She’s acted alongside the creme de la creme of Hollywood and is Golden Globe-nominated – but Romola Garai nearly quit Hollywood after a ‘traumatic’ experience.
The 35-year-old Hong Kong-born British actress, who is set to star in the BBC’s hotly-anticipated adaptation of The Miniaturist this Christmas, says she was ‘bullied’ on the set of a Harvey Weinstein project that nearly led to her leaving the industry altogether.
She claims she was told to lose weight by producers and made to exercise during filming of Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights, revealing: ‘It was a traumatising experience that took years to unpick.’
Romola – who has appeared in period dramas like Suffragette, Atonement and BBC’s critically-acclaimed The Hour – most recently spoke out about feeling ‘violated’ by her the film mogual who has a string of allegations against him.
Now, however, she is more than happy with not being a leading lady even if being outspoken meant her career took a hit.
‘I’m sure there are a lot of directors who think I’m a bloody nightmare because I will say what I think on set. But that is who I am,’ she told Stella magazine.
She recalled how ‘violated’ she felt when she met Weinstein in a hotel at the age of 18, when he was wearing just a dressing gown as part of an ‘audition’ for her role in the Dirty Dancing sequel.
It was then two years later where she claims she was mercilessly ‘bullied’ by the producers on the set of the Weinstein project, to lose weight from her already slender 5ft 9in frame.
She has told in the past how she was brought meals by a dietitian and told to exercise, something which the actress likened to abuse. In the end as a young woman starting out in the industry, Romola followed orders and dropped to a dangerously low 7st 7lbs.
Since then, the mother-to-two with her husband and fellow actor Sam Hoare, has never gone to the gym or counted calories – and dieting is not a conversation topic she will have with her two children.
Romola explains that she doesn’t want them to value themselves on their looks: ‘I would never use the words “pretty” or “beautiful” as any form of validation.
‘We live in an age obsessed with looks and you have to do what you can to shift the focus.’
And the same goes for her own career, as she confessed about her own understated beauty: ‘It doesn’t upset me not to be getting the pretty parts. It’s liberating.’10.12.2017