During the last Canneséries festival, the actress Gillian Anderson received the Variety Icon Award for her career. A well-deserved distinction for the actress who, throughout her life, has played characters as unorthodox as they are strong, including the iconic Dana Scully who, together with her sidekick Fox Mulder, the two heroes of The X-Files, sent shivers down the spine of a whole generation of viewers. However, it was on stage that the young actress, born in Chicago in 1968, took her first steps. In 1990, she landed her first major role in the Broadway play Absent Friends, a performance that earned her a Theater World Award. It was only three years later that the actress’s career (who had sworn she would never appear on the small screen) really took off with the cult part of the enigmatic Dana Scully, for which she won several awards. But Gillian Anderson's career goes beyond the series that turned her into a star. On the silver screen, she has appeared in The Last King of Scotland (2006) and Shadow Dancer (2012), while she performed on stage in A Doll's House in 2009 and A Streetcar Named Desire in 2014. Now, at the age of 53, she has become the face of Chloé. The actress still has surprises in store for us...
1. A sensational comeback at 50
The end of the world-famous series The X-Files in 2002 did not mean the end of Gillian Anderson's career. Far from it: the actress has lately been playing offbeat and exciting roles. In 2021, in season 3 of American Gods, Gillian Anderson plays Media, a goddess who takes on the traits of great pop icons. Agent Scully's impeccable hairdo gives way to the iconic red hair of rock legend David Bowie and American 1960s cult actress Lucille Ball. In the series Sex Education, she plays the hero's uninhibited sex therapist mother. A role that echoes that of the shrink she played brilliantly in Hannibal in 2013. As a pop goddess, a shrink who looks like a femme fatale or an intrusive mother, Gillian Anderson is a real chameleon. Indeed, she is also charismatic in historical roles, such as the Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher in the series The Crown, for which she won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in 2021, or Eleanor Roosevelt in The First Lady (2022).
2. An aspiring author
Not content with being a well-known actress, Gillian Anderson is also a writer. After her saga, the first volume of which, A Vision of Fire, a science fiction thriller about a child psychologist co-written with Jeff Rovi, was released in 2014, Gillian Anderson published a new lifestyle oriented book in 2017: We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere, a self-help book. The actress, who has been in therapy since the age of 14, explains that she was inspired by her own struggles: "I have struggled with self-esteem myself. And in looking at the ways that I have dealt with overcoming those things, I started to think that maybe some of it might be potentially useful for other people of all ages", she told The Guardian while promoting her book. In this intimate interview, the mother of three revealed that she suffers from poor memory. During the casting of the historical film Viceroy's House (2017), which tells the story of India's accession to independence, the actress admits to having called on a history teacher to help her better understand the context of the film: “But it was a disaster. I couldn’t remember a thing he taught me. (...) You know, even my favourite books, I couldn’t tell you what they were about. It’s always been that way."
3. A woman who embraces her age
Gillian Anderson is now 53 years old, has three children and is as radiant as at the beginning of her career. Authentic and uninhibited, like her character of the "MILF" sex therapist without taboos in the series Sex Education, she confided in 2016 the secret of her success (self-acceptance) to Net-a-Porter: "I'm not perfect you know? I have flabby thighs, I'm aging and I'm 5'3". A confidence and frankness that did not prevent the actress from being under the spotlight of British tabloids. Indeed, in early 2016, the Daily Mail claimed that the star had undergone plastic surgery on her face, which she quickly denied. "I'm not necessarily anti-surgery, I'm anti the shame that is attached to women who make that choice, rightly or wrongly, in their own mind", she told the Telegraph in September of that year. Her natural and authentic beauty has seduced not only women in the 90s but also Gabriela Hearst, artistic director of Chloé, as she has just become the muse of the house, after the actress Lucy Boynton.