tv 100 Women in Conversation... BBC News December 9, 2021 2:30am-3:01am GMT
the headlines: britain's prime minister, borisjohnson, is facing questions over the effectiveness of his latest coronavirus restrictions. there's growing public anger over mrjohnson�*s failure to fully explain how a christmas party for his own staff last year did not breach lockdown rules in place at the time. pharmaceutical giant pfizer—biontech have said three doses of their covid—19 vaccine have been able to neutralise the omicron variant in laboratory tests. the manufacturers say that while two doses offer lower protection against omicron, a third booster dose of the vaccine increased the neutralising antibodies significantly. germany's new centre—left chancellor, olaf scholz, has thanked his predecessor, angela merkel, and promised to build on her achievements. the two politicians who've worked together in the last coalition held a warm handover ceremony at the chancellery in berlin. theatres and cinemas
in england are gearing up for mandatory mask wearing from friday. our reporter simonjones has been gauging reation from theatre—goers in london. iam in i am in theatreland in the heart of london, and many shows have been asking audiences to wear masks. people attending the performance here told me pretty much everyone was doing that, but from friday in england, it will become compulsory for people attending shows, unless they have an exemption. so we asked you to go was what they made of that. there was no problems at all. we did it and i was comfortable with it, it made me feel safer. it needs to be done.— it needs to be done. what can we do? it _ it needs to be done. what can we do? it is — it needs to be done. what can we do? it is what _ it needs to be done. what can we do? it is what it _ it needs to be done. what can we do? it is what it is. - it needs to be done. what can we do? it is what it is. will. we do? it is what it is. will it get— we do? it is what it is. will it get worse? it will not get batten _ it get worse? it will not get better. ., . , , better. kind of necessary because _ better. kind of necessary because it _ better. kind of necessary because it protects - better. kind of necessary because it protects us i better. kind of necessary| because it protects us all. better. kind of necessary l because it protects us all. i because it protects us all. work in a hospital in chelmsford and i am a medical
secretary and even in our office we where masks and i don't find a problem with that because we keep each other so. there are other restrictions being brought in such as asking people to work from home where they can, which might seem a little strange given that you can mix in the theatre, but it won't be encouraged. i can mix in the theatre, but it won't be encouraged.- won't be encouraged. i am a dental student _ won't be encouraged. i am a dental student so _ won't be encouraged. i am a dental student so i - won't be encouraged. i am a dental student so i can't - dental student so i can't really work from home. for me, it has been quite difficult with covid, studying has been difficult. iii with covid, studying has been difficult. ., , with covid, studying has been difficult. ., difficult. if there was a downing _ difficult. if there was a downing street - difficult. if there was a downing street party, | difficult. if there was a - downing street party, and i am really— downing street party, and i am really very annoyed because, i mean, _ really very annoyed because, i mean, with the restrictions that— mean, with the restrictions that we _ mean, with the restrictions that we have all been under, especially last christmas, when he said — especially last christmas, when he said there was going to be christmas, christmas wasn't going — christmas, christmas wasn't going to _ christmas, christmas wasn't going to be cancelled, and that it was— going to be cancelled, and that it was cancelled, there was a lot of— it was cancelled, there was a lot of people who are under a lot of people who are under a lot of— lot of people who are under a lot of distress, and if that party— lot of distress, and if that party went ahead, then basically... what is it all
about? _ basically... what is it all about? what have we all been trying — about? what have we all been trying for?— about? what have we all been trying for? many theatres have already been — trying for? many theatres have already been introduced - trying for? many theatres have already been introduced there | already been introduced there restrictions, increased disinfection and people are encouraged not to gather at the stage door to ask for autographs or photographs. so theatres have already changed. now, these new restrictions coming in, but people herejust glad that theatres will be able to remain open. now on bbc news, nomia iqbal meets actress, producer and director rebel wilson. trying to make your name in hollywood isn't easy, especially if you're a female actress who doesn't look a stereotypical way. enter rebel wilson, who has defied convention to become one of the most famous faces in the industry. she's been a part of some of the biggest comedy films in recent years, including the pitch perfect franchise and bridesmaids. but like many of us during the pandemic, she's been reassessing her life. i've come here to la, where rebel is now based,
