Why Carey Mulligan said no to Botox (aged just 23)

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Anna Brech
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Another day, another example of ludicrous Hollywood beauty standards. But could the tide be changing at last? 

As women, we face a myriad of unattainable pressures when it comes to physical appearance. And these expectations are magnified ten-fold in the surreal world of Hollywood.

Julia Roberts caused a stir when she revealed that - shock, horror - women have armpit hair at a premiere back in 1999. She probably hoped that, 20 years later, the situation would have changed.

Sadly not. But, a heartening move in the right direction comes from the actors who are now calling out ridiculous, narrow-minded definitions of beauty. 

Among them is The Great Gatsby star Carey Mulligan. In an interview with The Sunday Times today, Mulligan reveals that she was offered Botox at the ripe old age of 23 (around the time that she moved from TV to films).

Carey Mulligan was offered Botox aged 23

“Someone tried to give me Botox when I was 23,” Mulligan says. 

“I was bothered by the lines under my eyes, and went to see someone, hoping for a cream, but they said, ‘We can just put a bit of Botox in.’ And I replied, ‘My whole job is about me moving my face!’”

Which is a fair point, we think, and one conveniently ignored by the mass of directors/producers/agents who push for female actors to look “perfect”. 

Ten years later, and Mulligan’s face remains untouched by cosmetic surgery.

“At the moment my daughter’s favourite thing is to push my forehead together and shout, ‘Mummy, lines!’” she adds. 

“There is nothing like a little bit of toddler truth.”

In 2016, Alicia Keys declared a “no make-up revolution” 

Other actors to speak out against Hollywood beauty ideals include Zendaya, who recently said she felt like Hollywood’s “acceptable version of a black girl” and  Jennifer Lawrence, who has questioned the way her body is often described as “curvy”.

Meanwhile, Chloë Grace Moretz, says she considered breast implants after someone left a push-up bra in her trailer (she was 16 at time) and singer Alicia Keys decided to stop using make-up for a period, as a means of conquering the way she had internalised beauty pressures.

Beauty ideals are insidious, packaged up in all kinds of ways. Women, in particular, face a bombardment of racist, ageist, sexist and ultimately toxic messaging about how to present ourselves.

But with comeback from Mulligan and co., the tide is turning and the memo is clear: be you. Don’t do anything for anyone else.

Carey Mulligan’s new film Wildlife is out in November

Images: Getty


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.