Saoirse Ronan: Revealing my spots represents teenagers as they are

Saoirse Ronan has said it was important to her not to cover up her acne in her new film Lady Bird because it “represents teenagers as they actually are”.

The Irish star, 23, has received her third Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a teenage girl growing up in Sacramento, California, in 2002.

She said she was asked to keep her make-up covering up her breakouts to a minimum by the film’s director Greta Gerwig, who has become the fifth female director to score an Oscar nomination.

Ronan told the Press Association: “I started to get bad skin when I was about 21 and I was doing a lot of press and I did a play and my skin was just under so much strain and I started to get acne.

“I had never had it before and for whatever reason I wasn’t insecure and self-conscious about it.

“I went into Lady Bird and we were doing camera tests – we were still figuring out her hair and make-up and the whole thing – and while we were doing them, the hair and make-up girls and Greta asked me if I would consider not covering them up so much.

“I just thought it would have been a missed opportunity to not represent teenagers as they actually are.

“And I also don’t think it takes anything away from her either. You should do it – if you can and you’ve got the materials to do it, do it.”

Speaking about Gerwig’s nomination, Ronan said she hopes that a change is coming for female filmmakers.

She said: “There has to be. I really do think there is; I think with Lady Bird and with Wonder Woman (which was directed by Patty Jenkins) as well, because it was such a huge hit and such a big blockbuster, there will be a change.

“The conversation is just too big now to go away.

“And first and foremost, the best material has to be the stuff that gets made, but in order to make it as diverse as possible, women, for example, need to be able to get a meeting with the executive and kind of go, ‘Here’s my piece of work – now decide what you will, whether you think it’s good or not’.

“But there needs to be the option, at least.”

Ronan added that she feels the female-centric film is landing at a particularly interesting time.

She said: “It definitely does. I do think as well that the type of films that have come out over the last year are also a reflection on the massive, massive changes that we’ve all gone through in the last couple of years, politically and otherwise.

“The likes of Brexit and Trump and all this stuff has really affected all of us and our creativity and needing to go, ‘I have to say something’.

“So I think people were hungry for a film like this, without even realising it.

“And when it came along, the reaction we got to it was sort of like, ‘Why weren’t we doing this all along?’

“And it’s because, really, women wouldn’t have gotten in the door, and going, ‘I want to make this film about a teenage girl’ just wouldn’t have been plausible.

“But it does feel like this was the right time for it to come out.”

Lady Bird is released in selected UK cinemas on February 16 and nationwide on February 23.


More in this Section

Tributes paid after Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Roth dies at 85

Richard Gere to play media mogul in BBC drama

Lauryn Hill announces Dublin gig as she marks 20 years since The Miseducation

Will Smith to release Russia 2018 World Cup song – reports


Lifestyle

New father’s life ‘changed forever’ after he was run over by surgeon

The biggest cancer killer will take your breath away

Hopefully she had an idea...

Power of the press: Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks discuss 'The Post'

More From The Irish Examiner