Alicia Vikander: ‘It’s not 2 different things being male & female, it’s a big spectrum’


Alicia Vikander covers the new issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK. I actually like this photoshoot a lot – it’s one of the best editorials I’ve seen with Alicia all year. I think she’s a very pretty woman, but in editorials… I don’t know, usually there’s something lacking? But this cover is really pretty. Vikander is getting tons of buzz for The Danish Girl, and she’s pretty much guaranteed an Oscar nomination, although it will be interesting to see if she’s deemed a lead actress or supporting. She chatted about still feeling like a “newbie” in Hollywood and much more (note: I’m including some quotes from an interview she did with Gold Derby too).

She studied at the Royal Swedish Ballet School until she was 18: “I think I knew deep down that I wouldn’t be able to dance until [I was] thirtysomething. I still have a really bad back … but it wasn’t just that. First of all, I don’t think I wanted to live my life as a dancer. It’s hard, and I realised I really loved to dance and be on stage, but it’s also three, four hours of training every day to do that, to be on that level. I could sometimes be a bit sad, and I was quite hard on myself and jealous emotionally of some of the girls who I saw just loved it. Even though we danced seven hours a day, six days a week, they were like, ‘Oh, we can come at 4.30am to school just to do a little extra stretching on my foot.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know if I…’ I don’t have it.”

Joining the ranks of Hollywood: She says she still feels “very much like a newbie.”

She lives in London now: “I think I was really scared the first year of losing friends and contacts and life, mixed with being extremely excited to go away. And then it was quite lonely sometimes … but it’s great now.”

Thinking about gender: “I don’t think I’ve ever put so much thought into gender before. It’s been extremely educational. The spectrum of male and female, and what’s what, feels much more fluid nowadays. I have a hard time picking where on that line I’m at.”

The awards season: “It’s awards season. Me coming from Sweden, I really didn’t know that it was a season just two years ago, so it’s been quite a whirlwind. I’m trying to focus on my work and be extremely happy about everything.”

[From the Evening Standard & Gold Derby]

I actually didn’t know she had trained so much as a ballerina. I can see that – she has that slight, athletic ballerina-physique. But yes, just thinking about how much those girls/women have to train just to get a small chance at being a professional ballerina… it’s exhausting. I couldn’t do it. Not that anyone is asking to see my sweet ballet moves. *falls out of chair*

As for gender fluidity… Alicia also chatted with the BBC and she talked about her current view of gender fluidity, saying: “It is not two different things being male and female – it is a big spectrum.”


Photos courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK.

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78 Responses to “Alicia Vikander: ‘It’s not 2 different things being male & female, it’s a big spectrum’”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    It’s a spectrum, but it’s still two different things. Color is a spectrum, but purple isn’t orange.

    • perplexed says:

      I think her comment aligns with the general view of gender not simply being a binary. Maybe she didn’t choose her words in the most specific and articulate way, but I got the impression she was talking about the gender construct as opposed to the biological use of the terms.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      I think she’s promoting a movie about Lili Erbe

    • Locke Lamora says:

      There are people who are gender-neutral, or gender-fluid. It’s not just 2 different things. People can be neither or both.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I know that’s the pet outlook right now, and I don’t have the energy to really argue about it, but physically, unless you have both sets of sex organs, you are either male or female. In others ways, such as self-identity, you can be neither or both. Biologically, she is incorrect. Perplexed is probably right – she was not talking about biology. I guess I just get impatient with this babble from actors.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        There is a difference between sex and gender. I think what you sare talking about is sex, not gender.
        (I might be saying this wrong because English isn’t my first language, but those two are different things in my language)

        There are also disorders, such as Chapelle syndrome, but those are different things.

      • Truthful says:

        @Locke Lamora: totally agree about the difference between sex and gender . Sex is about your organs, gender is about how you identify to the cultural expectation that comes in your culture (having long hair if a girl, pink/ blue, playing with dolls/ firefighter, etc…)

        And I agree with her gender is very fluid, I don’t know were I particularly stand too on that spectrum

      • perplexed says:

        What she said is probably mentioned in university courses, so I don’t think what she’s saying is off the grid or anything. She probably spoke to experts while researching her roles, and some of those experts might have been in academics.

