Want to hear this interview as a podcast? Click on the link!
November 11, 2019
At the Girl Up UK Summit, female trailblazers from every industry imaginable gave thought-provoking presentations to inform the audience on how to succeed as a socially-conscious and inspirational female leader. Amongst these great women was Sian Clifford: an actress and Emmy Nominee for her role as Claire on the British hit series Fleabag. In her speech, she talked about her special relationship with Fleabag creator and star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the importance of collaboration, and the necessity of being empowered as a woman. After her speech, RevNow reporter and UK correspondent Elizabeth Bratton connected with Clifford to elaborate on these topics and gain more invaluable insights:
Elizabeth: You mentioned your relationship with Phoebe Waller-Bridge earlier today. How important do you think it is for women to uplift each other within certain industries, especially the acting industry?
Clifford: I think in all industries, [and] in all aspects of our world we need to just do that. The day that we stop feeling threatened by each other and just can learn to trust one another again - I think is the day we can reclaim our full sense of power.
Elizabeth: And what would you say is the biggest challenge you face in the [acting] industry?
Clifford: What the industry would like me to believe is that it is competition, but actually there is more content being made than ever before, because there are more streaming services popping out from nowhere. It’s crazy! The biggest challenge is your mental health... the ups and downs of an acting career can be really overwhelming and managing that... is most important thing to [do], because it’s challenging in all sorts of unexpected ways.
Elizabeth: I’ve read recently in an interview that you found it hard to go from acting in theatre to acting on screen, and that breakthrough was challenging for you. Do you have any advice for people who want to go into the theatre or the screen industry?
Clifford: Well, I used “challenging” in that respect in a really positive way. What I love about doing screen-work now is that it scares me. And I think it’s important to do things that scare you. Doing this talk today scared me, but I knew it would help me to expand and grow as a person, and that’s kind of what I look for in my work, and things that I get asked to do - that’s what I say “yes” to. So, I’m saying “yes” to as much screen-work as I can, and I feel very, very lucky to have had quite an extensive theatre career. Advice in terms of taking the leap: if you’re not getting work, create your own, or find a friend who’s creating their's.
Elizabeth: I’ve just got one last question for you. To what extent do you think ‘Fleabag’ has helped people express their emotions and feel more open about their mental health. For example, grief?
Clifford: Yeah - Grief, loneliness, faith, connection or the lack thereof it. I think it’s sort of extraordinary how people have connected with that show and... I couldn’t say, and maybe it’s because it hits on universal themes like that, but I also think Phoebe [Waller-Bridge] just draws such human characters; they’re so relatable and I just hope it helps people feel more seen. I know that I’ve had messages from a lot of people, saying that their relationships with their sisters have changed because of the show - that they perceive their Claire-like sister with a lot more love and compassion and... if you’ve changed one person’s life, I think that’s enough, but the fact that we seem to have impacted so many is a wonderful, wonderful feeling.
Want to hear more from Revolution Now? Join our monthly newsletter here!