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Michelle Williams on Finding Confidence and Living in the Public Eye

ELLE Magazine, Michelle Williams

Terry Tsiolis/ELLE

“It’s been a really long time since I’ve been in an interview,” Michelle Williams tells Elle.

But the Manchester by the Sea actress, who graces the cover of the magazine’s January edition, doesn’t shy away from discussing her life in the spotlight, the struggle to stay authentic and how she works to boost her confidence and courage onscreen.

“It’s not naturally my inclination to be a boundary draw-er. But I have better boundaries now,” she confesses. “I feel less susceptible to emotional wreck-diving to come up with explanations for everything.”

But, despite the fact she hadn’t done many interviews until lately, Michelle still finds herself struggling to find a balance between stardom and normalcy.  

“If you feel like people are watching you, it’s impossible to have an authentic experience of being alive,” Williams says while discussing the difficulties of raising her daughter Matilda Ledger in the spotlight. “There’s a performative aspect and a guardedness, and that’s just death. I don’t know how to live like that, and I don’t know how to give a life to my child like that.”

ELLE Magazine, Michelle Williams

Terry Tsiolis/ELLE

The Golden Globe winner also discusses her role in Manchester by the Sea, which is garnereing a lot of Oscar buzz.

In the film, Williams plays the ex-wife of of Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), who recently lost his brother and is forced to take guardianship over his nephew. While Williams had a large repertoire of films under her belt, she couldn’t help but notice the differences between filming and her recent stint on Broadway.

“When I went to make [Manchester by the Sea], I felt a little bit more freedom, more access inside of myself,” the actress shared, comparing it to her newest adventures of theater. “Everybody talks about the silences in movies and how interesting they are but it’s a lot easier than connecting beat to beat, line to line, inside of a scene in real time in front of a thousand people.”

You can read Michelle’s full interview when the January edition of Elle hits stands Dec. 13.

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