Carey Mulligan slams Hollywood beauty pressure and wants women 'to look normal' on screen

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2-min read

Watch: Trailer for Promising Young Woman

Carey Mulligan has criticised beauty standards in Hollywood, which force women to look like “supermodels” in order to get major roles.

The Oscar-nominated star is currently promoting her awards-tipped performance in Emerald Fennell’s revenge thriller Promising Young Woman.

Mulligan portrays a woman with a tragic past who turns her eye of vengeance on to the latent misogyny of “nice guys” who are actually anything but.

Read more: Emma Thompson says sexism stopped her getting roles

The 35-year-old noted in an interview with the New York Times that a mixed review of the movie written in Variety seemed to imply that she “wasn’t hot enough to pull off” the character’s ruse of pretending to be vulnerable and drunk in order to ensnare men.

“We don’t allow women to look normal anymore, or like a real person,” said Mulligan.

Carey Mulligan attends the premiere of "Promising Young Woman" at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
Carey Mulligan attends the premiere of "Promising Young Woman" at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, 2020. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

“Why does every woman who’s ever on screen have to look like a supermodel?

“That has shifted into something where the expectation of beauty and perfection onscreen has gotten completely out of control.

“I just don’t think that’s really what storytelling or acting needs to be about. Things can be beautiful without being perfect.”

Read more: Love Actually child star criticises movie’s sexism

Mulligan has always spoken out against problems with diversity in the film industry, criticising the Oscars voting system earlier this year and pointing out difficulties for mothers working on sets.

She said: “I’ve never, ever been on a set where they have childcare, but I’ve been on lots of sets where lots of people have very young children.”

Carey Mulligan in 'Promising Young Woman'. (Credit: Focus Features/Universal)
Carey Mulligan in 'Promising Young Woman'. (Credit: Focus Features/Universal)

Promising Young Woman premiered at the Sundance Film Festival at the beginning of the year and is attracting considerable Oscars buzz, including for Mulligan in the Best Actress category.

The movie is beginning a gradual global release, having been delayed due to the pandemic, and is due to arrive in UK cinemas from 12 February.

Read more: Mulligan worried she might kill Ralph Fiennes while filming The Dig

Her other upcoming project is Netflix drama The Dig, which tells the story of a major excavation of an Anglo-Saxon site at Sutton Hoo in the 1930s.

The Netflix movie, which also stars Ralph Fiennes, Johnny Flynn and Lily James, will arrive on the streaming service on 29 January.

Watch: Carey Mulligan and Emerald Fennell discuss Me Too and revenge