      • Jay says:

        Good Names, you’re the one who is incorrect. The male and female sex organs are derived from the same tissues. When developmental errors occur, people can be born with hybrid genitalia across a spectrum. The un-PC term is hermaphrodite, the PC term is intersex.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Being derived from the same tissue does not not make you the same. And I said myself that the exception would be someone born with both or parts of both sex organs. And I know what hermaphrodite means, as does anyone past the 10 th grade, but thanks for your usual condescension.

        @everyone else
        I agree with the people who said I was confusing sex and gender, and taking it too literally. You are correct.

      • Lucrezia says:

        I think Jay bought up a worthy topic (even if it could’ve been worded better). Even if we look at sex (not gender), it’s not clear-cut as we’re taught in high school. I didn’t know about all the different variations/problems until uni (studying genetics).

        I like the definition on wiki. Biological sex is determined by:
        the number and type of sex chromosomes;
        the type of gonads—ovaries or testicles;
        the sex hormones;
        the internal reproductive anatomy (such as the uterus in females); and
        the external genitalia.

        A bunch of different things can go wrong with any one of those 5 factors. If any of the 5 don’t match, then you’re technically intersex. But you can’t really lump together someone with a genetic disorder (e.g., Klinefelter syndrome where you have XXY genes instead of XX or XY), and someone who’s a traditional hermaphrodite (male and female gonads) and someone with a hormone disorder (Androgen insensitivity syndrome means your body can’t process male hormones, so XY males with this disorder end up looking like extremely feminine females), and someone who’s suffered damage to the external genitalia (like a horrific circumcision accident) and someone who’s had their ovaries/testes removed for cancer.

        There’s no easy rule like “male = anyone with a Y chromosome” or “female = anyone with ovaries” because there are so many exceptions.

    • MC2 says:

      I second what Locke said. Sex is biological (XX or XY) but gender can be fluid. It’s like the Kinsey scale for sexuality- people used to say you were either straight or gay but he shed light that it is fluid. Gender is a construct and means different things to different people (what does it mean to be a woman or man?). I don’t think it’s a pet outlook for her- she just did the Danish Girl which is all about gender constructs & someone who is trans so of course she will be asked these questions & has thought about it. And I don’t think it’s a pet outlook right now for others too- it’s a social conversation that has been around for a long time but currently is picking up major steam.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yes, as I said above, I was confusing sex and gender. My mistake.

      • Jack K says:

        @goodnamesalltaken your previous comments were incredibly insulting to me as a trans man. Please don’t talk down to someone when you make a mistake as simple as confusing gender and sex. You’re lucky you don’t have to deal with the misunderstanding and flat out refusal to believe in gender identity issues on a day-to-day basis.

      • MC2 says:

        I just want to put out there that I appreciate this conversation! I think having open dialogue about this subject is how we learn from each other & get different viewpoints. As I said above it’s a social (and very personal, day to day life for some) conversation that I am so glad we are having. I think an open dialogue is the best & only place to start….Just my opinion.

    • Bettyrose says:

      GNAT, Interesting topic. Someone asked me recently if I thought transgender identities were exacerbated by prescribed gender roles, I.e. if personal expressions of gender were accepted regardless of biological gender, would a “transition” be necessary for those who don’t identify with their biological gender. I mean, I personally cannot speak to that, but now I wonder the same thing.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        Yes, I wonder the same.

      • MC2 says:

        I’m sorry but that is a silly question and I’m calling it out. That is not an interesting train of thought. People should never put “transition” in parentheses- it’s seriously so rude that I am shocked. Nice for you to wonder about such things……..

      • Lucrezia says:

        I don’t think it’s a silly question.

        But I think the answer is pretty obviously going to be “there’d still be transition”. Look at the way things are now, it should be pretty clear that “what society thinks” isn’t the whole story. Some people who easily “pass” without surgery still have surgery, and there are those who don’t even try to pass (and present as genderqueer). Obviously something else is going on.

        The key is that there are several elements that lead to transition: body dysmorphia (does your body feel wrong), social/cultural gender dysmorphia (do you care about whether others see you as male/female), and sexual fantasy (is the idea of having breasts/penis a huge part of your sexual imagery).

        A genderless society would prevent feelings of social gender dysmorphia (and sexism!), but it’s not going to do anything to help those who literally hate their penis or those who have their sexual arousal tied up in the idea of having breasts.

