Sarah Snook, actress who played Shiv Roy in Succession, has revealed she was once “told off” by a producer for eating “the tiniest bit” of chocolate cake on a film set.
Snook, a Golden Globe-winner who has become a household name for her part in the television drama, lamented the infantalisation of women in the industry, as well as the unrealistic beauty standards it expects.
On the set of an unnamed film, she claimed, a casting agent once told her: “We don’t really want you because you’re a nobody, but the director and the writer think you’re good for the role.
“So what we’ll do is change all of you so that you’re marketable: we’ll whiten your teeth, darken your hair, we’ll give you a personal trainer so you can lose weight and look the part.”
Snook told the Sunday Times magazine she agreed to the changes, telling herself she was being professional.
“In order for me to be successful I have to be all the things that aren’t me,” she said, of her thought process.
“And then one particular day I had the tiniest bit of chocolate cake.”
A producer told her off in front of the entire cast and crew, it is claimed, before an indignant costume designer intervened to urge her to keep eating it.
“And all the while I am dying inside,” she added.
“The infantilising of women, to not be able to make their own decisions, why would we do that to women?”
Snook will soon star in The Picture of Dorian Gray at Theatre Royal Haymarket, London; a one-woman show in which she plays 26 characters.
The Oscar Wilde story of a handsome gentleman who sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth has led her to reflect on the theme of beauty.
“I very purposefully have tried not to put my worth to myself into how I look because if you do, and one gets celebrated for that, when that goes – which it will – then what’s your worth?” she told the magazine, adding that she had already noticed people commenting on the looks of her baby daughter.
“She’s a very cute baby and people already go, ‘Oh, what a beautiful girl!’
“And there’s a sense of protection that kicks in for me, and goes, ‘Whoa, she’s more than that. Or she will be.’
“She is genuinely very cute – and I don’t think that’s just a biased mother saying that. But I am wary of that being language that she experiences growing up.”
She added: “It’s better to feel like one looks like shit but not to think that it matters, than to feel that one looks beautiful and that’s your value.”
The Picture of Dorian Gray is at Theatre Royal Haymarket from February 6.