Belfast Telegraph

Lena Headey calls out sexism on set

The British actress as ambitious Queen Cersei Lannister rules the roost of cult television show Games of Thrones which returns on 16 July (17).

Lena Headey has called out the sexism and double standards that affect female actresses in the film and TV industry.

The British actress has enjoyed global fame as murderous and ambitious Queen Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones. But while she certainly rules the roost in the cult television series, which returns on 16 July (17), Lena has revealed that on set she still faces the kind of sexism that Cersei certainly wouldn't tolerate.

In a candid interview with co-star Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, Lena discussed her rebellious youth, the hit show, and her experiences of sexism on set.

Recounting a conversation with a female colleague, the 43-year-old told Maisie how she often found her ideas on set were ignored while the suggestions of male colleagues tended to be acted on straight away.

“I said, ‘Do you find that you have to say the same things seven times, whereas a man says it once and everyone listens?’," she explained to her young co-star in the new issue of The Edit. "Male counterparts can say the same thing (I just did) and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, that’s a great idea,’ and I’m like, ‘I just said that 19 times but you chose not to listen or take it on board’."

Warming to her theme, the actress discussed the double standards when it comes to beauty that exists for male and female actors, admitting that she no longer feels that pressure now she's getting older.

“I’m happier now I’m older, playing women who aren’t expected to be beautiful.... (Male) actors can be ‘interesting’, but there’s a real pressure on women to be beautiful and skinny,” she sighed.

Refusing to play the Hollywood game has been a feature of her career and she is proud of the fact that she has "never played the game of going in (to auditions) and flirting; I’ve never done it”.

And when Maisie then asked if Lena thought this had cost her work, she replied: “Yes, and I’m very happy I didn’t.”

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