Joanne Froggatt: I do not know why turning 40 is seen as a negative for women

Actress Joanne Froggatt has said she is “proud” to be a woman over the age of 40 and does not understand why reaching the milestone is seen as a “negative” for women.

The Downton Abbey star told the Reign With Josh Smith podcast she gets asked questions about her looks and her plans to have children that would not be directed at her male colleagues.

She added she would like to be judged on her humour, personality, intelligence and achievements rather than her appearance.

Froggatt, 41, told the podcast: “From the age of about 38, 37, whenever I’ve been doing publicity for my work or anything else, I’ve been constantly asked, ‘Oh, are you going to have children? When are you having children? Or how are you feeling about turning 40?’

“Also about my looks and how I feel about the way I look constantly and do I feel I’m attractive enough?

“Honestly with men, and I’m not just saying this as a sweeping statement, I can guarantee it, I don’t think any man I’ve ever worked with – because I ask them all the time, all my male colleagues think this is ridiculous – they never get asked those questions.

“I haven’t found a man yet that has been asked those questions.”

BAFTA Breakthrough Brits 2016
Joanne Froggatt is currently starring in psychological thriller Angela Black (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Froggatt added: “What do you want me to do? Stick a paper bag on my head and never leave the house as soon as I turn 40?

“I’m so happy in my own skin. I’m definitely the most comfortable with myself I’ve ever been after turning 40.

“I’m proud of it. I’m wiser. I’ve had so many wonderful and not so wonderful life experiences and so many more things to hopefully pass on. I feel good about that.

“I don’t know why that’s a negative? It’s like as women, we still have to be reduced to whether we’re attractive to other human beings or not because really when it comes down to it, when you get over 40, will you still be attractive?

“Well, you know what, I’m more than that actually. I’d like to be judged on my sense of humour, my personality, my intelligence, my talent, the things I’ve achieved.”

Froggatt also revealed that as a young actress she was one mortgage payment away from quitting the profession.

“I’ve managed to support myself financially since the age of 16 just through acting,” she said.

“But my goodness, there were a few points where I was doing it by the skin of my teeth.

“I remember in my early twenties, I think I had one mortgage payment left in the bank and I just thought, ‘Alright, I’m going to have to bite the bullet and get another job and I can’t do anything else’.

“I landed a job just by the skin of my teeth.”

Froggatt is currently starring in ITV’s psychological thriller Angela Black, which tells the story of a suburban housewife who appears to have a charmed life but is actually the victim of domestic abuse.

Listen to Reign With Josh Smith at podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/reign-with-josh-smith/id1549676420.