PHOEBE WALLER-BRIDGE, 35, studied at RADA, and is best known for her award-winning tragicomedy series Fleabag. Now an in-demand writer, she has signed a deal with Amazon Prime (rumoured to be worth €17m) and is currently working on a reboot of Mr & Mrs Smith in which she will star with Donald Glover. Most recently, Waller-Bridge has been elected president of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society.
HAVE her own theatre company DryWhite with her longtime friend and collaborator Vicky Jones, who wrote Killing Eve. It plays at London’s Soho Theatre.
DEPICT characters who say the unsayable, do the undoable and defy every stereotype of feminine behaviour.
FEEL comfortable writing about women and violence.
BELIEVE anger stews, while rage is active. “I think rage can be something that motivates and galvanises and changes things, and I think that’s what’s happening now.”
COME from a talented family. Younger brother Jasper is a music manager, while older sister, Isobel, is a composer who wrote the music for Fleabag.
ACKNOWLEDGE hair is everything: “it’s the difference between a good day and a bad day.”
LOVE dressing up for the red carpet, especially in London label Galvan.
ORDER vodka gimlets, especially when she celebrated her triple Emmy win in 2019 [for Outstanding Lead Actress, Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Comedy Series].
ENJOY listening to the podcasts Guilt & Shame and The Guilty Feminist.
PREFER anti-heroines such as Lisbeth Salander [in Steig Larsson’s Milliennium Trilogy] and Cathy Ames in East of Eden by John Steinbeck.
FORM one half of a new Hollywood power couple; she is dating Martin McDonagh, the Anglo-Irish director and writer of Oscar-winning film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
IMAGINE her mother’s death when she needs to cry on set. At RADA she was told she was emotionally blocked because she couldn’t cry on demand.
THINK female friendships are “the greatest romances of our lives”.
WANT to sound shrill or hysterical when writing about the erosion of women’s rights, “Because if you rant and rave, if you try and make a noise, you’ll be labelled noisy. You have to be careful of that. You have to find ways to protest.”
DOES NOT DO nudity sex scenes, if there isn’t a good reason for it.
TALK about being married to the Irish documentary filmmaker Conor Woodman, whom she divorced in 2018.
HIDE her upper-middle class background, with baronets on both sides.
DENY she was a “nightmare” child; she loved to shock her “buttoned-up” grandmother. She hated being a girl and would have considered becoming transgender had that option been open to her.
QUESTION her decision to turn down a spot to read English at Trinity College Dublin.
DOWNPLAY her struggle to find work during her twenties. She auditioned for a role in Downton Abbey, for example, and didn’t get it.
AGREE Fleabag is autobiographical but she says the show is “really, really personal”. Flea was Waller-Bridge’s family nickname.
REGRET telling a story about a woman who has no guilt in Villanelle, a mercurial psychopathic killer. She says it was very liberating.
BELIEVE in overthinking her beauty routines, but endorses the importance of eyebrows.
ALLOW success go to her head and believes in staying grounded. “When something great happens in your career you should go straight back to work.”
CHOOSE to play passive princess or siren roles. “It’s much more fun to perform someone who is flawed, complex and not perpetually attractive.”
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