Florence Pugh: ‘I’m never losing weight to look fantastic for a role’

Florence Pugh covers the February issue of American Vogue. The cover interview is fine – nothing groundbreaking, nothing scandalous, and Pugh comes across as very warm, down-to-earth, family-oriented and capable. But as I got to the end of the piece, I realized something funny: for all of the boxes being checked off, future projects, upcoming movies, holiday plans, a notable breakup, nowhere does Pugh discuss Don’t Worry Darling or Olivia Wilde. Florence really said: that’s over, I’m done with it and I’m never mentioning it again. In the middle of the piece, Vogue does note: “Last year, she starred, alongside Harry Styles, in Olivia Wilde’s ill-fated Don’t Worry Darling—an experience about which perhaps the less said the better, given the volume of uncharitable speculation that has attached itself to the film. Pugh certainly doesn’t want to discuss any of it.” In exchange (I’m assuming) for not spilling that tea, Zach Braff appears throughout the cover story. Granted, he directed a film with Florence as the lead (out in March), so he has a reason to be quoted. But they did break up last year! Anyway, you can read the full Vogue piece here. Some highlights:

Her unselfconscious childhood: “We were always naked as kids… We are human, we are bodies. Yes, I can put makeup on and look good for a premiere. But at the end of the day, I still have hair on the top of my lip and I still smell after a workout and I still get spots when I’m stressed. I think that attitude definitely has trickled down from when I was a child.”

Getting her t-ts out on the red carpet last year: “I’ve never been scared of what’s underneath the fabric. If I’m happy in it, then I’m gonna wear it. Of course, I don’t want to offend people, but I think my point is: How can my nipples offend you that much?… It’s very important that we do this. I know that some people might scoff at me saying that, but if a dress with my breasts peeking through is encouraging people to say, ‘Well, if you were to get raped, you would deserve it,’ it just shows me that there’s so much more work to do.”

She would never lose weight just to look good: “I’m never losing weight to look fantastic for a role. It’s more like: How would this character have lived? What would she be eating?”

The fluke: “Every single version of getting into this industry is a fluke. Because there are no guarantees—in any way.”

She finally bought her own home in London: “You know, you have a daydream when you start out: What is it that means you’ve made it? What is it that means you are an adult? And for me it was: You live close to your friends and you have a local pub. And because I didn’t do that when I was young, because I didn’t go to university, it meant that for all of my adult years of working and my adult years living abroad, I still, in my mind, hadn’t got all the pieces together.”

Her breakup with Zach Braff: “It’s all very new. My breakup has been very new, so I’m figuring that out.”

People criticizing her 21-year age difference with Braff: “We weren’t in anyone’s faces. It was just that people didn’t like it. They imagined me with someone younger and someone in blockbusters. I think young relationships in Hollywood are so easily twisted because they add to the gossip sites. It’s exciting to watch. And I think I was in a relationship that didn’t do any of that.”

Braff on Pugh: “I quite simply think she’s one of the greatest actors of her generation. She’s just magnetic. You cannot take your eyes off of her. And it’s not just her beauty and it’s not just her acting ability, it’s that thing, that magic thing that transcends the screen, where anyone and everyone goes: I want to see whatever this person does.”

[From Vogue]

Is Pugh one of the best actresses of her generation? She’s 27 years old. I think it’s a little early to make a declaration on that generation, but I do think she’s incredibly talented, and by all accounts, she’s very professional. That was one of the issues on Don’t Worry Darling – Florence was the one who was there to do a job, while her director f–ked around with her leading man and bad-mouthed Pugh to Shia LaBeouf. While I think it’s hilarious that Pugh won’t even deign to speak about DWD, she came out of that debacle smelling like a rose, with her professional reputation entirely intact. As for the Braff stuff… I still think she was the one who was bothered by their actual age difference, and that’s why she sometimes overreacted to people going “ew, he’s so old, that’s gross.”

Cover & IG courtesy of Vogue.

