Kate Winslet has long been known as an actress who heralds body confidence at every size and not conforming to anyone else’s image of beauty.
Kate has never been shy about her feelings of insecurity growing up, and how some of those feelings stay with her today because the perceptions we have about ourselves in our formative years are very difficult habits to break.
“As a young girl, I never felt attractive. I was fat and unhappy at times, and that kind of thinking stays with you your entire life. There's always going to be a part of me that worries about not looking as slim as other actresses."But at a certain point, when you achieve a lot of your goals and you can be proud of your work, you start to relax more about who you are. And that includes your appearance and self-image,” Kate has been quoted as saying in Marie Claire.
It was when Kate appeared on UK television show Running Wild with Bear Grylls, that people saw the vulnerable side of Kate when she opened up to Grylls about being bullied at school.
"I was chubby, always had big feet, the wrong shoes, bad hair," she said.
"When I grew up, I never heard positive reinforcement about body image from any female in my life," the actress continued. "I only heard negatives. That's very damaging because then you're programmed as a young woman to immediately scrutinize yourself and how you look."
It was these human stories that made Winslet the logical and heartfelt choice when writer/director Galvin Scott Davis came to cast a voice as the lead character in his new animated short film, Daisy Chain.
The film, due to be released just before the book and phone app of the same name, focuses on a young girl named Buttercup who is the victim of cyber-bullying.
“Right from the beginning I knew I wanted to get Kate Winslet for a multitude of reasons,” says Galvin chatting from his Sydney-based digital agency, Protein.
“Obviously she’s a great advocate for women, and also for young girls to not worry about how they look which is something that we touch on in the book.”
Kate’s personal history played a role in her being cast but also their mutual history spurred Galvin to be tenacious in his pursuit of the English actress.
When Galvin was a young actor in London he was an extra on Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet. While on set one day he met Winslet and they had a brief chat that helped shape the rest of his career.
“Kate asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and I told her that although I was acting, I really wanted to be a writer and tell my own stories. As she was called to set she said to me “my advice would be, never give up,”’ recalls Galvin.
“And that advice spurred me to keep pursuing Kate when our schedules didn’t match up for recording. It took just over a year to complete.
“I reminded her of the story after we recorded Daisy Chain, and she said it’s still the advice she gives people.”
Aimed at children between four and early teens, Daisy Chain is a whimsical fairytale about a young girl who is cyber-bullied in her forest home.
“It’s in a fantasy world so there is no real technology, but the children that bully this little girl take a picture of her and pin it to the trees in the forest so it’s a play on teaching kids that if you take a nasty picture of someone or make a nasty comment, and you post it online, it’s out there in the forest and it can’t be taken back,” tells Galvin.
“We hear so many stories of cyber-bullying and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down,” he added.
The series, which will be a trilogy, was born after Galvin’s own son was bullied.
“I knew something wasn’t quite right with my middle son, and when I tried to find a book to read with him to help us talk about it, there wasn’t one,” Galvin says.
Financed with the assistance of Screen Australia, Daisychain is the sequel to book and app, Dandelion, which achieved acclaim of its own.
Dandelion was the number one book app in Australia and in 2012 was awarded the Apple Award for being one of the best in the Apple App store.
Illustrated with beautiful Tim Burton-esque images by Anthony Ishinjerro, the Daisy Chain film and app are being released today, and such a worthy project is the perfect birthday present for Kate Winslet whose 40th birthday was yesterday.
You can purchase the Daisychain app here.