Oscar winner Kate Winslet is, unfortunately, no stranger to scrutiny about her body. From the time she started auditioning through her breakout in Titanic, there have been constant comments on her figure, though Winslet has always been confident enough to defend herself against rude remarks. Still, she admits that filming her latest project topless was outside her comfort zone after an on-set injury prevented her from exercising beforehand.
“I had to be really fucking brave about letting my body be its softest version of itself and not hiding from that,” she said in a recent interview with Vogue. In the upcoming film Lee, Winslet plays photographer Lee Miller, who was once photographed picnicking topless with friends. To recreate that moment, Winslet had to expose herself, as she had during Titanic, but instead of being posed prettily on a couch, this time she was recovering from a back injury.
“I had three massive hematomas on my spine, huge…I could barely stand up,” she explained. In addition to the pain, she hadn’t been able to work out since the first day of filming. But for Winslet, it’s art above vanity. “And believe me, people amongst our own team would say, ‘You might just want to sit up a bit.’ And I’d go, ‘Why? [Because of] the bit of flesh you can see? No, that’s the way it’s going to be!'”
For better or worse, Kate Winslet has a thick skin following decades of uncalled-for comments on her weight. “I was consistently told I was the wrong shape,” she recalled in the interview. “I was consistently told I would have to settle for less.” Even after proving herself as a leading lady, she faced “the most awful scrutiny and judgment, and, actually, I would go so far as to say bullying, from mainstream media when I was in my 20s.”
Now, though, she’s way over it. “I know better than to waste precious energy on criticizing my physical self. I think any woman is better off just saying: I believe in myself. It doesn’t matter what other people think; this is who I am—let’s get on with it.”