jemima kirke strips down to her underwear to discuss self-acceptance

'I think I have a safety in feeling trapped, but I have an allergy to it too,' the artist and actress says in a revealing new interview.

by Hannah Ongley
17 January 2017, 7:57pm

Jemima Kirke is not Jessa Johansson — she's a mother, she doesn't pee on the sidewalk, she's a respected artist, and yet she's still frequently plagued by feelings of fear and inadequacy. In other words, she's a human woman, and not just a character on a hit TV show. Kirke has now opened up about her struggle with self-acceptance while stripping down for StyleLikeU, and describes how working on Girls and being thrust into the spotlight messed with her confidence in multiple, sometimes conflicting ways. "One of the reasons I was hired for Girls was because of a persona that I have, and some sort of brightness they wanted in the show," she says. "It wasn't an ability I had. That made me both feel shitty about myself, and gave me a big ego."

Kirke says she often encounters people who ascribed to her the same carefree, DGAF attitude of Jessa, while actually this couldn't be further from the truth. "I have a healthy outlook to what people think about me but I'm not this sort of free spirit, by any means," she reveals. "I am riddled with neurosis, self-loathing, fear, and feeling inadequate. I have confidence in areas. My abilities I'm not confident in." 

One of the most emotional moments comes when Kirke explains how confidence issues have affected her life as a mother. Kirke has been an important voice in advocating for women's health and reproductive rights, issues she is all too aware of as someone who has both terminated and gone through with pregnancies she did not feel adequately prepared for. "'If I have a baby, then I can't make art, and I can't go out there and do these things — I'm restricted.' I think I have a safety in feeling trapped, but I have an allergy to it too," she bravely recalls of her misguided reasoning when she fell pregnant with her first daughter and deciding to keep the baby. "I was still going through my 20s with her as a toddler, and there was something that felt unfair about that to her. I wasn't ready to stay home every night, and I didn't have the patience, because I still had a lot of self-centeredness." 

As our rights look increasingly uncertain in today's political climate, it's refreshing to be reminded that even the most badass women suffer from fear and self-doubt. Watch Kirke's interview above and read more of her thoughts on motherhood here


Text Hannah Ongley

Jemima Kirke