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Hannah Waddingham Says Drama School Teacher Insulted Her Face and Told Her She’ll ‘Never Work on Screen’

Hannah Waddingham may have won an Emmy in 2021 for her starring role in “Ted Lasso,” but the actor revealed that her drama teacher once told her she would “never work on screen.”

During an interview on the BBC Radio 2 podcast “Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers,” Waddingham recalled a time when her teacher made fun of her appearance in front of her classmates.

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“I had one drama teacher that said to the whole class: ‘Oh, Hannah will never work on screen because she looks like one side of her face has had a stroke,'” Waddingham said. But the insult didn’t deter her. “I thought, ‘I will do. Come hell or high water, I will work on screen,'” she added.

Despite the comment giving her “a complex for years,” Waddingham said it has also been a cause of motivation.

“This is why, in my Emmys speech, I made a point — the one thing I said to myself [was], if this weird moment comes and I get this award, and I get my foot in this door, I’m going to rip it off its hinges for music theatre people, or theatre people, to follow,” she said.

Before breaking through in “Ted Lasso,” Waddingham played Septa Unella in “Game of Thrones” and Sofia Marchetti in “Sex Education.” Up next, she’ll appear in the eighth “Mission: Impossible” movie in a yet-to-be-revealed role.

Pre-“Ted Lasso,” Waddingham said she reached a point in her career when she was tired of taking small roles.

“So I said to my agents at the time, ‘I’m not doing it anymore… If it’s one scene, I’m not doing it anymore, and you shouldn’t be putting me up for it because it’s insulting’,” Waddingham said. “‘I’ve been a leading lady for 22 years. I’m not doing it anymore. I’d rather be in a world where I’m appreciated.'”

She added, “So I fully stepped back. And then ‘Game of Thrones’ happened.”

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