Hannah Waddingham Reveals How She Got Her Own Back On Teachers Who Doubted Her

The Ted Lasso star revealed she had a "complex" about her appearance "for years" due to one disparaging remark from a drama teacher.
Hannah Waddingham at the Emmys on Monday night
Hannah Waddingham at the Emmys on Monday night
Frazer Harrison via Getty Images

Hannah Waddingham has opened up about how disparaging comments about her appearance from one teacher spurred her on to become the star she is today.

The Ted Lasso star is the latest guest on Michelle Visage’s BBC podcast Rule Breakers, in which she reflected on the years before she made it big.

During the interview, Hannah recalled how her headmistress tried to discourage her from pursuing a career in acting, after telling her she was “bright enough to read drama”.

I remember saying to my headmistress, ’I don’t want to read drama, I want to do drama’,” the British star explained.

“She refused to give me a reference, so I managed to get a scholarship for the drama school I went to and I walked back in, put it on her desk and left the room without shutting the door.”

Hannah later revealed that one drama teacher told her in front of her classmates that she “would never work on screen”, as she “looks like one side of her face has had a stroke”.

“I thought, ‘I will do’,” Hannah said. “Come hell or high water I will work on screen. And it gave me a complex for years.”

Hannah on the Emmys red carpet earlier this week
Hannah on the Emmys red carpet earlier this week
ROBYN BECK via Getty Images

Of course, Hannah has gone on to enjoy a hugely successful career on both stage and screen, most notably appearing in Game Of Thrones, Sex Education and Ted Lasso, for which she earned an Emmy in 2021.

Last year, she also fronted the Eurovision Song Contest as well as her own Christmas special on Apple TV+.

She added: “This is why in my Emmys speech, I made a point… the one thing I said to myself 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.”

Hannah recently landed her third Emmy nomination for her performance in the final season of Ted Lasso, but lost out on the night to The Bear’s Ayo Edebiri.

It’s fair to say her Emmys night got off to a bit of a bumpy start after red carpet presenter Laverne Cox got her name wrong during an interview before the show.

Hannah Waddingham’s Rule Breakers interview is available to listen to in full now on BBC Sounds.


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