Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Alexis Bledel on suffering impostor syndrome on The Handmaid’s Tale

handmaids-tale-alexis-bledel-impostor-syndrome.jpg

Have you ever felt as if you’re blushing and bluffing your way through the working day? Have you doubted your own worth? And has some small secret voice from deep within yourself ever whispered not-so-sweet nothings in your ear?  “One day they’re going to find out that you don’t know anything,” it insists, “and that’ll be it for you.”

You’re not alone: ‘impostor syndrome’ affects plenty of us on a daily basis – and it can strike anyone, no matter how successful or famous they are. Even Alexis Bledel, who has received critical acclaim for her role in The Handmaid’s Tale, has now admitted that she felt afraid to work alongside Elisabeth Moss and the rest of the show’s star-studded cast.


Read more: Sophie Walker reveals how she overcame impostor syndrome


As Ofglen, Bledel is one of the most compelling characters in the TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book – and was involved in a number of the show’s most disturbing (and important) scenes.

The last time we saw her, she was being led away by the Eyes after stealing a car and running down a Gileadean soldier in front of her fellow Handmaids. Her fate seemed certain: after all, they had already mutilated her genitals for being a “gender traitor” – surely they would execute her off-screen for her new crimes?

Well, as it turns out, Ofglen is alive (although we hesitate to say ‘and well’) – which means that, yes, Bledel will be returning for the second season of the show. Better still, the former Gilmore Girls star is being bumped up from guest star to series regular, which means that we will get to know far more about her tortured character than ever before.

“I can’t believe I get to come back,” she revealed happily on Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Alexis Bledel at the premiere of The Handmaid's Tale

Alexis Bledel at the premiere of The Handmaid's Tale

Talk soon turned to her powerful scenes in the show – particularly those filmed while she was wearing the “gender traitor” mask – and Meyers praised Bledel for telling such an incredible story using only her eyes.

“It looked as if the top half of your face had been waiting your whole life for that,” he laughed, “Because…”

However Bledel cut him off, saying: “I think it was the fear of being the weakest link on such an amazing show.”

Meyers, taken aback by Bledel’s admission, responded: “Oh, that’s interesting. I never thought about that, but when you’re watching everybody else crush it, you must [worry].”

Nodding emphatically, Bledel replied: “Yeah, you’re kind of charged with that ‘don’t mess this up’ feeling.”


Read more: The real story of The Handmaid’s Tale is written in the soundtrack


Warming to the theme, Meyers joked: “On any cast, someone’s going to be the worst one.”

“I don’t know,” laughed Bledel. “I mean, yeah, I think everyone on the show is amazing, luckily. But it’s definitely a very real fear.”

Bledel is not the first woman in the spotlight to address her impostor syndrome – and we doubt she will be the last. In 2016, Lupita Nyong’o shared her own self-doubt with Time Out: saying: “What’s it called when you have a disease and it keeps recurring? I go through [acute impostor syndrome] with every role. I think winning an Oscar may in fact have made it worse. Now I’ve achieved this, what am I going to do next? What do I strive for?

“Then I remember that I didn’t get into acting for the accolades, I got into it for the joy of telling stories.” 

Emma Watson, similarly, told Rookie: It’s almost like the better I do, the more my feeling of inadequacy actually increases, because I’m just going, ‘Any moment, someone’s going to find out I’m a total fraud, and that I don’t deserve any of what I’ve achieved. I can’t possibly live up to what everyone thinks I am and what everyone’s expectations of me are’. 

“It’s weird — sometimes [success] can be incredibly validating, but sometimes it can be incredibly unnerving and throw your balance off a bit, because you’re trying to reconcile how you feel about yourself with how the rest of the world perceives you.” 

Emma Watson has also confessed to suffering from impostor syndrome

Emma Watson has also confessed to suffering from impostor syndrome

And even Jodie Foster, in her interview with 60 Minutes, said she thought winning her Oscar for The Accused was “a big fluke”.

“I thought it was a big fluke. The same way when I walked on the campus at Yale, I thought everybody would find out, and then they’d take the Oscar back.”


Read more: The Handmaid’s Tale fans, here’s what really happens to Ofglen in the book


Bledel, though, hopes that she can use her self-doubt to try and improve herself – and to help her select the projects she is most passionate about.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she said: “More than anything, I just think about what roles I take on, and make sure that it's really something that I feel passionate about if I'm going to leave home and go work.

“I just want to love what I'm doing.”

Images: Channel 4

More

Oscar-nominated director accused of sexual harassment by 31 women

“He told me he'd love nothing more than to masturbate while looking into my eyes”

by Susan Devaney
23 Oct 2017

Rebecca Black on the “intense nastiness” and abuse of her early fame

She was just 13 years old when her music video went viral

by Nicola Colyer
23 Oct 2017

Chrissy Teigen is a Clueless fangirl just like the rest of us

She did what we’d all do

by Susan Devaney
23 Oct 2017

Bridget Jones star Sarah Solemani: women need protection in auditions

The Bad Education actor recalls being asked to act out intimate scenes

by Amy Swales
23 Oct 2017

Kate Hudson on the unique harassment faced by women in Hollywood

“It feels horrible. It’s degrading. It’s dismissive. So much needs to change”

by Moya Crockett
23 Oct 2017

Jennifer Aniston reveals the £18 secret behind her iconic hair

And it's extremely low-effort

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Oct 2017

This is why Paloma Faith has never revealed her baby’s name

She welcomed her first child in December 2016, but has chosen not to publicise its name or sex

by Kayleigh Dray
23 Oct 2017

This massive star was very nearly in Hocus Pocus

Oh sisters, how very different things could have been

by Nicola Colyer
20 Oct 2017

Quentin Tarantino on not doing more to stop Harvey Weinstein

“I knew enough to do more than I did”

by Nicola Colyer
20 Oct 2017

Lupita Nyong’o says she was harassed by Harvey Weinstein as a student

“He told me not to be so naïve. If I wanted to be an actress, then I had to be willing to do this sort of thing.”

by Moya Crockett
20 Oct 2017