Entertainment & Arts

Suki Waterhouse: Life as a woman is 'pretty hardcore right now'

Suki Waterhouse Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Suki Waterhouse is all smiles on the red carpet

Speaking to Suki Waterhouse on a rainy day in London, you might expect her to be doing something exciting, like a photo shoot for a modelling campaign or a fitting for her next red carpet appearance.

"I just went to see my accountant actually, which was a sobering meeting for a Monday afternoon," she jokes.

"It wasn't very glamorous but I did go to the Evening Standard theatre awards last night, which was great."

At 26, Suki has modelled for the likes of Burberry and Balenciaga, appeared on the covers of British Vogue, US Marie Claire and launched a film and TV career too.

'It feels pretty hardcore'

She says that the current climate makes it difficult to be a young woman, not just in the industry, but for anyone navigating through life.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Suki Waterhouse modelled for Burberry in 2017

"When you're a girl there are so many things thrown at you, maybe it's something women have always had but it feels pretty hardcore right now," she tells the BBC.

"It struck me that we're in a time where you're not really sure if you can want a boyfriend, and listen to Lana Del Rey at the same time or want to get married and watch porn.

"It's quite rough - there's the things you're expected to eat, you're supposed to be independent, and to have a great personal life / work life balance."

Image copyright NEON
Image caption Abra, Odessa Young, Hari Nef and Suki Waterhouse star in Assassination Nation

Suki, who had a role in 2015 teen thriller film Insurgent, describes her latest movie, Assassination Nation, as a "coming of age comedy and fun slasher movie".

It's no coincidence that it's set in Salem, with the events of the thriller echoing the historic witch hunts, with the added twist of social media and its ability to wreak modern-day havoc.

Suki says she was drawn to the film because of the characters - she plays 17-year-old Sarah, who navigates life alongside her three best friends Lily (Odessa Young), Bex (Hari Nef) and Em (Abra).

"I know the word imperfect is used a lot, but they're kind of freaky these girls," she says.

'I was hooked'

"I felt like I could relate to that more, these characters were closer to how you talk with your friends.

"I was intrigued by how Sam [director, Sam Levinson], an older man, had managed to immerse himself into a young teenage girl's mind and taken it over.

"Everything you want to know about how young girls might talk or the thoughts they have has never been easier to find out - you just have to read a fan fiction or go on Instagram.

"I was hooked and thought it was funny and clever."

Instagram 'not real life'

The film parodies modern day America, especially in the way it presents social media and the ability to spread fake news online.

Suki talks about the way the film's characters are ostracised because they are perceived as different, and says what happens to them is worryingly ever-present in the real world too.

Image copyright NEON
Image caption Assassination Nation is a dark comedy/thriller exploring teenage life in America

She describes Instagram, which last year was voted as the worst social media platform for young people's mental health, as a "strange hologram".

"If I was to think of an ideal Instagram, there's a sheen over it - it doesn't really reflect life at all," Suki says.

"You can't ever hope to capture someone's soul through social media - it's impossible."

Waterhouse is not one of those who seems fully on board with living her life online, and seems concerned by the lack of guidance young people currently receive.

"No one's getting an education on [social media] - it's not getting taught," she says.

"My Instagram would be a lot more interesting if I did take pictures of everything I was doing - it's pretty watered down and boring!"

"I actually feel safer in making my life seem more bland at the moment."

The actress says she deliberately plays it safe online through fear of being trolled: "We're in a strange time where everyone is being encouraged to use your voice.

"But I feel afraid because of the righteousness on the internet - it makes me want to shrink away a little bit more."

'Bit of a warzone'

Suki may appear to live an impossibly glamorous life, but is keen to tell her 1.4 million Instagram followers, that, really, life can be anything but.

"For me, I know that these are pictures of a girl who looks like me who goes to the places I go but it's not a representation really of me.

"It's a bit of a warzone, maybe in the future I'll want to express more."

But for now, it's back to meeting the accountant.

Assassination Nation is released in the UK on Friday 23 November.

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