I am passionate. I’m passionate about everything - people, art, politics, life in general. People find passion embarrassing. It’s more acceptable, generally, to be amusing.
Bel is a sort of fantasy. There’s no way she would have been in that position - producing her own show - at my age (30). She would have been there for a very long time and in a very lowly position before she was given that kind of opportunity. But it’s drama and Bel’s a great character. So I’m not complaining.
I find it strange when women get nostalgic for that era (the 1950s). I can see - just about - that we have lost some of what might be called the security of being in the home, but what we’ve gained seems to me so much greater.
I’m a feminist. God,yes! A bra-burning, building-burning feminist. I was brought up with a very strong sense of what can happen if your society starts to chip away at the small victories women have won for themselves. I remember when I was nine, there was a timeline of British history on the wall at school and ‘votes for women’ was about an inch before the end. We’re just a hundred years into having any history of our own and I never forget that.
The really brilliant actors I know, the transformative actors, are endlessly interested in other people. I think that’s what drama is for. Stories - whatever the subject - are important because they teach you to empathise with the feelings of other people. It’s a civilising force.
My weight was a very big issue when I started. Yup, it’s true. I was then - and am now - a very normal size ten. But that’s not acceptable. Everyone’s aware of it. It’s partly because fashion, film and television have become so interdependent. Increasingly it’s actresses doing the big fashion advertising campaigns and now there’s no distinction between actresses and models. There’s no way I could ring up a company that was lending me a red-carpet dress and say “do you have it in a ten?” Because all the press samples are an 8 - I would say a small 8. If you want the profile, you have to lose weight.
It’s difficult because if I refuse to do any magazines at all, my work, I think, would suffer in a very immediate way. But when I appear in these magazines, I know I’m being ‘trimmed’, I’m being airbrushed a lot. And I know that people are accepting those images and are under the impression that that is really how my body looks, that I’m hairless and sexless and weigh 90lbs. That’s really worries me. And I don’t know what to do, except talk about it.
The lure of Hollywood is considerably lessened by the attitudes of US film executives. I was just reading that XX was made to lose 30lbs to play a role. Because the executives said it just wasn’t credible that anyone would want to have sex with him the way he was. I think that is such a profound misreading of what people want out of sex and relationships. And I want no part of that. I wouldn’t want to sit in a room and have someone say to my face, ‘No one is going to want to have sex with you.’ No job is worth that.