        I do think that as genderfluid/genderqueer/partial-transition options become more accepted, some of those who’d previously have fully transitioned might only partially transition. But, on the flip-side, some of those who didn’t transition because they thought it was all or nothing will choose to partially transition.

    • PJ says:

      YES @goodnamesalltaken. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

  2. Sarah01 says:

    I like her, she’s ambitious and is willing to go for it. Her performances are not over the top but subtle and elegant maybe training to be a ballerina helped in that regard.

  3. GlimmerBunny says:

    Yay Alicia I love her! I recently watched her first major Swedish movie “Till det som är vackert” for the first time and she was so incredibly good in it. I highly recommend it to anyone who says she isn’t a good actress.

  4. kat says:

    I wonder if we’ll ever discover how humans reproduce?

    • Lilacflowers says:

      I believe that is one of the topics Jaden Smith will prophesize about in his book on mystical string theory.

  5. Jay says:

    I just see dead eyes in these pics. I’ve always found her lacking charisma in the few things I’ve seen her in.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      Yeah, I agree with you. I haven’t seen her in The Danish Girl, but in other movies I have seen I wasn’t impressed. Maybe she’s better in her native language, like Penelope Cruz whom I also find lacking in English-speaking parts.

      I find the editorial bland. She looks like someone who could pull off stronger stlyling.

    • McLori says:

      I find she always gives a just got laid expression is pictorials.

    • IKnowwhatboyslike says:

      Thank you!!! I think she’s pretty. But as far as charisma, I find her to be so lackluster. She has dead eyes and in my opinion, gave a dead performance in A Royal Affair. I just don’t see why she should be a star. Maybe she stepped it up a notch in The Danish Girl.

    • Farhi says:

      Her performance is subtle, as the other person said.
      She has strong onscreen presence, not overpowering , more subdued but it is definitely there.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        See, I don’t see that. Someone like Carey Mulligan has a subtle screen presence, Alicia is just boring.

  6. Hazel says:

    I wonder if her move to London is due to Fassbender who lives there?

    • Leah says:

      I don’t think so. She gets cast in mostly english movies. Noomi Rapace moved to London too after her international career took off. i think its where they go if they don’t want to move to Hollywood.

    • Sara says:

      Nope she moved to London last year before she was even cast in that movie with Fassbender.

  7. MP says:

    I love the headline: “This year’s girl”
    Very honest. Every year there’s a different IT- girl and who knows what happens when your year is up.

    • Minxx says:

      Remember when Gretchen Moll was on the cover of “Vanity Fair” as the newest “it” girl? Cautionary tale for those who associate with HW.

    • NUTBALLS says:

      Remember when Lizzy Olsen was that year’s IT girl? She hasn’t worked in 6 months and has nothing coming up. It’s such a fickle industry, hence why I said above that I’d like to see Alicia win a well-deserved Oscar in a few years’ time, as others who’ve been around longer (and are arguably more deserving) should be recognized first.

  8. vauvert says:

    Very subjective opinion since I do t think I have ever seen her in any movie (if I did she was obviously forgettable). She just annoys me. Not sure if it is her weird statements (male and female on the spectrum? Who are you talking to, Jaden “philosopher” Smith?) or her bland look or her visible thirst… But she comes across as needy, pseudo-intellectual and not particularly smart. I also do not understand why and how you get to the point of training for basket seven hours a day if you don’t really love it. Wouldn’t you realize it a bit sooner?
    Btw, I do not equate ambition with thirst. I believe anyone trying to make it in HW is ambitious – this is such a competitive, cut throat field, I automatically assume if you are trying to be a professional actor, you are ambitious, period. Thirst for fame via pap strolls, relationships, goofy statements, etc is a different beast. I don’t see Amy Adams, for example, doing that, she just works, does her part of promotion when a movie comes out and the rest of the time stays out of it.

    • perplexed says:

      Her comment about gender didn’t sound anything as weird as what Jaden Smith said. I don’t get why that comment would be singled out as stupid.

    • Lotta says:

      “I also do not understand why and how you get to the point of training for basket seven hours a day if you don’t really love it. Wouldn’t you realize it a bit sooner?”

