Navan actress reveals sexual slur during early Hollywood career

Thursday, 19th October, 2017 11:22am

Navan actress reveals sexual slur during early Hollywood career

Moya Farrelly


An Irish actress has revealed that her 'f***ability' was assessed as if she wasn't even in the room, during one work-related interview in Los Angeles in her early career.

Moya Farrelly, who starred in 'This is my Father' has also told for the first time how she was 'gutted' when she wasn't invited to the film's world premier, adding that the first she knew of it was when her co-star Aidan Quinn rang her Meath home from New York to see where she was.

The raven-haired beauty was also told to lose weight in order to secure more film roles but eventually shunned Hollywood to become a mother.

The Navan actress who now lives in Dingle, Co. Kerry, made the revelations as actress Jennifer Lawrence stunned fans with her shocking experiences of trying for parts when she started out.

Lawrence, the Oscar-winning actress said she was made to stand in a nude line-up and told to lose 15lbs in just two weeks.

 Moya attracted huge attention from LA agents when she appeared on the big screen alongside Aidan Quinn, James Caan, John Cusack, Brendan Gleeson, Colin Meaney  and Stephen Rea in 1999.

Her moving performance ensured she was flooded with Hollywood offers and bombarded by American agents.

However she revealed this week that she couldn't believe how she was treated as a commodity in one meeting.

"I remember going to a meeting with a number of industry people in the room.  I was working out back then but they still told me to lose more weight," she said.

"I was in my late 20s and I had a nice figure and felt great but then they asked themselves, as if I wasn't even in the room, whether I'd still be f**kable as I got older.  They said that's how it is - audiences like beautiful people."

"I couldn't believe they were being serious.  It felt like I was this investment or something that they were deliberating taking a risk over.  Unbelievable.

"But this is how it was was then and I heard a few other stories when I was there.  No-one really batted an eyelid to it.

"It was and still is a male dominated industry but thankfully, that's changing with women producing great films and thankfully that was my only experience in my short time there.

"That's not saying certain scenarios wouldn't have taken place if I pursued my career over there - who knows?

"Another time an actor tried to intimately kiss me while his wife was behind him. Shocking behaviour!

"Still today, some people expect you to look like models and be utterly talented too.  It's not good enough to be just incredibly talented, you have to be a certain weight with a certain look.

"I was recently told that at my age (44), actresses in the industry would be described as being ''ripe''.  It's shocking still to be talked about as a thing.

"For me it was not to take it personally.  It's enough when you don't get the part after you've worked hard for an audition.  There's a lot of elements as to why you don't get certain roles and fair enough, you understand the mix of elements involved but for some having to deal with obnoxious men in the mix, that's tough. It's not right and not fair that it goes on.''

"Within this industry at the minute, the amount of women working and leading projects is growing. There's this freshness in the air and thankfully women are making changes to this area and seeing beyond the ''false image'' and portraying real characters with more and more women writing, directing and producing. 

"In recent weeks, 'me too' has been trending on social media by anyone in any career who has been sexually harrassed in any way.  It's now okay to tell people what happened.  It's your life and not your silence.  

"The truth always comes out in the end but for some, the end has been a long time coming."

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Moya has also divulged that she hadn't been invited or told of the screening of 'This is my Father' in New York.

"I didn't know it was being screened.  I didn't get an invite.  It's my first time talking about this.

"The first I knew of it was when Aidan Quinn rang me at home in Cornmarket in Navan and asked where I was.  He said Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Liam Neeson and others were asking why I wasn't there.

'' I couldn't believe it, Aidan calling from NY and me sitting in my living room in Navan''. Why he called on the night and in fact why no one rang to organise it for me is a little bizarre. 

"I was 20 weeks pregnant but I could still travel. I always thought it strange that I was excluded. I mean, I had the lead role. Whatever about never being in New York but to miss your own first premiere there! I was gutted.

"Read what you like from it but I know it was Aidan's first lead role. I may have gotten in the way that night, I dunno know? Or me being slightly looking pregnant may not have been the image they wanted on the red carpet. So in a way they had the final say.  

Moya decided to not to travel around the world to promote the movie in the latter part and turned down big movie roles to concentrate on being a mum back in Ireland.

In recent years, she has returned to acting, working on Walking On Cars music video 'Speeding Cars which has had 25 million hits on You tube. Also in 'Making It' currently doing the festival circuits for Navan's native Eamonn Norris's first feature film. 

She performed this weekend at the Siamse Tire, Tralee alongside Geraldine Plunkett (Fair City, Glenroe), Gerard Byrne ( Fair City) and Peter Hanly (Ballykissangel, Braveheart) with whom she worked in a BBC short film with Aidan Gillen. 
Moya is the guest liaison with the Dingle International Film Festival since 2007 and Dingle Animation.

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