Anna Wintour Sees Progress Where Glenda Jackson Sees the Same Old Garbage

Anna Wintour
Job: Editor of Vogue, artistic director of Condé Nast
Fund-raiser: For Hillary Clinton in 2016
Will Never Be Seen: Wearing all-black

Glenda Jackson
Job: Tony-winning actor
Once: Was a British MP
Currently: Rehearsing for King Lear on Broadway (she plays Lear)


Glenda Jackson: I don’t understand that. People always say, “She’s frightening.” I’ve never known anybody who’s ever been frightened of me. I mean, if I am, I don’t do it deliberately. What is the virtue of making people afraid of you?

Anna Wintour: People tend to cast people in clichés.

What is the difference between the power of an ingénue and the power of a woman in her maturity who has experience?
GJ: Charitable way of putting it. Thank you.

AW: The young women working in our world are very independent. And what I see as being a big difference is that there’s no longer such a clear path forward. They want to try a lot of different things. When someone’s coming in to resign, they’re not leaving to go to another job; they’re all going to a start-up. They have had an idea, and they want to do it. I don’t remember that when I was younger, do you?

GJ: Oh, no. There was nothing like that for us. Still, one of the basic things that is so bizarre is that women are expected to have absolutely no capacity for doing anything other than to be able to raise kids, have a family, balance a household budget, all that kind of stuff.

AW: I do think that’s changed. I like to think that’s changed.

GJ: I don’t think it’s fundamentally changed.

AW: Look at all the opportunities as an actor today. There’s just so many more choices.

GJ: No.

AW: Really?

GJ: No.

AW: When you think about Netflix or HBO …

GJ: Yes, there may be different mediums, but there is still a preponderance of series where women are adjuncts. They’re not driving dramatic energy. That’s certainly true in theater, however much people might pretend it’s changed.

AW: Is that why you were so drawn to Three Tall Women?

GJ: Yes. There are usually only one, or maybe two, decent women’s parts in anything. But the issue of power is — I mean, look at Theresa May and Angela Merkel. It’s taken an awfully long time for political parties to make the changes that were necessary so that women became prospective candidates. And the criticism that is leveled at Theresa May is just unspeakable.

Do you think it’s gendered?
GJ: Absolutely.

AW: Well, they go after Boris Johnson a lot, too.

GJ: No. I mean, that’s a perfect example.

AW: You don’t think he gets a fair amount of criticism?

GJ: No, I bloody don’t. I’d be very happy to see far more criticism of him. He gets away with murder.

Do you miss being an MP?
GJ: Not at all. I miss my constituents. But I don’t miss Parliament.

Do you feel that there’s liberty in maturity?
AW: I’d like to think there’s a little bit of wisdom. But I sometimes miss that sense of “anything can happen.”

GJ: And the energy that comes from taking a risk.

AW: Yes. How exciting that is. And less fear of failure maybe. There’s just a “can-do” sense.

GJ: I do think women have found their voices.

AW: I really do believe that. Sometimes they may be highly intelligent, articulate voices. Sometimes they can be highly annoying. But at least they’re speaking, and I think that’s wonderful.