Rose McGowan Q&A: “I will always look up to a woman in a man’s world”

The actress and activist talks Elizabeth I, Harry Potter, and Brexit.


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Rose McGowan was born in Tuscany, Italy in 1973, and was raised as a member of the controversial cult the Children of God . An actress known for her roles in “Scream”, “Charmed” and “Jawbreaker”, she was one of several women to accuse producer Harvey Weinstein of rape in 2017.

What’s your earliest memory?

A woman with a candle in my bedroom. I was two and a half. She was someone in the commune in which I grew.

Who are your heroes?

My childhood hero was Martin Luther King, but my hero in adulthood is Malcolm X. He was a freedom fighter and he fought for what he believed in. 

What book last changed your thinking?

The answer is also Malcolm X: I read his autobiography recently. He was portrayed as a hate-filled man, and he certainly had a right to that hate when he felt it. But towards the end he was changing a lot. The world would be a different place had he lived.

Which political figure do you look up to?

Elizabeth I. I will always look up to a woman in a man’s world, a woman who lived by her own truth and did the best she could by the world at large.

In which time and place, other than your own, would you like to live?

I would like to live on another planet – does that count? I think we can do better.

What would be your Mastermind specialist subject?

Believe it or not it might be the Harry Potter books. I’ve read them multiple times, and I even went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida. I drank butterbeer and I got to fly through Hogwarts! It was amazing. I’m such
a nerd.

What TV show could you not live without?

I’ve just discovered Schitt’s Creek. It’s pretty amazing, the performers are incredible. And that’s just my latest Netflix, hours-off-my-life kind of thing.

Who would paint your portrait?

Francis Bacon. It would be a very interesting portrait, full of shadows and light.

What’s your theme tune?

Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“It’s not you, it’s them.” It really helps.

What’s currently bugging you?

I find Brexit really annoying. I wish the government would just do another vote, because it seems as though people weren’t overly informed the first time. One of the most googled things the day after the result was “What is the EU?”. A new vote could help a lot of people save face and put things back on the right track.

What single thing would make your life better?

A house on a hill with a nice tree.

When were you happiest?

I was happiest on New Year’s Eve, last year, in Istanbul. I ate fish for the first time and I was with someone I love very much. It was just the perfect happy moment.

In another life, what job would you have chosen?

Probably a forensic pathologist. I find dead people are much safer than the living.

Are we all doomed?

I don’t think we are. I think we’re bigger and better than we know. We just have to be brave. 

Rose McGowan’s memoir “Brave” is published by HQ

This article appears in the 15 March 2019 issue of the New Statesman, She’s lost control