Hannah Waddingham Admits She Has a "Little List of People" Who Tried to Stifle Her Acting Career

"I’m just like: ‘No, you’re alright. Just look somewhere else.'"

Hannah Waddingham just before receiving the Women+Film 2024 Denver Film: Barbara Bridges Inspiration Award at the Denver Art Museum Strum Grand Pavilion the on May 16, 2024 in Denver, Colorado.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Actress Hannah Waddingham is not going to forget the people who didn't believe in her or who tried to block her acting career any time soon.

During a recent interview with MSNBC's Willie Geist for the latest episode of the Sunday Sitdown with Willie Geist podcast, the Ted Lasso star admitted that she keeps "a little list of people" who, as US Weekly reports, "wouldn't give me the time of day but now want to work together."

“I’m not going to lie, there are a few producers that are now suddenly like: ‘Is there a book you want to develop or…’ and I’m just like: ‘No, you’re alright. Just look somewhere else,'" she said at the time. "Because, you know, we’re human and we remember, so no. Bug off!

She went on to call people who have now realized how talented and capable she is as both an actress and a singer as "back-catalogers."

"Yeah, you're looking at my clips now," she added. "In your face!"

Hannah Waddingham

Hannah Waddingham at the Emmys.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to Waddingham, she likes the fact that she has been "knocking around for a while," especially because it teaches her 9-year-old daughter a very valuable lesson.

"I say to my daughter, do no be fooled," she explained. "Even in the car yesterday, we were driving down Broadway and she was like: 'Mommy, this is the part of your career I want to do, not the telly thing. I want to be on Broadway!' And I said: 'But remember...' and she goes: 'I know, it didn't start in a black Mercedes.' Because it's important for her to see that I had no life, you have to become so disciplined with your voice and your body, and it's grafting, grafting, grafting for no other reason than loving the craft.

"It's like being an intern," she added. "I feel like all of that was being an intern for what I can put on screen now."

Before securing breakout roles in Ted Lasso and Game of Thrones, Waddingham said she felt "very much indoctrinated to stay in my lane" as a theater actor, instead of trying to cross over into television and movies.

los angeles, california september 19 l r brett goldstein, winner of the outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series award for ‘ted lasso,’ and hannah waddingham, winner of the outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series award for ‘ted lasso,’ pose in the press room during the 73rd primetime emmy awards at la live on september 19, 2021 in los angeles, california photo by rich furygetty images

Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on September 19, 2021.

(Image credit: Rich Fury)

"I’d had 10 years of being a leading lady in the West End and it really got the bit between my teeth, that there was…TV and film people could come into theater…but going back that way didn’t happen," she explained.

In a recent interview for Michelle Visage's Rule Breakers podcast in January, Waddingham recalled a former drama teacher who she says told "the whole class" that Waddingham would "never work on screen because she looks like one side of her face has had a stroke."

"I thought: 'I will do. Come hell or high water, I will work on-screen,'" she said at the time, though she did admit that her teacher's comments "gave me a complex for years."

"In my Emmys speech, I made a point," she continued, referring to her 2021 acceptance speech. "The one thing I said to myself was 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 musical theater people, or theater people, to follow."

Danielle Campoamor
Weekend Editor

Danielle Campoamor is Marie Claire's weekend editor covering all things news, celebrity, politics, culture, live events, and more. In addition, she is an award-winning freelance writer and former NBC journalist with over a decade of digital media experience covering mental health, reproductive justice, abortion access, maternal mortality, gun violence, climate change, politics, celebrity news, culture, online trends, wellness, gender-based violence and other feminist issues. You can find her work in The New York Times, Washington Post, TIME, New York Magazine, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, TODAY, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Playboy, Teen Vogue, Glamour, The Daily Beast, Mother Jones, Prism, Newsweek, Slate, HuffPost and more. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two feral sons. When she is not writing, editing or doom scrolling she enjoys reading, cooking, debating current events and politics, traveling to Seattle to see her dear friends and losing Pokémon battles against her ruthless offspring. You can find her on X, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and all the places.