Emily Atack talks loneliness, self-love and why she’s over trying to be perfect

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Helen Bownass
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Five Minute Philosopher is a weekly series in which Stylist gets profound with people we love. What will the actor and author Emily Atack make of our existential questions?

What is the meaning of life?

A healthy and happy family. Eat the pizza, drink the rosé, finish that book, hug your mum.

What is the difference between right and wrong?

About four glasses of wine.

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Where is your happy place?

Home. Back in the countryside, dancing in my aunt’s living room with my cousins.

Nature or nurture?


Is it more important to be liked or respected?

Respected – although there are some fantastic people I really, really like but don’t necessarily respect [Laughs].

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

I’d like for people to remember that I always did my best to show that it’s OK to not be perfect.

Who or what is your greatest love?

My family.

When did you last lie?

When I told myself I would go to the gym before I went to work a few days ago.

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Does the supernatural exist?

I have a good faith and often pray – not always to God – but I do have a belief that there is something far greater than me, and I actually call upon it often for advice and guidance. I also believe in mermaids.

Are you fatalistic?

I think some things might be written in the stars, but I do also think that some things happen because I’ve made them happen.

What is your greatest fear?

God, this sounds quite sad, but I would say being lonely. I enjoy being around people, so being on my own forever would be quite scary for me. 

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Animals or babies?

Babies. But once I started living on my own I decided I would quite like a kitten – I’d call her Lady Grey.

What talent do you yearn for?

I’d really love to be able to play the drums.

Do you like to be complimented?

Yes. My mum tells me off if I don’t accept a compliment. If someone says you look nice, say thank you rather than, “Oh my god, no I don’t!”

Do you have a high pain threshold?

I would say no. I do get a little dramatic when I’ve accidently hurt myself, though.

What book do you recommend most to others?

Milk And Honey by Rupi Kaur, beautiful poems for the soul, and Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love – she perfectly sums up my generation.

Which lesson has been the hardest to learn?

That sometimes some people and some things are just not meant for you.

What food sums up happiness?


What have you never understood?

Trolling. It baffles me. You see men in their 50s with their children in their profile pictures commenting something hideous on your Instagram and it blows my mind.

Dolly Alderton’s memoir makes Emily feel seen

What is the one thing you want to know before you die?

Will there ever be a boy that can swim faster than a shark? (I stole this from The Office).

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die?

I believe in heaven.

Quinoa or Quavers?

I feel I should say quinoa, but throw me a packet of Quavers any day. 

Emily Atack’s documentary Adulting is on Wednesdays, 10pm, W Channel

Images: supplied, Instagram 


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Helen Bownass

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