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44 Responses to “Florence Pugh: ‘I’m never losing weight to look fantastic for a role’”

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  1. FHMom says:

    She comes across as healthy, wise and likable. Nothing controversial, although I doubt she would keep it quiet if it was something she felt needed to be said. I love how she pretty much erased DWD from her life. Stay away from anything toxic, Flo. She’s being her authentic self.

  2. lolalola says:

    It’s very easy to say what you won’t do for a role when you are 20-something. Ask a 50+ actor what she has to do for a role and you’ll get the truth. That is, if you are lucky enough to still have a career.

    • Jo says:

      Well let’s give her the benefit of the doubt rather than cut her wings shall we? Saying this does not mean what we think it means. It just simply, in her case, implies that she is not looking to be the pretty actress who gets the starring role as long as she is drop dead gorgeous. And from her filmography it is obvious to me – and I don’t even like her that much as an actress – that she is interested in telling stories rather than being desirable only and only getting roles of (conventionally) desirable women. Women like Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Kathy Bates, Melissa McCarthy, Chloe Sévigny, Frances Conroy have all worked towards roles that weren’t based on looks. While at the end of the day you’re right and things are still tough for women, women also fall in the trap of desirability over just playing roles. Lately there have been quite a few films based on women being basasses and active characters, lack of accolades notwithstanding. There are plenty of women detectives, serial killers, superheroes, doctors, investigators, academics, spies, etc. The fight isn’t over and I sure think that is as spectators also have a role
      to play in supporting films like The Favourite or Everything Everywhere All at Once, or Ladybird, or Till etc.

    • Josephine says:

      At 20-something I was still super skinny so I can see myself saying something like this, thinking I would always be about that weight. But actors physically transform for roles all the time so her statement seems a little short-sighted to me. I think what she’s mostly saying is that not all characters are stick-thin so there is no reason to become stick-thin just because you happen to be playing a female character. But I have to agree that like most actors, she’ll do what it takes to keep landing roles.

      • Jo says:

        @josephine she is not super skinny, she’s saying she will not lose weight to fit Hollywood’s expectations of conventionally attractive women. If anything she is considered plump by those horrible standards. Personally as I said above, she is interested in the character and what physically the character would have as a lifestyle.

      • Josephine says:

        @Jo – she is definitely quite thin. I get what you’re saying about her not being stick thin, but she’s a slight person with a small waist/hour-glass figure. By your own definition, if the character is supposed to be super thin, she’d probably lose a few pounds to represent that. My only point is that actors transform as needed and if she never wants to change for a role, good for her but it may be limiting in the end.

    • Thinking says:

      She hasn’t gone out of her way to become slimmer after becoming famous so I tend to believe her.

      I know she’s still young, but young actresses are always getting super skinny, even if they’re already Natalie Portman’s size. You can always see a change occurring. She doesn’t seem to have done that yet.

      • teecee says:

        She’s also been on a straight winning streak since she debuted. Let’s see what happens when she hits one of the inevitable valleys in her career. It’s easy to believe yourself to be principled when you’ve never been in the position to put those principles to the test.

      • Thinking says:

        I suppose, but even the actors on a winning streak seem to get slimmer over time. Maybe they’re the ones actually more likely to get slimmer.

        I think seeing images of themselves and comparing themselves to other people all the time affects their perspective of themselves more than the need to slim down for a specific role.

        As for her size, she’s in very good shape -she’s fit and toned. But compared to other actresses she might be considered “bigger.” I wouldn’t be surprised if a casting director has told her to slim down and she probably has resisted the need to get slimmer for a part up to now. We don’t know what parts she’s been rejected for, and the rejection rate is pretty high in Hollywood even for successful actors.

      • TeamMeg says:

        I just hope they don’t try to make her the new spokesmodel for having a normal body, a la Titanic girl (whose name, incredibly, is escaping me at the moment. It’s a miracle!)

    • SurelyNot says:

      To be fair — she did not say she wouldn’t diet for a role — she said she wouldn’t do it to “look fantastic” but she would look at the character and say “what would this person be eating”….I took that as I’d lose weight in a Les Mis situation, but not just to be hotter.

