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Florence Pugh on body shaming: I’m comfortable and happy, that scares people

British actress Florence Pugh said people are scared of the fact that she is “comfortable and happy” in her own skin, because “keeping women down by commenting on their bodies has worked for a very long time”.

Pugh, 27, said she is not afraid to show cellulite on her thigh or “squidge in between my arm and my boob” and would instead prefer to “lay it all out” over hiding herself away.

Pugh, who stirred up controversy last year when she wore a sheer pink gown through which her nipples were visible, to a Valentino fashion show, told fellow actress Jodie Turner-Smith for the October issue of Elle UK: “I think the scariest thing for me are the instances where people have been upset that I’ve shown ‘too much’ of myself.

Florence Pugh
Florence Pugh on the cover of Elle UK (Elle UK/Danny Kasirye/PA)

“When everything went down with the Valentino pink dress a year ago, my nipples were on display through a piece of fabric, and it really wound people up.

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“It’s the freedom that people are scared of, the fact I’m comfortable and happy. Keeping women down by commenting on their bodies has worked for a very long time.

“I think we’re in this swing now where lots of people are saying, ‘I don’t give a shit’.

“Unfortunately, we’ve become so terrified of the human body that we can’t even look at my two little cute nipples behind fabric in a way that isn’t sexual.”

Pugh said society needs to be continually reminded that there is “more than one reason for women’s bodies (to exist)”.

Florence Pugh
Florence Pugh will receive the British Icon award at the Elle Style Awards on September 5 (Elle UK/Danny Kasirye/PA)

The film star, known for her roles in Midsommar, Little Women and Oppenheimer, said she always wanted to “make a bit of a scene” with her bold clothing choices.

“When I was a teenager I would buy the most outrageous things and sew them together. I’ve always loved colour,” she said.

“When I first started doing red carpets, it was really tough. It takes ages to feel comfortable with 50 men all shouting ‘Picture, over here!’

“I’ve become more confident in the last few years, and I think that’s hugely linked to the clothes I’ve been wearing.

“The more you can enjoy it, the more (people) can see that you’re enjoying it.”

Florence Pugh
Florence Pugh arrives for the UK premiere of Oppenheimer (Ian West/PA)

It comes as Pugh is to receive the British Icon award at the Elle Style awards 2023 on September 5.

The actress also said she surrounds herself with those who mock her to avoid the “slippery slope” of constant approval in the industry.

“Having people that can take the piss out of me around me keeps me very real,” she added.

“Knowing who I am, and who I’ve been from the very beginning, has allowed me to feel safe. There’s no grand reveal – it’s just me. Even in my style, I never wanted there to be a filter.”

The actress previously defended the 21-year age gap between her and former partner Zach Braff, a filmmaker and actor best known for playing JD in TV medical comedy Scrubs, after receiving criticism.