      She applied and got into the Royal Ballet School in Stockholm when she was nine. Maybe she really wanted to be a ballet dancer at that point (or/and maybe her parents pushed her), and as she grew up she realized it was not for her. I have a friend who went to the same school and the kids are really pushed to practise the whole time. At night, if you’re are one of the lucky ones, you often work dancing in the Opera house. This kids have to give up a lot and not all of them will make it as dancers even though the work really hard for it. You have to commit 100%.

  9. Allie says:

    She looks reallllly pretty in these pictures but I just find her so boring. I also feel like the press is trying to push her down our throats calling her the next big thing, but it’s just not working. At least not in America. I only know who she is because of this site.

  10. Minxx says:

    She’s as exciting as a wet towel. I’m sorry, I’ve seen her now in three movies, she has no presence whatsoever. Empty eyes, open mouth, starved body. Someone’s pushing this girl hard whereas someone as charismatic as Elisabeth Debicki (stole every scene in U.N.C.L.E.) doesn’t get any support.

    • Lilacflowers says:

      Elizabeth stole her scenes in Gatsby and Everest too. She should get a nice showcase in The Night Manager.

    • Renee28 says:

      Elizabeth is so talented and I wish Hollywood would hype her up like they do Alicia and some of these other actresses. I do wonder if her height holds her back.

      • Lilacflowers says:

        I suspect it does. Many actors are not as tall as they list themselves (RDJ, Cruise, Depp, JGL and on and on and on) and their egos must be protected. Her height wasn’t a problem for casting for TNM

  11. Farhi says:

    Her statement is in line with the latest research. I read it in the Guardian just 2 days ago – “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus? New brain study says not” . Men and women brains were analyzed is a lot of overlap, the gender is not a predictor of sexuality or sexual behavior or reactions.

    “Sex affects the brain but how it affects the brain depends on other factors. The effects of sex can be different and even opposite under different conditions. This is why you can be highly masculine on one feature but highly feminine on another feature,”

  12. Kiki says:

    I want to warm up to her, but I just can’t. I think what is don’t really like about is the same thing I said about Lupita N’yongo, that see both privilege and entitled, but what they should have is sense of greatful ness. I am sure Lupita is a sweet and gracious person, but she needs to realize if rumors are true, she need to get off her high horse and focuse on making herself more famous by working as hard as she could. As for Alicia Vikander, she just needs to lighten up and not take herself so serious. This Industry in Hollywood is a shameful place, and it will drive you crazy if you take things with a grain of salt. Just be greatful fro what you have so far, and people will love you for that.

  13. bobslaw says:

    This may sound strange, but one of the things I find most refreshing about Alicia is that she doesn’t wear hair extensions. Her hair is a natural mid-brown, naturally thin and fine, and she rocks it. No clip ins, just her hair. That’s pretty rare, especially for cover shoots for major publications like Bazaar.

    • Renee says:

      As do most actreses, she does. Those are extensions in the back. Her hair is much shorter than pictured.

      • bobslaw says:

        I learn something new every day! Damn. She made me feel a bit better about my post-partum hair loss.

  14. Moon says:

    Finally, an interview where her PR isn’t hyping her as ‘NEXT BIG THING AMAZING ACTRESS SAVING HOLLYWOOD’. I exaggerate, but you get the gist. I personally find her very fake and calculated, and while an expressive beautiful actress, makes boring acting choices and forces herself to emote. So I think she’s very overhyped and annoying. But I’m glad to see she’s stepped up her PR game and toned things down. She’s learning.

  15. mj says:

    I don’t see what is so off-putting or strange about her non-binary gender thoughts. Have we not critically evolved enough to see that there need not be two genders, and that it is a construct? If you feel you fall on either side, good on you. I personally think gender is a complicated, fluid thing.

  16. Lemony Snicket says:

    Why is she only doing a few print interviews to promote this movie? It’s Oscar bait, she is the lead actor in it, Weinstein is shopping her as a nominee, it opens wide in the US like this week and yet all she’s done is attend two screenings with a sour face, talk to a few of these print pubs and crawl into a hole to do nothing. What is the point.

