Florence Pugh has no qualms about “laying it all out”—even if her critics do.
In a new interview with Elle UK (which was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike), the Oppenheimer star opened up about feeling comfortable with her body and addressed the backlash over her affinity for sheer red-carpet dressing.
“I speak the way I do about my body because I’m not trying to hide the cellulite on my thigh or the squidge in between my arm and my boob: I would much rather lay it all out,” she told the magazine. “I think the scariest thing for me are the instances where people have been upset that I’ve shown ‘too much’ of myself.”
Pugh recalled the viral hot-pink naked gown she wore to Valentino’s Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 show last July. “When everything went down with the Valentino pink dress a year ago, my nipples were on display through a piece of fabric, and it really wound people up. It’s the freedom that people are scared of; the fact I’m comfortable and happy,” she said. “Keeping women down by commenting on their bodies has worked for a very long time. I think we’re in this swing now where lots of people are saying, ‘I don’t give a shit.’”
She continued, “Unfortunately, we’ve become so terrified of the human body that we can’t even look at my two little cute nipples behind fabric in a way that isn’t sexual. We need to keep reminding everybody that there is more than one reason for women’s bodies [to exist].”
Pugh previously reflected on the controversial Valentino look for Harper’s Bazaar’s September 2022 cover story.
“I was comfortable with my small breasts,” she said at the time. “And showing them like that—it aggravated [people] that I was comfortable. … It was just alarming, how perturbed they were. They were so angry that I was confident, and they wanted to let me know that they would never wank over me. Well, don’t.”
Since the controversy, Pugh has continued to rely on see-through clothing to make a fashion statement, making sheer pieces one of her signature wardrobe staples.
Pugh also talked to Elle UK about the evolution of her style.
“I think I’ve always been interested in wearing loud clothing. When I was a teenager, I would buy the most outrageous things and sew them together. I’ve always loved colour. I’ve always wanted to be bold and make a bit of a scene—I don’t think that’s gone away,” she said. “When I first started doing red carpets, it was really tough. It takes ages to feel comfortable with 50 men all shouting, ‘Picture, over here!’ I’ve become more confident in the last few years, and I think that’s hugely linked to the clothes I’ve been wearing. The more you can enjoy it, the more [people] can see that you’re enjoying it.”
Digital Associate Editor
As an associate editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, Chelsey keeps a finger on the pulse on all things celeb news. She also writes on social movements, connecting with activists leading the fight on workers’ rights, climate justice, and more. Offline, she’s probably spending too much time on TikTok, rewatching Emma (the 2020 version, of course), or buying yet another corset.