At Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards 2022, Suranne Jones was presented with the award for Actor of the Year – and her acceptance speech gave an insight into the powerful impact of representation.
From the stories we read and the images we consume to the world leaders we see giving speeches on the news, the phrase ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ is one that touches all of our lives in some form. Whether we’re aware of it or not, representation is integral to informing us about who we are and who we can be – which is why the proliferation of diverse stories in TV and film is always worth celebrating.
Suranne Jones is someone that knows as much, and when she accepted her award for Actor of the Year at Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards to celebrate the outstanding achievements of the world’s most inspiring women, she shared how representation has taken on a fresh meaning in her own life as a result of her brilliant roles.
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Remarkable Women Awards 2022: Suranne Jones wins Actor of the Year
Taking to the stage for her acceptance speech, Jones explained that she made three shows during the pandemic – I Am Victoria, Vigil and Gentleman Jack – all of which allowed her to connect with the public in very different ways.
The first show, I Am Victoria, which follows a mother of two driven to the brink by the pressure she puts on herself to be perfect in every aspect of her life, enabled Jones to explore her “own struggles with mental health”.
“Victoria enabled me to represent women who are struggling and also to be able to say on a podcast with Fearne Cotton that I was taking medication and admit that and be OK with that,” she began. “And know that I was doing that so I could be my authentic self and have resilience in this world.”
Speaking about Vigil, Jones went on to express her joy at watching the “Goggleboxers shouting ‘F*ck!’ as I was stuck in a torpedo tube”.
It was after completing filming on the second season of Gentleman Jack, however, that Jones came to a powerful realisation about how the representation of a lesbian woman on the small screen had manifested in the lives of viewers.
“It’s wonderful to portray Anne Lister, who was a remarkable woman,” Jones acknowledged.
“At the launch [of season two] the other day, hearing women come up to me and say that they feel represented and that Gentleman Jack changed their lives and it started conversations within their family and they were able to come out and they were able to talk about gender.
“I just feel so overwhelmed receiving this and [the fact] I’m getting this because of shows I made during the pandemic – it means so much.”
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For more on the winners and the awards check out the Remarkable Women Awards hub here.
Images: Dave Benett/Getty
Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.