  17. Trixie says:

    Look, I’m sorry, but no. There is a very clear distinction between male and female. One has an XY chromosome and the other has an XX chromosome. Masculine and feminine, sure. And it is now possible to alter your genitalia. And I understand feeling like you were born I the wrong body. But there is a very clear biological distinction between male and female that we have not found a way to alter.

    • Ana A. says:

      Actually you are wrong. That is only the easiest and most common determinator. Yet there are people who have XX but are male and have male genitals and XY but are female with female genitals. Without any operations or hormone therapy. Look up intersex. It is a combination of genes and proteins in our development that give us male or female genitals. It most often works according to the chromosomes, but not always. It is a highly complicated process and it can differ from what the XX or XY say. Sometimes the process gets interrupted or genes are activated that should be silenced. Intersex do exist and they are real. Others have XXX or XXY (Klinefelter or Turner). And that’s just genetics. It is far more complicated.

      Talking about a spectrum is far more accurate.

    • perplexed says:

      But doesn’t that refer to “sex” as opposed to “gender”? She specifically used the word “gender”.

  18. Me says:

    Sorry but i don’t share her views at all

  19. Kitten says:

    I actually liked this interview with her and I daresay she might be growing on me?

    What she said about ballet training–man, I so get it. I felt like that in college. For my whole life I was always the art chick–it was what I excelled at as well as my passion. But when I got to college and was surrounded by people who were equally (if not more so) as talented, I started to realize that the ones who got progressively better and more polished as illustrators are the ones who were willing to pull all-nighters in their studio, and the ones who lived and breathed art and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. It was a kind of dedication and passion that I didn’t realize that I lacked, until I was surrounded by it.

    Regarding her other comments…eh, I kind of like that younger people are exploring and dissecting what gender means. I might be a bit too old to fully get on-board but I find the discussion interesting nevertheless.

  20. Angie says:

    I don’t think she’s gotten a lot of “hype” or publicity this year at all. There have been some covers and interviews but this is not at the level of Lupita’s take over or Jennifer Lawrence’s huge campaign that began as soon as Silver Linings came out in 2012.

    Alicia said she would be a household name by now but most people can’t even associate her with a film they’ve seen. She is uninspired, bland and I think she was expecting to a lot more attention- which isn’t happening.

    I’ve seen her in some films and she is the least commanding on screen. Someone here said she has a strong presence on screen? No way, more like forgettable and lackluster.

    • Moon says:

      I didn’t mind her in the travesty that was Anna Karenina. I found her acting choices uninspired and literal but she wasn’t painful to watch, unlike Aaron TJ and Kiera, who I normally love.

      I think they’ve scaled down promotion on her because the Danish girl hasn’t been the critical hit it needs to be. And she hasn’t hit it off with the public. Most men don’t mind her and most women dislike her. JLaw and Lupita have huge female followings, which gave them a boost. Oscar campaigning costs money (that bought variety op-Ed on Alicia in TDG must’ve cost something cash or otherwise) and studios place their bets on those with the highest likelihood. Whatever it is I hope this girl fades away, she strikes me as fake and hungry. I’d much rather see someone like saorise Ronan or brie Larson getting roles for young women in Hollywood.

      • pea says:

        (that bought variety op-Ed on Alicia in TDG must’ve cost something cash or otherwise)
        Not true.I follow Guy Lodge on twitter and he has been gushing over her since the VFF.

  21. Josefina says:

    I like Alicia a lot. She seems smart, nice, and confident. Watched Ex-Machina the other day and she absolutely nailed the part. People always complain about young actresses being stupid and untalented – well, not this one. She’s a trained actor and very, very good at it. She’s ambitious and I love it. Hope her career goes places.

  22. Dangles says:

    “she’s pretty much guaranteed an Oscar nomination”

    So? I thought we’d established that the Oscars were BS.

  23. anon says:

    Jeez, she’s trying to say something clever so bad. Relax, girl. She’s not a great actress, she’s not very likeable and to be honest she’s not that pretty, she’s average. I really can’t understand why and who is pushing this girl so much in the film industry. I’ve seen everything she’s in because I’m cinephile. She’s better in swedish/danish films but still not great (she may have a nod this year but we all know the Oscars are full of shit). She has the charisma of a wooden stick. To conclude, I think that if her and her team weren’t trying so hard she wouldn’t be so annoying

  24. Naddie says:

    I see a prettier Carey Mullingan.