Jessie Cave Discusses Grief, Body Image, and Her Career Path in Interview for New Novel
CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses multiple topics that some readers may find uncomfortable or distressing.
In an interview with the Independent to promote her debut novel, Sunset, Harry Potter‘s Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown) has opened up about grief, body image, and more – including how her career path has been shaped by these experiences. Cave – who has used her work as an outlet for her thoughts and emotions – spoke candidly about the pressures and struggles that she has faced.
Sunset itself, Cave explained, came out of the grief she felt following the untimely death of her brother Ben in 2019. Of the narration provided by Sunset‘s main character, Ruth, Cave explained that she wanted to share her own experiences with grief.
One of the first things I realised when I was grieving was, ‘I’m so angry. I’m so angry that other people haven’t experienced this.’ And that’s mean of me, because obviously you don’t want people to go through something that’s just devastating, but it’s so isolating because no one can understand you. Very few. You cannot help but have ugly thoughts. You didn’t decide for this to be your world, and now you’re in it. So horrible, mean, unforgivable thoughts are what happens.
Likewise, Sunset doesn’t shy away from sexual situations and other complex – and comedic – moments, and Cave noted that the novel has “definitely got [her] voice.”
I think that’s why I’ve always written truthfully in my previous work, because you just have this amazing thrill afterwards, that you just told everyone your dirty secrets. Now they can make the decision whether to like you or not. It’s up to them. You’ve shown them everything.
Cave also bared all about her experiences as an actress, particularly what it was like for her to work on the Harry Potter films. Explaining that she gained weight following Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – “just because [she] wasn’t starving [herself]” – and returned to work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part I two sizes larger, Cave described the experience she had following her weight gain as being incredibly negative.
I was treated like a different species. It was horrible. It was probably more me and my insecurity, knowing that I wasn’t fitting into the same size jeans, but it wasn’t a time where actresses were any bigger than a size eight. And in the previous film I had been, and now I was a size 12. So that was horrible. It was a really uncomfortable experience.
She added that that negativity has stayed with her.
I definitely felt invisible when I gained a little bit of weight. And since then, it’s made me have weird issues with weight and work. And it’s so f***ed up, but it’s just how it is. Women have to deal with that all the time.
Providing anecdotes about having idolized actresses such as Friends stars Courteney Cox, Jennifer Aniston, and Lisa Kudrow, Cave stated that she has felt a “toxic relationship” with acting.
It’s like going on a million first dates and them going brilliantly and then you never hear from them again. It’s like getting ghosted a thousand times a year, and it kind of sends you crazy. I definitely went crazy in my early twenties, thinking, ‘But they said they liked me and that I was perfect for it?’ But then you realise there’[re] 100 other girls who are as good as you if not better, maybe prettier, maybe thinner, and they’re perfect for it.
Cave also credited not having stayed thin for the sake of being cast with having pushed her toward writing.
If I’d stayed thin – unnaturally thin, unhappily thin – I would have probably got more acting roles, and then I wouldn’t have started writing. And then I don’t know who I would be now because writing is who I am.
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