‘There’s noth­ing else to share’

Caitlin Stasey’s steep learn­ing curve

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE - SHAN­NON MOLLOY

WHEN she wanted to chal­lenge the ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women, Caitlin Stasey pub­lished naked pho­to­graphs of her­self. If she had some­thing to say about sex­u­al­ity, in­equal­ity or misog­yny, the ac­tor would take to Twit­ter and not hold back.

It’s a kind of raw can­dour not of­ten seen in show busi­ness – and it gen­er­ated plenty of head­lines. But the 25-year-old felt she was made to look like a “bizarre, raving, sex­ual lu­natic” by some of the crit­i­cism.

“I’m far less open now, purely for self-preser­va­tion,” Stasey says. “I’ve found it dif­fi­cult the past year or so.”

Via so­cial me­dia about 18 months ago, Stasey went from former

Neigh­bours star­let to ma­ligned pur­veyor of un­com­fort­able top­ics.

In Jan­uary, she launched fem­i­nist web­site Her­self, kick­ing off with an in­ti­mate pro­file piece ac­com­pa­nied by nude por­traits. Now, she wants to take a slightly dif­fer­ent tack.

“When you’re un­abashedly open about your life, the na­ture of your re­la­tion­ship, your sex­u­al­ity, all of th­ese things, you’re open to a world of crit­i­cism that doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily at­tack just one part of your char­ac­ter, but has ac­cess to all of them,” she says.

“I’m less can­did now than I was even just a few months ago … it’s not that I’m scared to speak out, but I don’t feel like I have to fight quite as hard. I fought re­ally hard for a year or so and now I feel like I can coast off my hon­esty. And there’s also noth­ing else re­ally to share.”

Be­ing prin­ci­pled in Hol­ly­wood is some­times “dif­fi­cult”, es­pe­cially when it comes to some of the roles on of­fer. Be­ing a fe­male in the tele­vi­sion industry “can be a lit­tle dis­heart­en­ing”, she says.

That’s why she’s so fond of the Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion se­ries Please

Like Me, writ­ten by co­me­dian Josh Thomas, in which she plays Claire.

“It’s rare you get to pair your de­sire for so­cial jus­tice and change with a good project,” Stasey says of the show’s themes, which in­clude men­tal health and ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity.

But she may not be so lucky with fu­ture act­ing roles, con­ced­ing they may clash with her ideals.

“As long as you have a core set of prin­ci­ples you don’t stray from, that are im­por­tant to you, I think you’re fine,” she says.

Stasey, who also ap­pears in the US pe­riod TV drama Reign, play­ing the fic­tional mis­tress of King Henry II, has learnt a lot over the past year.

For one, she’s now pur­su­ing “a far less ag­gra­vated as­sault on the world” when it comes to her views, in­stead fo­cus­ing on pro­vid­ing a cre­ative space for women on her site.

“I’m also try­ing to elim­i­nate as much cru­elty from my life as pos­si­ble,” Stasey says.

That in­cludes al­low­ing her­self to be up­set by neg­a­tive head­lines or the ten­dency, in her view, to be “wil­fully mis­in­ter­preted”. “I’ve def­i­nitely been hurt by it in the past, but now I get it – I get the game,” she says.

And al­though it’s eas­ier said than done, Stasey’s try­ing to be kin­der to ev­ery­one – in­clud­ing her en­e­mies.

“I’ve def­i­nitely not been kind to my en­e­mies in prac­tice,” she says, per­haps al­lud­ing to her pub­lic spat with Fair­fax liftout Good Week­end.

In July, the ac­tor ac­cused the pub­li­ca­tion of sud­denly pulling a pro­file fea­ture of her af­ter she re­fused to pose for pho­to­graphs in her un­der­wear.

“They wanted to team an in­ter­view about my up­set over the con­stant ob­jec­ti­fi­ca­tion of women with a sex­u­alised photo shoot,” Stasey tweeted at the time. The editor de­nied the claims.

But she in­sists her rea­sons for step­ping back from the fir­ing line have noth­ing to do with po­ten­tial pro­fes­sional reper­cus­sions.

“I don’t re­ally care, to be hon­est. I don’t think any­thing I say di­rectly af­fects that,” she says.

“We work in an industry … where I think ev­ery­one is a lit­tle bit ar­ro­gant enough to be­lieve they’re not a part of the prob­lem, so what I’m say­ing can’t re­ally reach them.”

For the first few episodes of the new sea­son of Please Like Me, Stasey’s char­ac­ter is in Ger­many and seen only via Skype.

“I’ve spent so much of my time as an adult away from the peo­ple I love, so I feel like I’ve spent so much time on Skype,” she laughs.

Her busy sched­ule means she lives a some­what no­madic life. Stasey’s home – for now – is in Los An­ge­les.

“I en­joy float­ing around but it’s nice to come back to a space that’s home, that’s filled with the things I love,” she says. “I have a framed photo of my grand­mother on her wed­ding day in my liv­ing room. I also have a photo of my mum, my sis­ter and I, from when I was maybe five. I see those when I walk in the door.”

PLEASE LIKE ME

THURS­DAY, 10.05PM, ABC

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