for this bbc 100 women interview. we talk about why she lost weight, her challenges with fertility, and how she's balancing that with her professional move into becoming a director, and she talks to me about how she's hoping that move will empower her to make cultural changes in the industry after experiencing sexual harassment herself. rebel wilson, thank you so much for talking to bbc 100 women. it is my pleasure. how are you? i feel like i'm very bbc today as well — i'm very serious, profesh. i think you could almost, like, be a newsreaderfor us. i could, you know. coming up now at the ”am hour — wait, is that what they say? no. coming up! breaking news, um, yeah i — i probably won't get hired from this. it's so interesting because you are one of the most high—profile actresses in hollywood. i'd say you're a household name. i'm in the top 1,000,
for sure, i'd put myself. you're one of the top 1,000 actresses in hollywood! but you have been in those really iconic films that people watch over and over again — like, i think i might�*ve watched bridesmaids an insane amount of times. i mean, that was my firstjob in america and, like, what a firstjob, to get — to be in that kind of ensemble and to be in a movie that, really, was one of the first — even though, obviously, women have been funny for at least 20 years — but, no, i'mjoking, forever — but that bridesmaids was one of the first where they were like, "wow! women are funny in hollywood!" and so to get that as my — my firstjob in america was epic. and also, to be in the pitch perfect franchise, which is, like, the most successful musical comedy films of all time — which blows my mind when you think about that. i was like, "god, are they really?" and they're like, "yeah they really are," like, "bang, one, two and three", and i'm like it's so special. and i'm sure it will be
eclipsed at some point — you know, it's like olympic records — someone will come in and, like, be better. but it's — it's so awesome to be a part of something so special and it's something people all around the world have really, really enjoyed. yeah. is it true, though, that you could've been a lawyer? well, i am a lawyer. oh, you are a lawyer?! yeah, i graduated in 2009. so you could be a lawyer. ifeel like i have the photo. it's not my best smile but i was very proud of myself that day. you look so happy and pleased! this is 2009 when i graduated. it was a very happy day because was already, obviously, i was a professional actress — i'd been in 10 tv shows by the time i graduated law school — but there was something about me that i was like, "i have to finish. "i have to complete this degree." it was very, very difficult — like, in australian law and medicine, you know, you need the top marks in your final exams to get in and i got into, like, the best law school, so i was like, "ok, i'm going to, like, graduate," even though it was clear i was working in — as an actress.
what was your parents�* reaction then when you were like, "i want to be an actress in hollywood"? i always imagined, though, that that — those words scare parents, right? it was bad. it was really bad. i was a very studious young lady, so yeah, they — they definitely thought i would do something good — like — like a more traditional—type job, put it that way. so i took a gap year, which i thought was really smart after high school, and i was what's called a youth ambassador for australia, based in southern africa, so that really changed the trajectory of my life. i was going in and out of malarial zones all the time with the work that i had to do over there, and i got malaria really bad when we were in mozambique. and when i was in the hospital back in south africa recovering from it, i had a hallucination that i was an actress, and, like, it was so real! everyone thought, "no, she's just demented," but that was enough to convince me that that's what my life was gonna be. so i come back to australia and i go, "guys, i'm going to become a professional
