Jessica Brown Findlay: ‘I’m not going to be a better actor if I’m a size smaller’

I don’t know if this classifies as an admission or a confession but I have never watched Downton Abbey. I cannot for the life of me figure out why because I love the cast, costume dramas, soap operas and stately English manors. That has virtually nothing to do with this post other than my subject is Jessica Brown Findlay who played Lady Sybil Branson on Downtown Abbey. She is also starring in Harlots, which begins tomorrow on Hulu. That one I will definitely be watching. It’s already on my watchlist.

Jessica spoke to The Telegraph recently about an eating disorder she’s had since she was 14. Fortunately, therapy has helped her overcome the disorder but chose to speak about it because when she was suffering, she felt alone in her struggle. Without specifying which disorder she had specifically, Jessica said she wants to reach out not only to start the discussion but to remind people that your size has nothing to do with your abilities.

Jessica Brown Findlay, who is starring in Hulu’s new drama “Harlots,” is opening up about her eating disorder that she’s suffered from since she was a teenager.

“I’ve had an eating disorder since I was 14,” the 27-year-old “Downton Abbey”star told The Daily Telegraph. ”And I think that we can feed certain ideas of what beauty is and what success is, and I just feel there has to come a time where those aren’t the rules anymore, and then we can have a mature conversation about what that is about, and about depression.”

“I felt so alone for so long, and I just hid,” she continued. “And then I started talking and held my head up, and instead of saying ‘sorry’ decided to tell myself that I matter.”

She explained that when she started going to therapy, she realized it was good and healthy to talk about her issues.

“It’s about learning to stand up and say, ‘This is me, and that’s OK,’” she said. “I’m not going to be a better actor if I’m a dress size smaller. It’s nothing to do with my brain.”

[From Fox Entertainment]

I appreciate the way Jessica is going about this, it really doesn’t matter what she suffers from, it’s that she brings light to the ED umbrella to destigmatize it. EDs abound much more than is understood. They are still spoken about in hushed tones. And men bury theirs even more than women. It is because they are so easy to hide that they remain hidden. I very much support bringing the subject to the forefront. Not only to educate how to spot signs and how physically damaging they can be, but so those who are looking for help will not be afraid to ask for it.

In addition, I like Jessica’s comments about separating your body image from what makes you up as a person. I am not naïve enough to think it is that simple, of course, but it is a good point. I once had a friend tell me how surprised she was at the cleanliness of another friend’s house. When I asked why she assumed Friend B’s house would be messy, Friend A explained, “Because of her size.” Friend B dresses really cute and her hair is annoyingly perfect all the time. But because she is a little larger, Friend A’s perception was that Friend B was a slob. I was stunned. That was so offensive and we need to chuck this archaic measuring stick. Kudos to Jessica for talking about this.




Photo credit: WENN Photos

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25 Responses to “Jessica Brown Findlay: ‘I’m not going to be a better actor if I’m a size smaller’”

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  1. Stella says:

    She was my fave on Downton. The harem outfit!

    Cannot co-sign the fried blonde hair. Hope it’s only for a role.

  2. me says:

    So skinny people can’t be slobs? Who thinks this way? Insane.

    • Kitten says:

      I’m the biggest slob ever. Well I mean, my house is technically clean but I have a crumb problem.

      You should have seen my BF’s passenger seat after a weekend on the road. We probably could have made another loaf of banana bread out of all those crumbs.

      So yes, I am living proof that thin people can be disgusting.

    • Fiorella says:

      Well the person didn’t mention thin people but apparently thought a fat persons house was more likely than not to be messy cluttered or dirty. Never heard that stereotype before!

  3. mkyarwood says:

    Love, love, love her.

  4. Katie says:

    This is off-topic but in Friends, did Monica seem a lot happier when she was a bigger size?
    Chandler calling her fat was the worst

    • TQB says:

      Been watching lots of old Friends since it’s been in syndication on our CW channel at night. At first I was appalled by the blatant homophobia, but as you get into the older ones – yeah, the fat-shaming of Monica is brutal. The 90s, man… We thought we were so cool.

      • slowsnow says:

        I had no idea, dont remember that at all. On a similar note, I re-watched Love, Actually and was appalled with all the sexist non-sense. How that is a film cult is beyond me.
        It is strange that some things got a pass a short while ago and suddenly we see the ingrained homophobia (in lots of series), sexism and racism.
        Don’t get me started on westerns. The other day we decided to watch a Western (forget which one) and I blushed at each thing thay said, re: women, native americans… We stopped and the kids got a long lecture about respecting others. Poor things.