      • LooneyTunes says:

        Maybe it was inartfully worded, but “to look fantastic”? 🤔 Doesn’t that imply that being thin is the only way to “look fantastic”?

      • TwinFalls says:

        Yeah I’m imaging “look fantastic” in air quotes. Not her determination but the studio’s male gaze/ask.

      • DK says:

        That was my interpretation of her full quote as well – the headline initially made me think she was saying she wouldn’t lose weight for a role, but the full context made it sound like, “If I lose weight for a role, I will do so because it’s part of the character, not just so I personally look good [i.e. look the way Hollywood insists actresses look] on screen.”

      • Thinking says:

        In Hollywood being thin is considered “looking fantastic”. That’s their world-view. Hence, all the questions on the red carpet about what actresses had to do to fit into a certain dress. It is what it is, in that world.

    • Susie says:

      @lolalola EXACTLY. I love her, think she’s an incredible actress & seems grounded & cool, but she’s too young to ever make a claim of what she will not do to get a role. The world is her oyster right now. Hopefully it will remain that way, but Hollywood is fickle. I do appreciate the point she is making, however.

  3. Concern Fae says:

    I think saying n.o.t.h.i.n.g. about Don’t Worry Darling is how she came out smelling like a rose. More people should pay attention to this.

    • Susan says:

      I agree. Funny you said that, @ Concern Fae, because that was my thought as I was reading this article. This was a master class in rising above it all. I wonder if she had PR people guiding her or just instinctively knew to stay far far away?

    • Mabs A'Mabbin says:

      Yes ma’am. Silence is so very easy and yet so hard for too many.

    • Eleonor says:

      And I think it’s the best strategy to deal with a narcissist like OW

  4. Genevieve says:

    It may be a bit early to assign her the title of best actor of her generation, but she’s certainly one of the most charismatic people on screen these days. I’d even watch more MCU if she’s in it, and I’m so over that [stuff].

  5. Lady Esther says:

    She is gorgeous and so talented, I buy whatever she’s selling no matter the role – I think she’s easily the best of her generation of actresses. “The Wonder” was one of my favourite movies of the year. Her Instagram cooking shorts are adorable. And thank all the Gods she finally dumped Zach Braff.

    But that nose ring….all I see is the Minotaur. Gurl no

  6. Kate McCallister says:

    She will. They all do, eventually. But then she’ll either talk about “loving a new workout routine”, “making changes that made her feel good, and that’s all. Not to lose weight” or “don’t ask me about my body, it’s none of your business”

    • AlpineWitch says:

      Yeah, a little like Adele did…

    • teecee says:

      Yep. It’s all body positivity until someone hands you a tube of Ozempic and says lose 20 pounds or you lose your house.

      • ama1977 says:

        I think she probably has enough money/residual income to not worry about losing her house. Point taken, but she’s not exactly paycheck to paycheck.

        I giggled at her saying “when I was young” because I’m about to be 46 and 27 is SO YOUNG. But it’s all in your perspective, I guess. I didn’t think I was particularly young 20 years ago, and I’m sure in another 20 my current age will seem “young.”

    • Aly says:

      I remember Hayley Atwell used to say something like that and of course she slimmed down eventually. Hollywood is not kind to women who don’t fit their skinny standards. Miss Flo is a pick me girl, in case some huge, legendary male director asks her to lose weight, she’s gonna do it without second thought and praise his existence.

  7. Emmi says:

    I mean she’s not really saying anything profound here in terms of losing weight. She would still do it under any other circumstances? Except just for a look, right?

    I’ve recently been distracted by a few very very thin actresses who appeared way too skinny even on screen. It was uncomfortable and I shudder to think what they look like in real life.

    • Turtledove says:

      I took it the same as you.

      If she got a role as a super model, who would be expected to be very thin, she might lose weight for it.

      But if she was in a romance, playing a real estate rep that falls in love and there were going to be 20 nude scenes, she wouldn’t lose weight just to “look better” for the role.

