Ambika Mod Denounces "Pressure" for Female Characters Like 'One Day's' Emma Morley to Be "Sweet and Likable"

The actress loves that Emma is three-dimensional.

Ambika Mod attends The 2024 Met Gala Celebrating "Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion" at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 06, 2024 in New York City.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ambika Mod is happy she got to portray One Day's Emma Morley as something other than just "sweet and likable."

Speaking to Vogue India in a new interview, the British actress shared that she's glad she—and the series creators—chose not to "dumb down" the character of Emma.

"There’s so much pressure to make the female protagonist sweet and likable in a romcom," Mod said. "I’ve seen quite a bit of criticism for Emma, so I think we still expect our female characters to be a certain way."

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The actress rose to fame over the past few months as she starred as Emma in Netflix' TV adaptation of One Day, alongside The White Lotus' Leo Woodall as Dexter "Dex" Mayhew. The story was originally a novel by David Nicholls, then became a somewhat divisive film starring Anne Hathaway in 2011.

Previously, Mod was a stage actress, and also starred as Shruti in the 2022 mini-series This Is Going to Hurt.

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The Vogue interview is not the first time the actress has shared how affected she's been by the criticism of Emma Morley, who is an opinionated and often cynical character.

"Women are gonna be misunderstood. No matter what you do," she told Glamour in March. "You can make the sweetest, nicest manic pixie dream girl character there is, and people will still dislike her."

She added at the time, "We just do not give female characters or just women in general the same respect as we do male characters, especially in the show when you've got two characters like Emma and Dex, who were so equal.

"Especially in a situation like this, where there are two characters who are completely comparable and one is getting more love than the other, you sort of have to look at society a little bit and be like, Why? Why is that happening? And why don't we talk about it more?"

Some questions to ponder over the weekend!

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.