"I wasn’t a big TV period drama fan. But when I was a teenager, I read a lot of novels. Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters…Those were the kind of stories that got me into reading. I read a lot of Dickens, too. And then I went on to study English literature at university. I was always interested in the 19th century novel. That era caprivated me. At university, I wrote a feminist essay on Jane Eyre and what Bertha Mason represents. Hearing women’s voices, like Charlotte Perkins Gilman, within an era that was so repressive made me think about how much times have changed. I think the reason why I’ve always enjoyed acting is the element of escapism, like you get with a good book. When there’s that added element of being in a different time period, it just adds an extra level of escapism."
Illustrations by Elena Shved
Daniele da Volterra (Italian, 1509-1566)
Sybil, first half of the 1540s
Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg
"Your highness" is gender neutral.
So you know, if you’re ever confused about my pronouns.