Vanity Fair’s Olivia Cooke: Career may have been different if I’d stayed in UK

The actress has enjoyed success with a string of roles in America.

Press Association
Last updated: 11 September 2018 - 12.20am

Vanity Fair star Olivia Cooke has said she may not have had the same career path if she had stayed in the UK because women do not get the same opportunities as men.

The Manchester-born actress, 24, headed to America when she landed a role in US horror drama Bates Motel in 2013 and went on to star in films such as Thoroughbreds and Ready Player One.

She told Radio Times magazine her accent is “an identifiable factor” and that when she walked into a room people immediately pegged her as northern and working class, but that in the US the way she spoke was “not a thing”.

She said: “I’m only guessing, and with the benefit of hindsight, but I wonder, if I’d stayed here as a working-class northern actress, whether I would have had this career path.

“In America, my accent’s not a thing, I’m just British – ‘Where’s Manchester? In London?’

“Here working-class men can rise up the ranks and do all these different accents, and I just don’t think they assume women can.”

“But it’s definitely changing,” she added.

The actress now stars as Becky Sharp, who attempts to claw her way out of poverty and scale the heights of English society, in the ITV adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.

However, the actress said she was not a huge fan of costume dramas.

“I’ve found in the past that they can be quite dreary,” she said.

“They tend to marinate in their sophistication a little bit too much. Often it looks pretty but the drama is lacking. The substance isn’t actually there for me.”

This week’s Radio Times is out on Tuesday.

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