With the release of Marvel’s Jessica Jones set to take Rachael Taylor‘s profile to stratospheric levels, it’s hard to imagine that the Hollywood actress’s career started out somewhere very different; winning the title of Miss Teen Tasmania 1998 to be exact.
Raised in Launceston, Taylor’s childhood was filled with modelling and beauty pageants, something she says she now regrets.
“Cute, and more drama-y than it sounds – I would take that back if I could. I don’t think that was a particularly healthy environment for a 14-year-old. I think women are asked to consider their beauty too much,” she told Sunday Life in an interview.
Her latest role in Jessica Jones couldn’t be further from the glitz and glamour of the pageant world – yet it’s one that unfortunately Taylor can also identify with.
“This story is about a girl [Jones] who has been in a very abusive and traumatic relationship, sexual and violent, and she is choosing to confront it and make it right. It’s about flipping the switch on what we think a ‘victim’ is, and that is very meaningful to me,” she said.
In 2010, Taylor’s personal life made headlines when she applied for an Apprehended Violence Order against then-fiance fellow actor Matthew Newton with reports claiming that she had experienced death threats as well as sustained verbal, physical and mental abuse. (Watch: Christine Anu talks to Mamamia TV about being in an abusive relationship. Post continues after video.)
A passionate campaigner for change with domestic violence, Taylor has high praise for the work of Australian of The Year Rosie Batty and is pleased with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s pledge of $100 million to combat domestic violence.
“I’m very optimistic about change. There’s judicial reform that’s needed. We need to find a language around [the fact that only] half of the women who find themselves in intimate-partner violence feel they can report it. Only half. That’s not good enough,” she said. (Post continues after gallery.)
While Taylor is now in a happy relationship of a few years that is “One of the things [she is] most proud of”, she still has the name “Matthew” tattooed on the inside of her wrist.
“[I’d like to get rid of it] but I also accept that you do these things in life, these are mistakes and tattoos are a reflection of the imperfection of life,” she said.
Do you think there is still a ‘shame’ stigma attached to victims of domestic violence?