"actress — i have seen it, i'm gonna win an academy award. "it's, like, really good," and everyone was like, "oh, my god". like, "no". like, "you're an idiot." like, "no—one's gonna pick you," like, "you're not an actress. "like, you're not — "you're naturally quite a shier person." i was like, "yeah, but i've seen the vision." so i went and enrolled in law school but did acting sneaky at night to try and get in there, yeah. so what about, like, so when bridesmaids took off, was that... yeah, i mean, that was big �*cause they came — they came over for the premiere and they were like, "oh, she is like legit now," yeah. it's interesting because i have read that you — you were successful with bridesmaids at age 30. yeah, yeah, i came to hollywood when i was... and you call yourself a late bloomer. i definitely do think that. why, though? i was 29, turning 30, and i had a great career in australia at that point and then, i got offered a big network tv contract in australia and i was like, "oh, but if i don't go now..." like, its a bit late if you're already 30 or whatever,
to come to hollywood, i think, as a woman — although there's many exceptions to that rule and many ladies that have broken out in their 50s and stuff and have incredible careers. you don't hear enough about that, do we? yeah, you don't hear about it, but normally... because i think 30's still young. it's like the younger, more ingenue girls and then they develop more, so i wasjust, like, "ok, if i don't go now to hollywood, "i'll never make it," so i sold everything that i owned — my car, my computer, my apartment — everything. i came to america with one suitcase and, like, one little pillow, but like... but it was a bit late, and i was probably overqualified for the very small role i had in bridesmaids. you are now producing, so you've got credits on the hustle and isn't it romantic? yes, isn't it romantic was my first one. the hustle, with anne hathaway, and then now senior year, which is a big cheerleading comedy. what's that like? tell us a little bit about what — how it's different. it's great, it's great to have the power because obviously coming up in the industry, i had to work for, like, a lot of guys,
coming up where you kind of get the crappier roles — like, the rolesjust weren't as well written, as well developed. it would just be very hard to kind of put kind of your comedy or yourjokes sometimes into it if you didn't have any power. so what i did is i used all those experiences in a positive way and, like, learned stuff from watching these guys and — but really wanted to get to the point where i had the power to make the movies and choose the storylines and choose the characters and choose who i put in the movies and it's just cool �*cause you can be more authentic and put more of your messages — and my latest one, it's just so girl power and there's so many... and this is your movie that you're directing next year? uh, no, this is the one i'vejust shot. you've just shot that? yeah, just shot. and you are gonna — you are directing a movie as well? yeah, and then i've now — now gone even further and been offered a directing job for a movie script that i've written called girl group, so that'll go into production in 2022. and i'm so passionate about the stories i want to tell and so, why not
go for the topjob? talking of empowerment, you've been on a year of health. yeah. i didn't predict the pandemic, but weirdly, i thought — sometimes i'm a little psychic and i go, "oh, ifeel like i'm not gonna be working much this year "and i feel like turning 40, i'm gonna, like, concentrate "on my health" and i was dealing with fertility stuff and the doctor is like, "well, you know, if you were healthier, "you'd have better chances," so that all kind of culminated, and so the moment it hit 2020, iwas like, "ok, yeah, it's gonna be my year of health. "i'm gonna put it, like, publicly out on instagram "and stuff for accountability! " but i think that that's. .. and who knows whether that was the smartest but... and why was that important for you to do it that way? um, because i did want to make a lasting change and i wanted to be accountable to myself for it, so making it very public kind of helped — helped. it was risky, i guess. before i — i had lost weight and then put it back on and, you know, you get criticism sometimes for that, and it wasjust, yeah,
ijust was like, "ok, i'lljust make it — "make the decision to make it public." the number of headlines about you losing weight has been phenomenal. oh, it's insane. because i look at — what happened for me in 2019 — i had, like, four pretty successful movies come out and, like, had done all this amazing stuff career—wise, but then in the next year, all i did wasjust lose 80 pounds. and, like, the attention that gets... it was insane. ..is way more than being in an academy award—nominated film and, like, producing my first movie and then doing all this stuff. can i — can i read you one headline? oh, yeah, sure. "rebel wilson has a bond girl moment "in an incredible curve—hugging swimsuit." wow. how do you feel about those words? i never thought i'd be described anywhere near a bond girl! but how do you feel about those sorts of headlines about your weight loss? i've noticed that it's been getting a lot of attention and i go, "so, is that what a woman has to do "in the world is lose — just lose weight "to, like, get attention?" for me, it was so much bigger.
