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Bella Ramsey ‘angry’ over emphasis on actors’ looks: ‘It should be about talent’

Exclusive: Star says they know “phenomenal actors” for whom appearance is “literally one of the barriers - it really bothers me”

By Jamie Tabberer

Bella Ramsey in The Last Of Us (Image: HBO)
Bella Ramsey in The Last Of Us (Image: HBO)

Bella Ramsey has reflected on the emphasis on actors’ looks, saying the focus makes them “so angry” and that it is the one thing about the industry they’d like to change.

The Last of Us star discussed the matter in a recent interview with Attitude to mark their inclusion in BAFTA’s 2023 Breakthrough UK programme.

The 20-year-old – who also spoke about the “scary” film they’re writing and hoping to direct – said they know “several” actors who have faced industry barriers because of their appearance.

“It should be about talent rather than how they look” – Bella Ramsey on actors’ success

Asked what they would change about the industry as a result of the BAFTA opportunity, they replied: “That is a big question. I would change the emphasis on people’s appearance.

“I have several friends who are phenomenal actors who want to break into the industry, but because of their appearance, that’s literally one of the barriers. It makes me so angry.”

The Game of Thrones star furthermore added: “Why does it matter? It should be about their talent rather than how they look. That really bothers me. I’d love for that to change.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Bella told us: “I started writing [my first feature film] when I was 14. It centres around mental health. But I don’t want it to be ‘this is a mental health movie’. That’s the balancing act I’m working on.

“It’s a bit scary, I’d say. I think mental health can often be quite scary. It centres around this girl with an eating disorder, and it’s done in an interesting, slightly spooky way.”

Bella’s other screen credits include Catherine Called Birdy and the BBC TV shows Time and Worst Witch. In 2024, the star will film season two of The Last Of Us, co-starring Pedro Pascal.

BAFTA Breakthrough is supported by Netflix.