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Ashley Jensen: ‘British women under more pressure to stay looking young’

Ugly Betty star Ashley Jensen feels more pressure over her looks living in the U.K. than she did living in Hollywood.
The 48-year-old Scottish actress went from being a British TV regular to a U.S. star in 2006 when she debuted as seamstress Christina McKinney on the hit TV show.
She says that she was never bothered by any pressure to look younger while in Hollywood, but the increase in people having surgery to look younger in her native Britain has made her more conscious of her looks.
“I was too old to bow to any pressure – and I refused to,” she tells Britain’s Radio Times magazine “I went there the same way as I came back. I think there’s more pressure over here now than I ever felt over there.
“It’s one of these twisted things that’s become the norm, which is that women are not allowed to grow old. It’s becoming more normal to see a face that looks like a cross between a hard-boiled egg and a cat.”
Ashley says she was initially overwhelmed by working in America as she couldn’t believe she’d nabbed a plum U.S. TV role.
“I went there slightly older than most people do and it was almost like getting pregnant by accident, like ‘Oh God, my head’s not quite ready for this’,” she adds. “It was so different there, I did feel like a grubby interloper sometimes. I’d watch myself in Ugly Betty and go, ‘What am I doing in that? How did that happen?’.”
And she credits Ricky Gervais with helping her career as he cast her as Maggie Jacobs in his hit comedy Extras, a role which earned her an Emmy nomination.
“Everything escalated quickly after doing Extras with Ricky Gervais,”she explains. “It was never part of my game plan to go to America.”

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