codd to appear in his next, and arguably biggest, Netflix spooky: The Fall of the House of Usher. It is unknown who the actress will be portraying in the epic adaptation of the works of Edgar Alan Poe, but here’s hoping that sardonic Irish accent remains intact.
All 10 episodes of The Midnight Club are available to stream on Netflix now.