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Dumplin’s Danielle Macdonald talks self-confidence and breaking stereotypes


Danielle Macdonald
Photo courtesy of Monte-Carlo Television Festival
The wider public discovered Danielle as the young Willowdean who shared the screen with Jennifer Aniston in Netflix’s Dumplin. The Australian sweetheart has moved on to bigger roles, one of which is her latest series The Tourist with Jamie Dornan that she promoted at the Monte-Carlo Television Festival.

AM: Danielle, your film Dumplin marked the beginning of Netflix’s success. Were you even expecting this?
Not at all. Dumplin was really special to me. I read the book and fell in love with it. So, when the movie was in the works, I really wanted to be part of it. And after the movie came out everyone was sharing how much it meant to them, so I realized I wasn’t the only one. The story was different, we don’t get movies and narratives like that. I have a lot of mothers and daughters that watch it and reach out to me. It’s very special and I am grateful that what I liked resonated well with the audience.

AM: As an actress, what makes you feel confident?
I think everyone feels like they lack self-confidence at some point in their lives, whether when they are children or during their teenage years for all different reasons. For me, my lack of confidence was feeling that my voice and opinions weren’t worthy. I felt that I didn’t fit in the normal criteria pre-defined by society. We have such a focus on what is cool and what we should look like and it has affected me. However, I came out of that because I was stubborn and I wanted to be an actor even though everyone told me it would be difficult. I have great parents who supported me. I think time and experiences allow you to gain confidence. There’s no magic recipe it comes with growing older.

AM: And as an Australian in Hollywood did you feel like you were expected to play some stereotypes?
When you first audition, they ask you to lean into your stereotypes because that’s what will get your first job. They don’t care, but then you get more work and doors start to open up. I have very protective managers and they were always looking for outside of the box opportunities. Our industry back home in Australia is quite small and there is definitely an Aussie stereotype, but we are trying to shed it out. I branched out and met different creatives who wanted to highlight my talent. 

Danielle Macdonald
Photo courtesy of Netflix

AM: Was it a good thing to launch your career at a relatively young age?
I actually love the age I started at. I am glad I wasn’t a child star and that I got to go to school, do my homework, have classmates and a normal childhood. I also feel fortunate that I followed my path right after finishing school rather than wasting time. I took the step at the right time.

AM: How was it like to work with Jamie Dornan on your new TV series The Tourist?
I met him over Zoom to do a reading and it was so nice because we melded very well. When shooting started in Australia it was seamless and we all wanted to create the best result possible. He is so fun to be around and has a very good energy on set.

AM: And what kind of tourist are you?
My parents are big travelers. My mom is Italian and my whole family from her side lives in Italy, it feels like a second home. When I travel to Italy I feel like a local, so that’s my favorite type of tourism versus just seeing the monuments and touristic sites.

AM: What’s on your bucket list?
I want to do one of every film genre. I want to experience the mediums of this industry and push myself even more.