  8. Kaye says:

    She’d do better to get a new stylist to “look fantastic” than to lose a certain amount of weight. Her clothes never seem to flatter her, IMO.

    • Aly says:

      LOL yes, her team is aggressively pushing her to be a fashion girl while her stylist keeps failing her all the time. Stan twitter gets brutal everytime Miss Flo steps on red carpet with her dramatic outfits. Later this year she will be posing with an actual fashion icon – Zendaya for Dune promo tour, who I’m will eat up Miss Flo and leave no crumbs. It’s going to be a blood bath on stan/film twitter.

    • Thinking says:

      That’s why probably why I believe her when she says she won’t lose weight.

      Some of her outfits look like they were meant to be worn by someone who is model-thin or Taylor Swift. But she’s defiant in her desire to wear those outfits. So I think she probably doesn’t care what people think and will choose to live how she wants to live.

      Although she looks slimmer on the cover shot posted (maybe it’s photo-shopped without her input?), that’s not how she looks on the red carpet in some of her more daring and revealing outfits.

  9. Solidgold says:

    Miss Flo has a little bit of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Winslet in her.

    I watched 4 of her films but do not see this great actress people are talking about. She’s definitely talented but I would not see a movie just because of her.

    • Josephine says:

      I was thinnking of exactly those same two actresses who are sexy and confident and gorgeous while maintaining a few curves, They are all still really thin imo but she’s not the first to have a few curves and a career. I hope she gets and keeps the power to maintain the weight she prefers.

    • Daisy May says:

      I thought her 2022 film, “The Wonder” was wonderful!!

  10. Nicegirl says:

    💕 🔥

  11. Veronica S. says:

    Mmm, I think she’s a great actress and seems fairly grounded, but I think the reality is that thinness is absolutely expected of her as an actress. She may be at a point where she can refuse to go bone thin for a role, but she’s absolutely taking pains to maintain the body she has now and will likely do so going into her thirties where most of naturally gain 10-20 pounds. Totally fine. It is what it is. But she wouldn’t be where she is if she didn’t have the privilege of that body and face in the first place.

    I’m glad she and Braff seem to be handling their breakup well in the media, in all honesty. I know that sounds vaguely trite, but it’s amazing how many shitheads are in hollywood and just chomping at the bit to be miserable about one another. They could easily be ungracious about each other.

    • Thinking says:

      I think it makes sense she’d maintain her current weight though. She’s in the dating phase of her life and she’s still young — I wouldn’t expect her to not be in some kind of maintenance phase.

      She didn’t say she’d lose weight for a role, but she didn’t say she’d gain weight either.

    • Maryscott OConnor says:

      There is a difference between maintaining a healthy weight and deliberately losing weight to be thinner to get roles.

  12. DouchesOfCambridge says:

    Yassss that’s what I’m talking about. There’s no need!!!! & I keep telling about my hair: I’m not coloring it for people to see me younger than I am!!!

  13. Thinking says:

    I’m not sure how slim she looks in her current movies, but I was watching an episode of a British tv show she appeared in. It took me a moment to realize it was her. Maybe she was more unknown at the time she played the role. There was a scene where she was bit scantily clad because of the nature of the role she was playing. It did take me by surprise that she wasn’t as thin as I was (probably unfairly) expecting. So I think it is registered in some of our heads (again, unfairly so) to expect an actress to look a certain way, even when it’s not actually required for a role or anything else.

  14. Maryscott OConnor says:

    No, she wasn’t the one bothered by the age difference.

    She was the one bothered by the nonstop harassment and commentary on what was supposed to be a private relationship that was literally nobody else’s business but theirs.

  15. Fender says:

    She has been in everybody’s faces and so overexposed to the point of becoming highly unlikeable. Too much instagram, too much ridiculous red carpet extravaganza… And to pretend that it is some big achievement for a kid with wealthy parents who got into acting through connections to buy herself a house…please…
    She is all about attention and white feminism, and that annoying nose ring is so unflattering…