it was aboutjust being the healthiest version of me, so it wasn't about the size or a number or whatever. but it's fascinating — why are people so obsessed with it? like, i know what it's like to be a woman who is essentially invisible to most people because of not being seen as, like, traditionally beautiful or whatever, so i know what it's like when nobody holds the door open for you or — or, you know, just looks at you almost like you can have no value because you're not seen as good looking to them, so i know what that's like. and then you really notice — you get, like, this bias towards you, just purely because of your appearance, which is wrong — like i do think it is wrong — but it's — you can't deny that that's how society does operate, so... it's kind of conflicting. it must leave you feeling a bit mixed about it because on the one hand, like, you shouldn't have to lose weight to be suddenly be treated nicely. no, no, and i'm proud
that the message has got across is that it wasn't aboutjust losing weight, it was just about me being healthier overall, and that's what — that's what i'm trying to encourage other people out there, because that is — should be the goal. it never be to fit some certain weird beauty standard that society deems is the beauty standard of this year, or — it should never be about that. my, like, body type before, when i was a size 16 to 18, was, like, the body type of the 17th, 18th century. like, iwould have crushed in that era. but i got a lot of pushback from my own team, actually, here in hollywood, when i said, "ok, i'm gonna do this year of health. "i'm gonna — ifeel like i'm really going to physically "transform and change my life" and they were like, "why? "why would you want to do that?" because i was earning millions of dollars being, you know, the funny fat girl, like, and being that person, and i go, "well, because even though i was still very confident being bigger and,
you know, loved myself — you know, would rock a red carpet — and even though i was probably double the size, sometimes triple the weight of other actresses, but like, i still felt confident in that. but i knew deep down inside some of the emotional eating behaviours i was doing was not healthy. like, i did not need a tub of ice cream every night — that was me, you know, numbing emotions by using food, which wasn't the healthiest thing. was that dealing with fame? i think it was — i think it was dealing with not being a natural performer and having to perform almost every day and just things i hadn't kind of processed or dealt with in my life that — that was manifesting as emotional eating and then i was like "that's not the healthiest!" this was when i first got pretty famous after pitch perfect and i'm like "look at me — i'm, you know, rocking, like, a black leather bodysuit, custom—made". i love that person. like, yeah, she was struggling with emotional eating but i also, like, just love that girl and i love that she was just out there, living her best life, playing this character called fat amy and, like,
andjust, like, getting out there and crushing it. with — with the character of fat amy, you know, there were those sort of fat jokes that were made as well. do you feel now you can't do that? well, see, it's weird — i looked at fat amy and the pitch perfect scripts and go "that's the best character," i personally thought, so i would be honoured to play that character. i never thought of it as a negative because i'm the type of person that some people see, yeah, being biggeras, like, a hindrance to being an actress and i go "i'm gonna use it and use it for my comedy". there were some people that said "oh, well, will she not be funny now?" and i'm like "well, check out my new movie, senior year, coming out and see what you think, guys". what it has done career—wise is open up this whole other door of, like, dramatic roles and so now, i've this great movie that i just shot in the north of england called the almond and the seahorse, based on a west end play and would i have been given that role if i was bigger? i don't know.
because people would still — might associate me too much with some of the comedy roles and physically transforming and giving a performance that is so different, i think it helped, looking different. i'd be interested to know if you feel that pressure of being put on a pedestal when it comes to the body positivity movement. yeah, i guess. i mean, because i was somebody who was, like, really advocates for, like, loving — loving yourself and at whatever size, and you want to, like, love and embrace yourself and be positive about your body — you're only given that body, so that is what you've got to work with, that's your canvas — but also, i don't want to be seen to, like, promote unhealthiness or extreme, you know, and some of the things that i was doing — emotionally eating and carrying the extra weight — was — was unhealthy. so what i'm trying to do is say you can be whatever
size you want. just try to be the healthiest version of you — and that can look different for different people. you've shared your weight loss journey on instagram and you've got millions of followers on social media. are you conscious of the sorts of pressures, i guess, there are for young women as well on social media? oh, yeah, because now if you get into this culture of, like, touching up all of your photos and whatever, it's unrealistic and — but i don't know, but then i'm definitely guilty of, like, posting thirst trap photos on instagram — mainly because i'm still single so i'm like "oh, yeah, ok". that's mainly why i do it. but also, i didn't think it could be contributing to some larger problem in society, which i hope it isn't and then, if so... you never thought about that... 7 ifeel like, yeah, i may —
