Following her Emmy win for her role as domestic abuse survivor Celeste in HBO’s miniseries Big Little Lies, Nicole Kidman is standing up for domestic violence survivors everywhere.
The 50-year-old Australian actress, who has been a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Fund for Women for the last decade, is speaking out and calling on women to “support and celebrate each other”. In a powerful letter for Porter magazine’s “Incredible Women” issue, she wrote,
“It never occurred to me that I should be at a disadvantage because I was born a girl. The idea that women and men are equal is part of my DNA. I was raised by a strong feminist mother and a fully supportive father.”
Kidman explains that it was her supportive parents and feminist roots that propelled her into supporting the cause since childhood. Her mother was part of the Women’s Electoral Lobby and would take a young Nicole to hand out pamphlets during elections.
“I remember listening, sort of not understanding but understanding there was a movement happening, that as women we were powerful together, that we needed to have equality. I was teased at school for my mum being a feminist. I just said, ‘OK, it doesn’t matter. I’ll stand up for what I believe in.”
The Oscar-winning actress called on women to support and celebrate each other while encouraging survivors of domestic violence to “reclaim their lives”. Kidman writes that there is no limit to what women can achieve, which is something she saw firsthand as Goodwill Ambassador.
“I have met women who had to overcome enormous obstacles, yet who went on to help others and organize to achieve social change. To me, these women embody resilience, strength, dignity—and hope.”
Kidman goes on to explain the difficulties of playing such a powerful role in the seven-part series. Her character Celeste is one of the all-female principal characters in Australian writer Liane Moriarty’s novel. The show, which was also produced entirely by women, took a toll on Kidman that she could not predict.
“It worked on my psyche in a way that I didn’t quite realize. As an actress, I don’t clock in and out; it does bleed in and sometimes it’s hard to process.”
Kidman explained that filming violent scenes repeatedly for the show traumatized her so much that she found herself diving deeper into her own pain. In one instance she threw a rock through the glass door of her home after filming. She said that it was hard for her husband to see her suffering physically and emotionally while working on the show, but she has felt more empathy for those who have to live it, and in return act with “the deepest, most real truth” she can find.
“It is in this role that I come to fully understand the barriers that women around the world are facing. I have focused on lending my voice to women who are survivors of violence. The stories I have heard from them have shaken me to the core and changed me forever.”