      • Katie says:

        @TQB, I hated the whole “chandler is gay” storyline, it went on for too long and even when he was married, people still doubted he was straight. In one episode, Ross tells Monica he kissed a guy and he’s made fun of.
        Monica dancing was so cute

    • Tata says:

      Wow the fat shaming in friends, yes.

      Also, Frasier! there is a lot of talk about how the wife of Niles, Maris, eats nothing but air, her ideal weight Was 45 lbs?!?! and yes, homophobic jokes.

      The 90s man :/

      • eggyweggs says:

        Do you guys remember the “Friends” writer’s harassment lawsuit? One writer (a woman) brought a suit against the other writers, alleging that the lewd, cruel comments of the other writers created a bad work environment.

        “Amaani Lyle, who was fired in 1999 after working for four months as a writers’ assistant for “Friends,” charged in her lawsuit that the show’s male writers spoke graphically about their sexual preferences and experiences.”

        The suit was dismissed.
        It makes sense that the content produced by dudebros reflected their values.

  5. Fluff says:

    Saw her in Hamlet and she is tiny, smaller than before. Hope it’s just the physical work of doing a play and that she is not unwell.

    • tweetime says:

      Seconding your hope she is okay, but the bright note (as someone who is also in recovery) is that it might be a mark of her being better; once you’re recovered your body tends to find its natural set point. For some people that means gaining a good amount of weight, but for some it actually results in a lower weight because you aren’t constantly battling with the starve-binge cycle.

  6. minx says:

    I didn’t recognize her…that hair is awful.

    • ichsi says:

      Every time I see her I think “This girl is exquisitely beautiful, who is she? Oh, it’s Jessica Brown Findlay again.” I liked her in the few things I’ve seen her in, but her face is so forgettable to me. And yeah, the blonde hair is not her friend.

  7. slowsnow says:

    I say ditch friend A.

  8. Bonobochick says:

    That blonde hair isn’t not her friend.

  9. courtney says:

    it’s not like she’s a great actress in the first place and so far as Fraiser having homophobic jokes in it that was to be expected because it was spun off from Cheers correct Cheers ran from September 30th 1982 to May 20th 1993 and Frasier ran from September 16th 1993 to May 13th 2004 the exteriors for cheers were shot in Boston at the Bull & Finch pub which opened in 1969

  10. Rocio says:

    She’s so pretty. Beauty comes in all sizes.

  11. Lexie says:

    I don’t think we’ve left it in the ’90s. We’ve come a long way with homophobia, but fat jokes still seem alarmingly acceptable in mainstream media and pop culture.

  12. Margo S. says:

    She is so beautiful. Great that she’s talking about her issues. Lots of young girls probably look up to her.

  13. Lilybugg says:

    The anecdote that Hecate provided about her friend really struck a nerve. When I was in my early 20s, I was a size 12 and working retail. My manager implied I must be lazy in my personal life due to my size, and she worried that this speculated laziness would shift into my work ethic. When she told me this, I was shocked. I did not know how to process the fact that she thought of me that way. Especially considering I was one of the top sellers at this particular clothing store. I made a point to always look clean, pressed, stylish, and put together, because staff appearance does half of the selling in retail. I couldn’t fathom the fact that she somehow considered me to be a lazy person, considering I had given her no evidence to think that way.

    So, yes, larger people can be viewed as unable to take care of themselves and their possessions. I have experienced this fact personally.

  14. laura-j says:

    Is she supposed to look “large” in any of these pictures? She looks normal if not thin to me… Like a perfect size 6… which isn’t um large…

    • G says:

      She looks fantastic, and definitely slim, but the size 6 thing always reminds me of The Devil Wears Prada. Seems like in Hollywood/fashion, a size 6 is an in-between size that makes people uncomfortable — not sample size, but not plus size, and therefore should ideally not exist.

      Hectate, I really love the point you make with your friends. Being overweight is often seen as belying some fundamental character flaw — you’re a glutton, and you lack order and discipline in your life overall. I’m not overweight myself but I’ve always thought that my seeming inability to ever be impeccably groomed would not be tolerated if I was, in fact, overweight. I’ve known so many larger woman who are perfectly coiffed 100% of the time.