i've grown into my looks 100% and, like, feel like i'm at 41 now, like, looking, yeah, better than i ever have before — which i think is rare. most people peak, don't they, at like 20? and maybe for me, it's about my life journey coming into line, you know, and for me, it only kind of clicked together at a0 properly. but what i try to do is share just enough that hopefully people can understand, like, some of the struggles i've been through and then, and like the reason why i share it is to hopefully help people, so why i've been sharing things about fertility or talking about a health transformation and emotional eating is ultimately to try to help people. the fertility issue that you've talked about, that's really personal and intimate. yeah, i have something — i was diagnosed when i was, like, 20 with something called polycystic ovarian syndrome and — which made sense, like, that i gained a lot of weight rapidly with that and then have fertility issues and so, it's like, i think something like 10% of women have it,
so it's very common, and a lot of people don't know they have it and so, it's just — i think it's just good to talk — that's why i love when everybody opens up about all sorts of things now. mental health is obviously a big topic with a lot of celebs and people — high—profile people talking about that, yeah. but fertility is a really interesting one because i don't think a lot of women, certainly in the public eye, open up about it. behind the scenes, like, all my actress friends are all freezing their eggs and all kind of pursuing options and so, we all talk about it, but not — not just so publicly sometimes because it can be an emotional roller—coaster and i certainly, you know, froze — went all this trouble and froze my eggs and then, unfortunately because of my condition, the quality of the eggs wasn't — wasn't good enough and i have to repeat the process and keep doing it and keep trying and put a lot of effort in. and that was part of the reason why i tried to get healthier as well. i'm still trying on the fertilityjourney, even though, like, it is emotional and you get hopeful and then, you know, your hopes are dashed and so it's like, ifeel that any woman going through it but i was the classic example of, like, a career woman who went out into the world, didn't even
think about kids and then suddenly, in your mid—30s, is like "oh, hang on — do i want that as an option? "and if i do, what do i need to do?" it could be great if i had my own children but i don't know whether that's gonna happen and so, i'm trying not to have any expectations set on an outcome, just that i'm the healthiest i can be, i'm gonna try and what will happen will happen. you tweeted a few years back about sexual harassment that you had experienced in the industry. yep. and you had said at the time you were no longer going to be polite about it. tell me a little bit more about what happened to you — if you want to. yeah, um, i mean... and how you dealt with it. i guess, in terms of sexual harassment, like, all women in the industry have had, like, things like the little comments when you've been in meetings and you've be — try to be one of the boys
and, like, laugh along with the jokes and even they're talking about other actresses and stuff in a way that's, like, not really cool. but i only had, like, two incidents. one is the classic with a director in a hotel room — that was in australia. and i was so innocent and naive — i was in my 20s, and i literally thought i was going to that — to have a meeting about comedy and talk about comedy. and then, he kept trying to give me more and more alcohol and i'm not a big drinker, luckily, and then, the director gets a call from his wife and i'm sitting there on the couch and it was one of those phones that if somebody left a message, you could hear it through the speaker of the phone, and she started saying "oh, you've got rebel in that hotel room." like, "you're going to sleep with her," blah, blah, blah. and i heard the message and that was the first time i thought "oh, my god". like, "what is this?" "what's going on? " and then ijust grabbed my bag and got out of there, luckily before anything had happened. and i wonder if that woman — if i hadn't heard her voice on the phone, screaming through the phone, i — what could've happened 7 i don't know. did you tell anyone
at the time? no, because it was a big directorand i didn't... and you've never named names? no, maybe that is the legal side of me that you don't — i don't want to go through any unnecessary court cases 01’ whatever. and, yeah, ijust — yeah, just got on with the job and did it and luckily, nothing else happened, apart from that one night. and then, many years later, as i'm in hollywood and, you know, pretty — pretty famous, the pitch perfect movies had come out and stuff and had a male co—star was onset, summons me kind of out of my trailer in the middle of the day and takes me to, like, this room, where a couple of his male buddies are with their iphones and he pulls down his pants and asked me to bleep. and i know, again, like, it can kind of sound comic, the way i tell the story, because i've processed it now and i was in shock. i was like "what's going on?"
