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Hannah Waddingham’s Refusal to “Show Some Leg” Was a Moment For All Women

Hannah Waddingham's Refusal to "Show Some Leg" Was a Moment For All Women

I started to develop what can only be described as a crush on Hannah Waddingham last year. The classical singer turned Emmy Award-winning actress (thanks to her role in Apple TV’s hit show Ted Lasso) seemingly came out of nowhere to me, but after watching her present the Olivier Awards last year and Eurovision Song Contest she quickly become my ultimate 2023 female icon. I was so impressed with the mum-of-one’s, grace and poise I spent two weeks binging on Ted Lasso to get my fix of the woman who seemed to embody everything the Spice Girl Generation (aka us older millennials) have wanted to see from our leading ladies.

On Sunday she was once again presenting the Olivier Awards and, as is nearly always the case at all red carpet events, was expected to pose for the flashing cameras. However, when one of the paparazzi got a bit overzealous and asked her to “show some leg” she not only refused, she told him exactly what she thought of him and the request.

It proved she is epitome of the woman we have been told for the last 20 years we were allowed to be. Strong, composed, yet emotional and authentic, her natural reaction to stand up for herself when she was subjected to what can only be described as archaic gender bias is the stuff of our girl power dreams. Qualities it seems also appeal to Gen Z, who have now entered the HWad chat on TikTok.

https://www.tiktok.com/@theindy100/video/7358044973385764138

The footage of her telling the photographer that he would “Never have said that to a man” and “Don’t be a D**k” has sent fans around the world into a frenzy. This clip from entertainment site Indy100 on TikTok has had nearly 700k views, 42k likes and over 600 comments, with the majority describing Waddingham as an icon. One fan commented: “I’m telling my kids this is the Queen of England.” Another said: “On behalf of women everywhere, thank you!”

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The Ted Lasso star is not only a beacon of hope for any of us that have passed our (perceived) 30s prime, after hitting the big time in her late 40s, she is also the female empowerment icon that we didn’t know we needed. For many of us that have grown up, and lived through the #metoo movement, this was the type of behaviour that really shows how far we have actually come. Gone are the days when this type of outburst would have been ridiculed by the press, or possibly damaged her career, and instead it has been celebrated.

Not only did she not allow herself to be subjected to this cat-calling style nonsense, she proved there is no longer the need for women to flaunt their bodies and sexuality to be appealing or successful. As a mum of a daughter this is the exact mood I want her to bring to the table and I can confirm my innocent crush has now graduated to utter adoration.

Lauren Ezekiel is an associate editor at POPSUGAR UK, where she writes about all things beauty and wellness. With a degree in journalism and 12 years’ experience as a beauty editor at a leading Sunday supplement, she is obsessed with skincare, hair and makeup, and is often found offering advice to innocent bystanders. Her work has been published in Grazia, OK, Health and Beauty, The Sun, ASDA, Dare and Metro.