Jessica Barden hits out at ‘posh actors’

The actress grew up in a working-class family in North Yorkshire.
The actress grew up in a working-class family in North Yorkshire.

Jessica Barden has hit out at “posh actors” and said her working-class background has previously limited the roles she has been offered.

The 30-year-old actress hails from North Yorkshire and first gained widespread recognition for her role in Channel 4 comedy drama The End Of The F****** World.

Speaking to The Sunday Times Culture magazine, Barden reflected on how her working class upbringing has affected her career, saying: “I hate words like gritty or feisty.

“Gritty means working class and feisty means you have an opinion.

“I die inside when I read them.

“Emma Corrin finished playing Diana (in The Crown) and said they wanted to do a ‘gritty’ independent film in Scotland with an ‘outrageous accent’ and red hair.

“I was, like, why are you allowed to talk like this?

“How is working-class tourism still OK for posh actors?

“I’m from Yorkshire.

“I get a script for a gritty working-class woman, and it means I’m playing somebody being abused.”

Barden was born in Northallerton to her father, a prison officer, and mother, an accountant.

The actress, who now lives in Los Angeles with her husband, American screenwriter Max Winkler, went on to star as a college dropout in Pink Skies Ahead, a young woman working in a dangerous scrap metal yard in Holler and a student romantically involved with her teacher in Scarborough.

British Independent Film Awards 2019 – London
Jessica Barden (Matt Crossick/PA)

Reflecting on her experience of being on set, Barden added: “”I was one of the only young working-class actors – at least I didn’t meet others…

“There’s a lot of self-protection that a working-class woman has to do in this industry – you are very vulnerable.

“I was 16 when I moved to London to do Jerusalem and I lived alone.

“I didn’t know anything about the industry.”

Barden played the role of teenager Pea Gibbons, who emerged drunk from underneath a caravan in the 2009 show of Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem at London’s Royal Court Theatre.