just kept saying no. like "what is this?" like "no". and his buddies are laughing and he's kind of clearly getting off on it. this was before me too, though, so i didn't quite know what to do and i was in a foreign country, so i called my agent, i reported it, we reported it to the studio — i apparently was the fourth woman to have made a complaint against this guy, too — but i stayed and ifinished thejob which i felt like it was the professional thing to do — which now, i wouldn't do, if something like that occurs. now, i think i have the courage to be like... i'm walking. "ok, that is disgusting." obviously some people have been picked up in the metoo movement but there's a lot of others that — that haven't and now, i think it would be different — i wouldn't have as much empathy... is that what you mean when you say you're going no longer be polite moving forward? yeah.
it's not like things change overnight with the metoo movement and then, suddenly it's all safe, and... it's not. like, there have been very positive changes but there still — there still need to be more. but i guess those are the changes that you can make now that you're in these roles as a producer and director. yeah, and so, like, on my movie senior year that ijust produced, i had, like, a young actress play the younger version of me and she came — came over from australia, so she's in a foreign country, she's vulnerable and just i said, like, "if you have any — any issues, if anybody is doing something, you know, or says something or whatever, please come to me as the female producer on the film" and i want to particularly, you know, protect — and i had a lot of young cast in that movie and just — i feel very conscious of, like, you know, making sure they feel safe. are you hopeful that you'll win an academy award one day? is that your aim? uh, yeah, that — that would be the goal. and i was so lucky to be injojo rabbit, that got
nominated for, like, best picture — that was such a gorgeous movie and i think — and then now, you know, doing projects that have a really good cachet, that's — that's awesome, but i still will do the comedies as well, obviously. yeah, ican�*t... yeah, i think that's what people wouldn't want you to leave. no, i can't — that's my — that's my love as well. hello again. storm barra of course has been dominating our weather picture over the last couple of days with strong winds, heavy rain and some upland snow as well. but look at these big rocks. the seas have been chucking them onto the coastline of west wales. you know the seas are pretty angry when they throw brick—sized lumps of rocks at you. there is barra, it continues to feel it's getting less intense. we do have a window of slightly clearer weather that's set to come in during thursday. that means we'll see these showers that we got at the moment fading away over the next few hours. but it's going to be quite chilly for those heading out across northern england and scotland, temperatures as low as —2, —3 degrees
celsius as you perhaps head outside the door first thing in the morning. but for many, a fine start to the day. in fact for some of you, it should be a lovely sunrise. the early rising sun illuminating this lump of cloud, the next weather system not taking long to move its way in and bringing rain back to northern ireland, west england and wales. but also eventually bringing some milder air into the south—west where temperatures reach around 11 degrees through the afternoon. still for most of us, it's another fairly chilly run with 6 or 7 degrees celsius, more typical temperatures. as we head into friday, that area of rain, perhaps with a little bit of mountain snow clears out of the way. we'll be left with these north—westerly winds. those north—westerly winds bringing a lot of sunshine, sparkling visibility, but also a number of showers. the showers will always be most frequent across the north—west, they will be some that reach right across the midlands, perhaps down towards even parts of southern england. temperatures, well, similar to recent days, still quite chilly around 6 or 7 degrees celsius. but the weather is set to change as we head into the weekend. another area of low pressure
responsible for the change, this one is going to be bringing south—westerly winds in, particularly across parts of england and wales. could be some mist and fog patches first thing in the morning. so, for some, it could be quite a murky start and it's not entirely dry, we've got outbreaks of rain piling and particularly through western areas of the country, although probably not a huge amount of rain across eastern most areas. temperatures rising through the day, 12 degrees toward south—west england and heading into sunday, that milder air will continue to push its way eastwards and northwards. by the time we get to sunday afternoon, most of you will see temperatures into double figures and the milder spots on sunday you could see temperatures as high as 1a degrees. then it looks like it will stay quite mild into next week.
welcome to bbc news. i'm rich preston. our top stories: new covid rules have been announced for england, but the prime minister's accused of trying to deflect attention from a political scandal. pharmaceutical giant pfizer says a 3—jab course of their covid vaccine is effective against the omicron variant. and the beijing boycott grows now canada and britain say they won't be sending officials to the winter olympics. and the japanese billionaire who's become the latest space tourist.