07/08/2013 09:41 am ET

Toni Collette Talks Authentic Female Characters And The Two 'Most Ignored Parts Of Our Being'


It's hard to decide when we first really fell in love with Toni Collette. Was it when she played the title role in the Australian cult classic "Muriel's Wedding"? Or Gwyneth Paltrow's naive friend in "Emma"? Or the mother in "About A Boy"? Collette has made a name for herself portraying raw, awkward, complex female characters -- and she has some pretty fabulous thoughts on why such characters are so important for women to watch on-screen.

In an interview with Refinery29, Collette discussed her latest film, "The Way, Way Back," as well as the way women are treated in the media and our society's obsession with looks.

Collette, who has often portrayed characters who are not seen as traditionally beautiful, spoke about the disproportionate importance placed on women being pretty:

I think [our obsession with appearance] insane. I believe in nurturing the inner world. I believe the more important thing is your mind and your heart. Those two things are the most ignored parts of our beings. I think there’s a huge imbalance in where the focus is placed in today’s society, absolutely. The people who are most attractive to me are those who feel most comfortable in their skin -- there’s a sense of self-acceptance. Some of the characters I’ve played have not felt comfortable in themselves, and so there’s a physical counterpart to that.

She also talked about why she chooses roles that feel messy and authentic:

[It's important to play female characters that feel] real in any way, whether it’s awkward or not, because like it or not, art is a reflection of us, and how we chose to live, and that is fantastic. Now, the media has other agendas: It’s not about reflecting humanity, it’s about dictatorship and being dogmatic in telling people how to dress, how to look, what to say, what to do with your life, how to spend your time, everything.

Preach, Toni.

Click over to Refinery29 to read the full interview.



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