Tomorrow night marks the first official hurrah of awards season: the Golden Globes Awards. And this year, we’re lucky in that we have quite a few of our own to root for, including Irish star of the acclaimed Outlander, Caitriona Balfe. It’s the second year running that the actress has been nominated for her role in the series, so it would be a thrill to see her take home the gong. Speaking to Vogue.com Balfe – who is a veteran when it comes to gliding up those carpeted runways thanks to her years of modelling – says also equally thrilling would be if interviewers would devote equal time to asking her about her craft – you’d swear the actresses nominated weren’t there to receive awards based on their work or something – as they would her fashion choice for the evening.
“It’s surreal. Here you are, at a celebration of your craft, and all people want to know is what you’re wearing. Again and again. And not just that, but even down to—talk about your nail polish! You don’t want to be rude, but. . . . I mean, I do appreciate, it’s a great marriage between entertainment and fashion, and I love that I get to borrow these incredible dresses, and designers—especially lesser-known ones, who I do like to support—get great PR out of it. But I do wish I had more opportunity to talk about that work. And not just that. I mean, one of the things that’s inspiring about playing Claire is that she’s this strong woman, standing up against chauvinism, and that’s really made me consider my own responsibilities, as someone who has a platform.”
That’s Balfe’s extremely polite way of saying she’d like you, Ryan Secrest and co, to scrap the trivial questioning. We all get a kick out of seeing the gowns – heck, we’ll be covering the festivities ourselves late tomorrow evening – but it’s about keeping a form of balance; less of Who Is Wearing What, more how they found their character. Remember back when Cate Blanchett called out a camera running up and down her body (see video above), asking “Do you do that to the guys?!” as a rallying cry for the media to objectify women less? This is the same thing. The male actors don’t get 20 minutes devoted to who made their tuxedos, after all. These amazingly talented women are made to feel lesser because they happen to be wearing a designer dress.
Balfe is keen to use her status as a public figure and place on these red carpets to take a stand on real issues that matter. “I realise some people object to the idea of actors expressing their political opinions, but we’re human beings living in this world, responding to what’s going on, and why shouldn’t we be able to take a stand on what we see as injustice?” And the 37-year-old explained that she’d like to take a stand on women’s reproductive rights.
“Well, if you watch Outlander you see stories about rape, about unwanted pregnancy, about women taking matters into their own hands, to provide a solution. To provide a choice. And in the meantime, you see bills like the one just passed in Ohio, where access to abortion services has been rolled back, and there’s no exception for rape or incest,” she said. “The thing that’s so odd to me about what’s happening in America, is that it goes against what we’re seeing in other places. I mean, I’m Irish, and in Ireland right now there’s a big movement to make it possible for women to get abortions in instances where their life is in danger—the laws there are so strict, even that’s not a given. There are women fighting for [greater] access to abortion in Poland. Do the women in America really want to go back to that?”