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Olivia Colman: I have always used clothes as a sort of mask

Olivia Colman with her Oscar for Best Actress attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Ian West/PA)
Olivia Colman with her Oscar for Best Actress attending the Vanity Fair Oscar Party (Ian West/PA)

Olivia Colman has told how she used fashion to overcome her crippling fear of the limelight.

The Oscar-winning actress, 45, admitted she struggled with success and found walking the red carpet embarrassing.

However, she said she discovered she could use clothes to make her feel “strong and powerful” in front of members of the public and press.

Colman, known for roles in TV shows Peep Show, Fleabag and Broadchurch and films The Iron Lady and The Favourite, graces the cover of Vogue’s October issue.

She told the magazine that she experienced a “breakthrough” while wearing a flowing cape to the Venice Film Festival.

She said: “A lot of people take on a pretend persona, but I’m crippled by it. I feel embarrassed.

“A breakthrough for me was at the Venice Film Festival, wearing Stella McCartney.

Up Next Gala – London
Olivia Colman and her husband Ed Sinclair (Ian West/PA)

“I felt, I can do this, I can do this. I’d always used clothes as a sort of mask. I discovered that they can make you feel strong and powerful.”

The actress, who is taking over from Claire Foy in the role of Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix series The Crown, also said she had struggled with her confidence as a young woman

She said: “I look up pictures of myself as a teenager, and I think I was gorgeous. But I didn’t feel that.

“All those little comments through those precious years can have long-lasting negative effects.

“You see images of a perfect person and say: ‘I can never be that’.”

“Over the years, pounds have gone on, and my body has changed; I’ve had children.

“If someone doesn’t like me because of the size of my bum, they can f*** off. Because I’m quite a nice person to be with, actually.”

She added: “Once I was in a steam room and there were these two women, big women, who sat there, hot and sweaty, so beautiful — I felt like they were almost goddesses.

“I want that confidence.”

The full interview is available online now.

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