Miranda Raison - Playing Anne Boleyn
She is one of Britain’s leading actresses who is currently portraying Henry VIII’s second wife at the Globe Theatre.
Here, Miranda Raison tells Coutts Woman, how Boleyn’s influence has rubbed off on her.
Playing the, magnetic Anne Boleyn has had a profound impact on one of Britain’s leading actresses, Miranda Raison. The 32-year-old, well-known for her long-standing role in the BBC drama Spooks, says she found herself becoming more confident and powerful playing Anne on a daily basis. Blonde, statuesque Miranda, who has reopened in Anne Boleyn at the Globe Theatre, talks about how Anne’s wit and spirit has given her a sense of her own power.
“I think it’s because I’ve been talking in this powerful voice and having this amazing energy as Anne. It’s like hanging out with someone who is a good influence," she said.
“When I’m going out in the evening I think, ‘Tonight I’ll have something to say, I know who I am and like myself, you feel positive about the world and the world feels positive about you’. She makes me feel very strong. All Anne had was what she wore, who she was and her influence as a woman. She had an incredible mind, was very erudite and had a propensity for merriment which is always winning. She also had huge sexual magnetism.”
For 32-year-old Miranda, who grew up in Norfolk and now has her own cottage on the Suffolk coast, her career is ‘what defines her’. Separated from her husband, Raza Jaffrey, her co-star in Spooks, and now in a happy relationship with Royle Family star, Ralf Little, Miranda acknowledges that even if she’s without work for a few weeks life becomes pretty rotten. When she became an actress she was ‘following her dream‘ and everything else in her life has to slot in around that.
“There was never any question that I’d take this route,” she smiles. “I’m not really a ‘destiny‘ person but sometimes there is something you can’t not do, and I couldn’t not do acting. I could be quite a complete person without lots of the things in my life but not without my career.
“If I’m working everything else seems to fall into place but I can feel pretty rotten even if I’ve only got a short break. I need to work on it really, need to feel better at being more fulfilled when I’m not working.”
"She had an incredible mind, was very erudite and had a propensity for merriment which is always winning. She also had huge sexual magnetism."
Her parents divorced when she was just 6, and her grandfather paid for her to go to boarding school, where she found herself in very different financial circumstances to many of the children from wealthy backgrounds. It was the strain of growing up in a single parent family that has made Miranda wary of ever becoming a mother in similar circumstances.
She said, with fierce conviction: “Life should be easier for single parents - it’s disgraceful that it isn’t. Our state is still very much geared towards married families but the assumption can no longer be that people are part of a family with two parents. It makes life for single parents very difficult; they feel they’ve failed somehow. The way things are at the moment I wouldn’t enjoy the ride of being a single parent. I don’t know how some women and men find the strength raising children on their own.
“As a child I would have been affected far more if I’d ever felt unloved, but my parents were always very vocal about loving us and never said a bad word about each other to us. They made it as easy for us as they could, but I do think it’s very difficult.
“I want kids one day, I’ve got my godchildren, and my youngest sister is still only 18, but I don’t feel that incredible primal urge some women have. I love kids though and tend to bond pretty well with them and think I’d make a good mother when the time comes.”
Miranda is passionate about Pilates, eating well, and staying healthy. With aspirations of going to Hollywood, the typical LA body doesn’t faze her as she’s already got one. She does Pilates every day, walks everywhere, and retreats to Suffolk to maintain a balance in her life.
“The Hollywood body doesn’t intimidate me as I’m pretty good on food and exercise,“ she says. “I feel the pressure to eat well and exercise but that pressure comes from me, I’m happier when I do it.
“I want to be working when I’m 85, play as many different roles as possible, and look back over a life where I think, I changed from one person to another to another and had a brilliant time doing it and that's all I’ve really wanted to do. But I know I’ve got to have a balance and that’s why it’s important to have Suffolk, and exercise, where you’re only with yourself.
“I want kids one day, I've got my godchildren, and my youngest sister is still only 18, but I don't feel that incredible primal urge some women have.”
“When I’m on my own at my cottage I have to feel at peace otherwise I won’t have a nice time, and that’s very much me. And that point of exercise where you’re too shattered to move, that’s the point where it really is you against you.
“That’s why I’m not a big party person, I go sometimes and at the end of the night think, 'Wow, I really have been acting for three hours'.”
Miranda, a passionate animal lover, is also Ambassador for Prince Harry’s Lesotho charity, Sentebale, and is looking forward to becoming more involved.
“When I think about what makes me happy a song by Australian film director Baz Luhrmann, Sunscreen, always comes to mind,“ she says. “One of the lines in it is: ‘The race is long and in the end it’s only with yourself’.”
Anne Boleyn runs from 8 July to 21 August. Visit the Globe Theatre
website for more information.