Kate Winslet on Early Success, Becoming an Actor and Believing in Yourself


“If you haven’t got the chops and you don’t believe in yourself, you’re going to do crap work.” – Kate Winslet

Emmy, BAFTA, and Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet is undoubtedly a major star, but becoming such a famous face was never really what Winslet set out to do when she began thinking about making acting a career. Not only did her acting journey start in the most peculiar of places, but Winslet tells The Hollywood Reporter how the worldwide fame that came from her starring in Titanic didn’t make her any more confident in her ability as an actress.

Humorously, Winslet reveals that she first thought of becoming an actress at a young age in a very uncommon place. She says:

“I was sitting on the toilet. Truly. I could just hear the sounds of the household. I had three siblings and my parents. It was a very small house. They didn’t have much money, and the walls were paper-thin. If ever there was an argument or something, you could hear everything — ‘rar rar rar.’ You could even hear the neighbors through the wall. So, I was sitting on the toilet and I could just hear the busyness of life around me. My mom was yelling something up the stairs to my sister about her tap shoes. And I had this moment of thinking, ‘Wow, if there was one of those video cameras filming and following my mom, it would seem like she was acting but she’s not, she’s just being herself.’ And then I thought, ‘Ahh. So, acting is just being. Yeah, I want to do that. That’s what I want to do for a job.'”

Like most actors, Winslet first pursued the craft because of the enjoyment she got out of it, not because she aspired to be a star. She recalls, “I never had huge ambition in the way that I thought, ‘I’m going to be in movies, and this is my five-year plan.’ My father was an actor, my mother was not an actress, but both of her parents were, she had two brothers who were sort of doing it, and all I saw were these people being happy, being different characters and playing through life. And because my parents didn’t have any money, they didn’t talk about money. So, I was never driven by that. I just thought, ‘Maybe I’ll do theater, and if I’m lucky I might get an episode of something.'”

Of course, Winslet achieved worldwide fame with the box office record-breaking 1997 movie Titanic. The global recognition was life-altering. Winslet explains, “I was really freaked out, to be honest. I was 21. I wasn’t ready for fame. And it’s not that I was pushing it away or rejecting it. Of course, I felt enormously grateful, privileged, proud, all those things, but I didn’t know enough as an actor. I still felt like I was really learning. I was nominated for an Academy Award, but that doesn’t mean f—ing s—. If you haven’t got the chops and you don’t believe in yourself, you’re going to do crap work.”

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