Vogue – Stood next to a hybrid Porsche super car in Ralph Lauren’s automobile garage, Jessica Chastain is eager to discuss diversity. “I’m excited with what’s happening right now at British Vogue and the direction you guys are going in. It’s a great passion of mine to tell stories of many people not just to have one narrative of one demographic,” says Chastain.
When it comes to championing diversity, she believes everyone can and should do their bit. “If any of us are involved in an industry that isn’t diverse, then we are part of the problem. You should always look at what you can do to create diversity,” says the actress who has been outspoken in her criticism of the male bias in Hollywood and makes a point of making at least one film with a female director every year.
Chastain’s latest film project is Molly’s Game, the true story of Molly Bloom, who for 10 years ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game, until her arrest in 2013. It’s exactly the kind of challenging role Chastain relishes. “It examines power and gender politics. She’s a woman who is striving to be successful in an industry that is traditionally male dominated. It’s about what she thinks she has to become to do that.”
Chastain is fascinated by modern gender politics. “I feel so excited to be working right now and be part of a community and society that is examining what it means to be a woman,” she says. For her, that means challenging every assumption and calling into question the labels we give ourselves.
“Even the idea of what masculine and feminine is – I would love to get away from those words in the future because I found that when describing power and strength and aggressiveness and leadership in the past we’ve thought ‘masculine’, and when describing compassion, softness and tenderness we think ‘feminine’. I would like to get to the place where a gentleman could be a compassionate and tender human being and a woman could be a powerful leader. It’s not defined by what is masculine and what is feminine. A person needs to define what that is for themselves and it should change from person to person.”