actor: lou brealey

“Exposing myself to 75 strangers a night has made me think a lot about what psychologist Susie Orbach calls  “body terror”, the chip in your brain that tells you your body isn’t good enough but if you buy this cream, eat this thing, do this exercise, you can look like Rhianna and you will be happy. The idea that to be beautiful you must have one specific body: poreless skin, endless legs, tits that would get stuck in a champagne glass. […]

"We all know the bleached, waxed, sprayed, toned, sliced, photo-shopped people we see every day aren’t real. It’s not how we are. It’s not how we’re meant to be. It’s rubbish. But it’s insidious rubbish. It’s hard not to want to look, well, better. And, as an actress, I’m part of the problem. Actors are illusionists. We feel like we have to be; we get work based on what we look like. I know which angle I look best at. It’s the angle I present to photographers. It’s the angle I’m presenting in the photo with this piece.

"I don’t want the young women who look up to me because I’m a feminist and I’m in a TV show they love to feel like they somehow fall short. So I should have stood on stage as Helen of Troy, flaws and all, and thumbed my nose at body terror and body fascism. But I couldn’t; I just wasn’t brave enough. […]

"It’s getting easier. I’m not sure if the audience can still see the lines on my legs and the leopard spots on my belly and the dimples on my bottom. But the more times I stand out there, the more normal it feels to be naked and not shy; the closer to Helen’s boldness I come; and the more it doesn’t matter if they can. Maybe at some point I’ll even look down.”

Louise Brealey [x]