Interview & Photography: Sarah J. Edwards
Shot on location at www.elmslesters.co.uk
Hair by Keiichiro Hirano
Make-up by Terry Barber
Helen McCrory is a British institution and a treasure. She’s not only a multi-international award winning actress, but game for a laugh. If you haven’t experienced Helen perform on stage, you’re most likely to have seen her on screen, as MP Clair Dowar in Skyfall, as Cherie Blair in The Queen, Narcissa Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 & 2 or heard her as Mrs. Bean in Fantastic Mr. Fox. More recently as Aunt Polly Gray in Steven Knight’s Peaky Blinders, in which she stars alongside BLAG cover star (Vol.2 Nø 5) Cillian Murphy. From spending a few hours together at our shoot – which was riddled with jokes – we discovered Helen’s tough, funny and the sort of woman you know you’re most likely to get an honest answer from – especially as she seasons her more passionate or funny sentences with a good frank swear. Here we talk about women, character and humour and discover we’re all pretty bad at taking compliments.
I was really interested to hear your thoughts – and this question is relevant to me having photographed you – about femininity verses being tough and strong and how you make that balance where you’re still attractive, you’re still feminine but you know what you want and how you’re going to get it. We talked a little bit about not being too much into self-praise...
“No, self-praise, but also, as you say, I don’t think there’s any dichotomy between femininity and being strong. I grew up in Africa and so all those visual media images of women being feminine in a certain sort of passive, attractive way, I never got it as a kid. So for me, a women was as easy with a machete in a field as a man was and I never had that feeling of what I could or couldn’t do as a woman. I really think that stood me in great stead as an actress, because I think it makes you not vain. Of course, you’re vain, of course there are shots and you ‘Oh, dear God, I think the lighting could’ve been kinder. The screen could’ve been higher.’ But you have to just get over that, because that’s not your job. Your job is to depict all of humanity and if you just see yourself as somebody who wants to be attractive and feminine on screen, you really limit yourself. You limit your ability to transform and so I think you really sell women short. I don’t think that seeing women depicted like that makes you feel great about being a woman, I think it means you feel lonely, because you don’t look like that and you don’t necessarily react like that and it’s a lie. Women don’t go around in pink feathers smiling at their men all the time and laughing. I think it’s just as feminine to change a spark plug and run a race and be ambitious and want to fulfill yourself, not just in relationships with your family. I think that’s as feminine as anything else.”
To read the full article, get the print edition here.
The line-up includes:
World Exclusive portfolio shoots with:
Travis Fimmel - Travis wears BLAG Ship hooded sweater
Rizzle Kicks - Jordan wears BLAG 21 and Harley wears the Shark Shirt
Tom Hardy* *BLAG Photography Portfolio - Tom wears new Classic BLAG t-shirt
& Action! with Emun Elliott and Howard Charles
Main features: Helen McCrory and Clark Duke
Art features: Anthony Lister, Adam Neate, Escapism
Ten Essential Tips for Getting Away by Dan the Automator of Deltron 3030
A Guide to Defense: Escapism Preparation
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