Gillian Anderson on how to succeed as a woman in a position of power

The Editors
·2-min read
Photo credit: Oliver Holms
Photo credit: Oliver Holms

From Harper's BAZAAR

In the first of our Bazaar At Work Week events, Gillian Anderson, who is currently playing Margaret Thatcher in the new season of The Crown, spoke to Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Lydia Slater about what female leadership looks like today, and discussed how to succeed as a woman in a position of power. Here are a few of her most valuable insights…

Challenge yourself

“The conscious decisions I make are about being challenged. Certainly, I think I’m more attracted to women that have something to say or are quite determined, because I tend to be quite determined. But then what’s interesting as an actor is actually to play against type, to counterbalance that.”

Have the courage of your convictions

“When people found out I was playing Margaret Thatcher, everybody pitched in with comments like ‘Oh my god, that’s awful. How can you play her?!’”

Do things for yourself

“Thatcher built her own world. She worked really hard to get to where she was. So whether you were a supporter of hers or not, or whether you like her or not, you can’t let go of the fact that she made herself.”

Know that knowledge is power

“She had an extraordinary brain. I’d give anything to have that mind, her retention. You could ask her anything and she’d know the answer.”

Photo credit: Oliver Holms
Photo credit: Oliver Holms

Be bold

“Even today, I think it’s harder for women to get their voices heard. We are getting there: you have someone like Alexandra Ocasio Cortez, who is an incredibly brazen, provocative speaker, but it feels like it takes that level of intention and vocality to be able to be heard above the parapet.”

Take care of yourself

“That’s the only thing one can have control over. And now, more than ever, it’s important to really focus on the self. That could be about finding space and time to get quiet, to look honestly at one’s life and how one is moving about in it – and to ask whether we’re genuinely gunning towards something that will make us happy.”

Find fortitude in your friendships

“The current climate is a good time to unite with people who care about us and who we care about. Maybe that’s as much as anything what this time is about.”

Buy a ticket to watch the full interview with Gillian Anderson, available for download until 31 December, here.

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