Olivia Colman: Stella McCartney cape helped me overcome ‘crippling’ nerves

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Olivia Colman wore the cape at the Venice Film Festival last year

Actress Olivia Colman has revealed how wearing a flowing Stella McCartney cape helped her deal with a fear of public events that “crippled her”.

Colman, soon to be seen as Queen Elizabeth II in The Crown, told US Vogue the breakthrough came at last year’s Venice Film Festival.

“I’d always used clothes as a sort of mask,” she said. “I discovered they can make you feel strong and powerful.”

“I felt, ‘I can do this, I can do this’.”

Colman had been at the festival promoting The Favourite, in which she played another British monarch, Queen Anne.

The role went on to earn her the best actress award at both the Oscars and the Baftas – but, despite her success, Colman told Vogue she had always struggled with confidence.

“I look up pictures of myself as a teenager, and I think I was gorgeous. But I didn’t feel that,” she said.

“All those little comments through those precious years can have long-lasting negative effects. You see images of a perfect person and say, ‘I can never be that’.”

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Claire Foy played the Queen in two series of The Crown

But now, she said, she had learned to dismiss negative comments, “because I’m quite a nice person to be with, actually”.

Season three of The Crown, Netflix’s hit series following the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, sees Colman replace Claire Foy in the starring role, charting a period where the monarch grows in confidence and takes full command of her realm.

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Olivia Colman takes over the role of Elizabeth II in the next two seasons of The Crown

Colman said she had been nervous about taking over from Foy, who had become synonymous with the role over the first two series.

“I sort of tried to imagine how Claire would do it,” she said. “But I’m not actually the queen and I’m not actually Claire Foy.”

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