Gillian Anderson is one of those feminist badasses who is using her fame as an actress to catapult a larger discussion about equality.
Newsflash: Just because you’re a world-famous actress doesn’t mean happiness comes easily.
But she has long used her career as an actress to play women who are worth more, and she’s brilliant at owning her screen time, even if she’s being paid less. (She notoriously admitted she was offered half the pay of David Duchovny to star alongside him in X-Files.) Just try watching her in The Fall — one of my personal television obsessions — and not rooting for her character and women as a whole. The subtlety, sexuality and intelligence she brings to the part is magnanimous. I actually keep a document of quotes from the show because they’re that fabulous for when I need some girl-power inspiration.
That being said, if Anderson’s book is anything like the women she plays on television, I am so in.
In her just-released book We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, Anderson and her co-writer, Jennifer Nadel, lay out nine principles like honesty, trust, peace, joy and humility to inspire women to have a different conversation in order to continuing spurring change.
Anderson shared some of the personal struggles she discusses in the book during an interview with Elle. Though even Anderson admits she doesn’t have it all figured out, she said she has learned through her struggles and hopes to help guide women on their own path.
“At the beginning, the publishers kept encouraging us to do that,” Anderson said of the intimate details she exposes in the book. “My first response was, ‘Perhaps it’s too personal,’ and ‘Are you sure,’ and ‘How do we do that if it’s ultimately about ‘we’? Eventually they convinced us, or maybe it just was me that needed to be convinced, that it really helped the reader to identify and to step deeper into the book. I just had to make the decision that there was something in the exposing of it — that if by being honest, people had a different level of identification and it had a positive impact on their life, then I was willing to take that risk.”
And take the risk she did, including her inner struggle finding joy despite her status as a Hollywood A-lister.
“It’s funny, because one of the things I struggle with the most is joy. And yet it’s also when I take the steps to do things like meditate on a regular basis or acknowledge that there is nature around me, the sun is shining, there are birds — those are things that do connect me with a sense of joy. Even though I know it works and I know that it calms me, and I know it can completely shift my perspective on things and therefore impact how I am impacting other people and events, it’s one of the hardest things for me to remember.”
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.