Raising her kids with feminist ideals is important to Rose Byrne.
The star of Apple TV+’s “Physical” is on the new cover of Marie Claire Australia, and in the issue she talks about what she learned from playing Gloria Steinem in the 2020 series “Mrs. America”.
“I thought I knew about feminist history before that,” she says of taking the role. “I’d read The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan and The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf, so I thought I knew. And then I realized I know nothing.”
The series told the story of the ultimately unsuccessful fight in the 1970s to pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. constitution.
“It’s a fascinating era that’s largely undiscussed and undocumented,” Byrne says. “Events like the women’s conference in Houston in 1977 had a huge influence on politics and administrations. The fact [the Equal Rights Amendment] was never ratified, meaning it’s actually not in the US constitution that women have equal rights as men. What’s so scary about being equal? Why’s that such a dangerous and terrifying thing for people to embrace?”
But feminism isn’t just something Byrne expresses in her work, she says she and husband Bobby Cannavale try to model those values for their two sons Roco, 5, and Rafa, 3.
“For a start, I teach them [about women’s rights] by being a working parent,” she says explains. “We’re an example of a household that balances both parents going out to work. But I also totally respect mothers who stay home. It’s really hard work and recognizing that is what Gloria Steinem fought so much for. Why is [raising a family] not working? What goes on in the home is the most beneficial contribution to children and [society].”
In her new show “Physical”, the actress plays a California housewife who becomes a workout video and lifestyle guru.
“Shows like ‘Physical’ probably wouldn’t have been made five years ago,” Byrne says. “Stories about women are finally ready to be told and seen through a real female lens.”
“Physical” premieres on Apple TV+ on Friday, June 18.