Acclaimed actress Isabelle Huppert, 65, has appeared in more than 120 films since her debut in 1971, including her Golden Globe-winning turn in Elle in 2016, and The Piano Teacher, for which she won Best Actress at Cannes in 2001. She is also the most-nominated actress of the César Award, France’s national film award. Here, she considers the gender pay gap and the privilege of time with LUX Associate Editor Kitty Harris
1. As a woman in film, knowing that men are paid more than their counterparts, do you think things will change?
Yes of course, you can always wish for change, because obviously it’s a worldwide fact that women have still a lot to gain. When I started as an actress, I did everything possible to fight for myself. In a way, fighting for myself was fighting for women in general, but I always felt I had to be in a certain position in the films I was doing.
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2. What’s your greatest fear for future generations?
I think it’s more and more difficult to find a focus. Sometimes I see very young people having difficulty finding an aim in life. I don’t know why that is, maybe because there are too many options or not enough in certain fields. But I hope it’s only temporary in their lives.
3. How did you balance work with raising children?
I’m in a very privileged situation. It’s a lot more difficult for women who have to fight for time and to navigate with money problems. It’s a problem in everybody’s life to run after time, to consider that life is too short and days are too short to put everything together, but it wasn’t a problem for me.
4. Do you feel social media is enhancing or damaging our society?
I don’t know what to think about it, but it’s not important to my life. I have to say I am aware of it, of course – you have to live within your time and you cannot completely ignore it. Although I know some people do ignore it and, in a way, I praise them for being completely ignorant of it. It’s so difficult now to keep things private and secret. Everything is so much more exposed and open to interpretation and therefore, misunderstandings. It doesn’t only propagate bad; it’s great to be kept politically informed about how people experience difficulties and tragedies around the world. I wouldn’t choose whether it is good or bad. You can also take it as a game.
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5. Has there ever been a moment in your career where you have been misunderstood or misinterpreted?
There is always a misunderstanding, but you have to live with it – there is nothing you can do about it. Especially for life as an actress, you have a certain image through the roles you play and some of it is true and part of it is untrue, but that comes with the territory. The public side to it necessarily creates a kind of misunderstanding.
6. What for you are the biggest social worries at the moment?
Well, [my worry] is the same as it has always been – but maybe it’s more obvious now – the imbalance between wealthy countries and non-wealthy countries. And with all the movement with migrants, it looks like it’s getting worse and worse.
This article originally appeared in The Beauty Issue. Click here to view more content from the issue