Raquel Cassidy fumes ‘you still have a story if you’re not f***able’

This Morning guest slams Lionesses sexism row

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Raquel Cassidy rose to international fame with her role as Phyllis Baxter in the Downton Abbey series, which she also reprised for the films. The 54-year-old appeared at the Raindance Opening Gala in London and explained exclusively to Express.co.uk how plastic surgery is not always a personal choice for actresses but more a means to survive.

The beloved actress has been in the industry for well over two decades, flitting between series, shorts, films and features. 

She hailed Raindance as a desperately-needed outlet for independent film where artists can get away from the feeling of having be “airbrushed”. 

Proving that it’s not just audiences who feel alienated by the beauty standards shown on-screen, Raquel added: “Art mirrors life and life mirrors art. You’ve got to really try and change these things within. 

“You see in adverts we’re only shown women who are stick-thin. You have to change everything.”

Raquel declared that in mainstream entertainment, the pressure to keep up appearances as an ageing actress has left her feeling “invisible”, despite working alongside veteran stars like Dame Maggie Smith.

The Good Karma actress said: “You can act really well, but if you don’t look good and if you don’t look good as a female… 

“You need two things, you need a great profile in terms of social media and you need to look a certain way.”

Although she would prefer if the industry avoided plastic surgery, she has nothing but sympathy for those who do undergo the procedures to keep ahead of the game. 

She added: “I’m never going to judge anyone for doing what they can to survive in this industry and in life. 

“If we could not do it I think that would be so much better for the people out there. I really do.”

Having been a professional actress on stage and screen since her late twenties, Raquel has experienced firsthand how the perception of women in entertainment changes as they age. 

Raquel added: “I’m a woman in her 50s and I know that we become more and more invisible. 

“Something happens when they say ‘we don’t want to see you and we don’t want to see you represented’.

“Everyone has a right to be seen, a right to be considered and a story to tell. 

“Just because you’re female and no longer viable, for that, read f***able, you still have a story to tell.”

Raquel took a moment to pause, joking that it “must be the menopause” that sparked her emotionally-driven answer.

Looking back at her pre-acting days, Raquel revealed she had already noticed the mistreatment and inequality women were faced with just for being female. 

She said: “My mother never had the chat with my brothers about not getting a bad name.

“My mother, who was beautiful and I love her and I miss her, very strict Spanish Catholic. 

“She took me to one side and said I must never get a bad name and my brothers never had that conversation. Don’t let anyone think you might be… 

“Women are appropriated and their wombs are appropriated. As soon as you’re pregnant everyone can touch your belly.”

Concluding her powerful words, Raquel declared: “I don’t have to be a strident female, I just have to be a human being.”

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