Billie Piper on self-care, social media and what it means to be a woman in 2019

Posted by for People

Our guest editor – in her own revealing words..

In 2019, Billie Piper has challenged the perception of women moving through the world today.

After 21 years in the spotlight, over the past few months she has carved a distinct, important path, which has allowed her to create the projects she wants to make and challenge how she is represented – in a world where everyone thinks they know everything about you.

The film she directed and stars in, Rare Beasts – about a difficult woman in a difficult relationship, premiered at the prestigious Venice Film Festival at the end of August. She also announced the arrival of TV drama I Hate Suzie, co-created with writer Lucy Prebble, about a celebrity whose star is on the wane and has her phone hacked.

And, so, as she lays herself bare for the camera – totally make-up free and in complete control of all her own, unretouched self-portraits – we asked Billie to answer some questions that would get to the essence of who she is today and how she got here.

Billie in charge of her on self-portraits at the shoot.
Billie in charge of her on self-portraits at the shoot.

Billie Piper interviews Billie Piper

When I look in the mirror I see my grandmother.

As a child I was constantly busy and looking for employment.

The film I’ve watched the most is Cars.

I am not jealous of teens today.

Social media is a mostly negative experience.

The last time I proper ugly cried was… I can’t talk about it. Way too private.

Photoshoots make me feel like starving myself. (Just being honest.)

If I could change one thing about myself it would be fame as a teenager.

If I could change one thing about the world it would be child abuse.

The kindest thing anyone has said to me is you’re a great mum.

Billie took control in her no-makeup cover shoot.
Billie took control in her no-makeup cover shoot.

The last time I felt truly happy was this weekend celebrating my BF’s birthday with my kids.

In 10 years time I’d like to be alive and living my best self on planet earth.

In 20 years time I’d like to be proud we positively affected global warming for our children and theirs.

Wearing no make-up is a challenge.

My last supper would be very depressing.

I couldn’t get through the day without the health of my children, the love of Johnny Lloyd and my thyroid meds.

The next time I vote I hope there will be somebody worth getting behind.

Taking a selfie is an unnecessary stress.

Moving to London aged 15 was like life just beginning.

My simplest pleasure is beans on toast. With the shitty kind of bread.

Getting older is a relief.

The piece of art I would most like to own is Da Vinci’s The Last Supper – disturbing and beautiful.

When I wake up I take my thyroid meds and check the ’gram.

Love is mutual respect. ‘Treat them mean keep them keen’ is a load of horse shit.

As an actor I will always seek out women who are authentically written. At the risk of being unlikable.

As a director I long to tell my version of the truth even if it’s offensive. Which is often the case. My sister would say I can really switch.

The biggest misconception about me is… I don’t know what preconceptions people have of me.

My skin is unpredictable but made better by not smoking… or not always smoking.

Being naked is almost fine.

Billie's ultimate simple pleasure? Beans on toast.
Billie's ultimate simple pleasure? Beans on toast.

I am most myself when I let go of control.

I am most afraid of letting go of control.

Making decisions is my strong suit.

The best decision I have ever made is having kids.

The worst decision I have ever made is way too private even for this ‘Billie bares all’ vibe.

The approval of others is sometimes important to me.

I am most vulnerable when I am being honest.

I have given up day-time smoking. Codependent behaviour. Binge eating.

My inner voice is sound at its core.

I hate when people judge me for my class and my schooling.

I am stronger than a lot of haters out there.

I will never stop believing in being wholehearted.

I would like to apologise to myself for every time I abandoned myself and my self-care.

Loneliness is the death of us.

My mum told me that she would never tolerate us being bullies.

The last time I asked for help… I ask for help every day.

The book that has had the most impact on me is anything by Sylvia Plath.

The person who makes me laugh more than any other human is my mum.

I feel most alive when my children are telling me about their lives on the school run and when I’m on stage in a fucking great play – really having it!

I feel most at peace when I’m taking care of myself.

"The best decision I ever made was having kids."
"The best decision I ever made was having kids."

Being a woman today is as hard as it was yesterday. The landscape hasn’t changed that much really and although there are some glaring improvements there’s still a way to go. The world telling us we can have it all is very unhelpful. The reality is we can have one or two things successfully but that third thing will be seriously compromised and often that’s the relationships with our partners or our children and ultimately ourselves. Mic drop…

I Hate Suzie is on Sky Atlantic in 2020

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Photography: Tom Van Schelven 

Self-portraits: Billie Piper

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