The actress starred alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in James Cameron’s epic love story set on the real-life ship that famously sank after hitting an iceberg in 1912. The movie was one of the biggest hits of the year, earning an impressive 11 Academy Awards in 1998. Although she didn’t win, Winslet was nominated that year for best actress in a leading role for her part as Rose DeWitt Bukater.
Appearing on a panel of women that included Michelle Pfeiffer, Rashida Jones, Vanessa Kirby and Andra Day for the Los Angeles Times, Winslet was asked about going from a relatively unknown actress, despite a best-supporting actress nomination for “Sense and Sensibility” in 1996, to navigating the turbulent waters of Hollywood.
Winslet explained that, at the time, she was plagued by the feeling that she did not belong.
The movie “Titanic”, written and directed by James Cameron. Seen here, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater.
(Paramount Pictures/Getty Images)
“I was playing an American for the first time. And working with Leo, who I’d seen in ‘[What’s Eating] Gilbert Grape’ and ‘Basketball Diaries.’ So it was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m Kate from Reading,’” she explained. “I was the overweight girl who would always be at the end of the line. And because my name was a W, sometimes I wouldn’t even get in the door of the audition because they’d run out of time before the Ws. And I was in ‘Titanic.’ It’s mad.”
Jones asked the actress how, at a young age, she seemed to have the foresight to stave off pressure from Hollywood to capitalize on her rising star, opting instead for more independent, artistic ventures before solidifying herself as the household name she is today.
“The honest answer is I was scared of Hollywood. A big, scary place, where everyone had to be thin and look a certain way. And I knew that I did not look that way or feel like I fit there, so if I was ever going to belong, I had to earn my place. And to me, I hadn’t earned it,” she confessed.
The star went on to note that she was concerned that “Titanic” was a “fluke” and that, despite having two Academy Award nominations at her back, she felt she couldn’t compete with younger, more in-shape actresses vying for popularity. It wasn’t until going through a major life event that she found the courage to dominate showbusiness.
Kate Winslet revealed she took a step back from Hollywood after ‘Titanic.’
“I had this feeling of ‘maybe that was just luck.’ When I became a mother at 25, all of that stuff evaporated completely,” Winslet explained. “Then two years after she was born, I was asked to do ‘Eternal Sunshine [of the Spotless Mind].’ I do believe that was a huge turning point in my career, because from then on people suddenly went, ‘Oh, she can do that?!’”
Today, Winslet is anything but afraid of the spotlight. She’s even reteaming with Cameron for another major blockbuster movie that saw her take to the water. She was cast in the sequel to the director’s 2009 smash-hit “Avatar.” In November, it was revealed that Winslet expanded upon the aquatic skills she learned filming “Titanic” and broke Tom Cruise’s record for holding her breath underwater to film a scene.
Although it’s unclear what her role will be, the film’s official Twitter account announced months ago that she held her breath for seven minutes and 14 seconds.