Wednesday 20 February 2019

Jodie Whittaker: I was told to change the way I look when I started acting

The Doctor Who actress said she is glad she did not make a hasty decision when she was young.

Jodie Whittaker (Matt Crossick/PA)
Jodie Whittaker (Matt Crossick/PA)

By Laura Harding, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Jodie Whittaker has said she was asked to change her appearance, including filling out a line on her forehead, when she was starting out in her acting career.

The Doctor Who star said she is grateful she was not impressionable when she was younger so did not make a decision she might have come to regret.

Talking about her “deep frown line” on David Tennant’s podcast, Whittaker said: “I wouldn’t change it for the world and there are a lot of episodes where you’re squinting and I think if I didn’t have that frown line you wouldn’t know it was sunny.”

Asked if she would ever do anything about it, she replied: “Would I heck! It’s not even vanity and I’m too young.

“I also think it’s an undeniable pressure on humanity at the moment to look your best a lot of the time and I’m lucky that my journey through the world of acting has been about screwing my face up and nagging my eyes out.

“It wasn’t about being the ingenue; there wasn’t that pressure to look a certain way.

“It has been asked though. There were certainly times when I was younger that in certain scenarios there were suggestions that ‘potentially you might want to think about certain stuff’, and it fascinates me.

“I think I was doing a camera test for something and – I will say something, because I can’t be arsed with the repercussions of what it was – and someone said (of her forehead line) ‘It is very deep’.”

She continued: “I don’t care, but I think ‘Thank f*** I wasn’t really impressionable. No, no I’m alright, thanks.

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Jodie Whittaker at the Venus premiere in 2006 (Ian West/PA)

“I’ve never been asked to lose weight, maybe because I’ve always been a beanpole but I know that happens.

“I got asked to get my ‘tache waxed and I didn’t know I had one. It was translated to me in Hungarian, it was so funny.

“I said I would probably be allergic to the wax. I said ‘Sorry you will just have to colour it in’.”

Whittaker also said she was discouraged from being an actress by her school careers adviser, but credits her parents for encouraging her to pursue her ambitions.

She said: “My careers adviser at school, whoever that person was who I met for three hours, they said it was a ridiculous notion, in so much as it wasn’t secure. Nine out of 10 don’t make it.

“But I’m 15, shut up! I went home and my mum was furious.”

She added: “I was brought up totally gender neutral without it being a thing, I was brought up in quite a masculine house and without realising it.

“We credit women by complimenting them by telling them they are like boys which always fascinates me: ‘ah I really like her, she’s cool, she’s a tomboy’.

“No, she’s a girl, she’s still a girl. I was very much in that terminology of ‘you’re a tomboy’, but that was that I was good at sport and was perpetually lanky and I was physically able to do stuff.”

David Tennant Does A Podcast With…, starring Jodie Whittaker is available on streaming services including Acast.

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