Florence Pugh talks Valentino dress controversy, says her nipples ‘really wound people up’
“We’ve become so terrified of the human body that we can’t even look at my two little cute nipples behind fabric in a way that isn’t sexual,” the actress said.
Florence Pugh has had it with people policing women’s bodies.
In a new Elle interview, the Oppenheimer actress addressed the controversy ignited by her wearing a sheer pink Valentino dress that left her nipples partly visible at a fashion show in Rome last summer.
Speaking to fellow actress Jodie Turner-Smith about dealing with people scrutinizing her body, Pugh said, “I think the scariest thing for me are the instances where people have been upset that I’ve shown ‘too much’ of myself. When everything went down with the Valentino pink dress a year ago, my nipples were on display through a piece of fabric, and it really wound people up.”
She added, “It’s the freedom that people are scared of; the fact I’m comfortable and happy. Keeping women down by commenting on their bodies has worked for a very long time.”
While Pugh feels that some attitudes are changing, she lamented that “we’ve become so terrified of the human body that we can’t even look at my two little cute nipples behind fabric in a way that isn’t sexual. We need to keep reminding everybody that there is more than one reason for women’s bodies [to exist].”
Florence Pugh in the now-infamous sheer Valentino dress
| Credit: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images
Pugh also said she’s not trying to live up to unrealistic beauty standards: “I speak the way I do about my body because I’m not trying to hide the cellulite on my thigh or the squidge in between my arm and my boob. I would much rather lay it all out.”
Despite the row caused by the now-infamous pink dress, Pugh didn’t hesitate to go see-through again last month in a gauzy powder-blue gown at a Valentino show for Paris Fashion Week. And with each sheer dress comes a shower of compliments from other women.
“Every woman I walked past would say, ‘You look like you’re having so much fun.’ And I was,” Pugh said, to which Turner-Smith agreed, “You were!”
“Women were drawn to the fact that I was completely happy,” Pugh continued. “That’s been a massive aspect of my career and my life: accepting who I am, and not running away from it.”
Pugh previously defended the pink dress in a fiery Instagram post. “Listen, I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it,” she wrote alongside photos of herself posing in the garment. “Whether it be negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing. I was excited to wear it, not a wink of me was nervous. I wasn’t before, during or even now after.”
She added: “What’s been interesting to watch and witness is just how easy it is for men to totally destroy a woman’s body, publicly, proudly, for everyone to see… Grow up. Respect people. Respect bodies. Respect all women. Respect humans. Life will get a whole lot easier, I promise. And all because of two cute little nipples….”