Despite the fact that she took the title role — and stole the show — in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland last year, Australian actress Mia Wasikowska is hardly a household name. And she’d like to keep it that way.
“Not many people recognize me,” she says, sounding pleased. “I still live a really simple, anonymous life.”
Still, maintaining her anonymity might prove difficult, given a slate of high-profile projects, including this month’s Jane Eyre, in which she plays the titular literary icon. But Wasikowska’s biggest concern with the film had nothing to do with the weightiness of the character but rather the wardrobe.
“Oh, corsets are just as painful as everyone says they are,” she says, sighing. “They’re absolute hell. I’m so grateful for the time that we live in now.”
Offscreen, Wasikowska prefers to spend most of her downtime at her parents’ house in Canberra, Australia — while wearing much comfier duds. “I’m only in L.A. when I’m working, and when I leave there, it’s like a big exhale. When I get home, I’m rarely seen in anything other than pj’s,” says the 21-year-old, who, despite her preference for sleepwear, has been known to check out a couture show or two. “I love some stripey flannels, something classic. It just feels so free.”
Once a serious dancer, Wasikowska gave up ballet at 14 in favor of acting, which she says has taken less of a toll on her physically. “When I was dancing, it was 35 hours a week, a full-time job,” she says. “It was exhausting, and the whole idea of trying to attain perfection started to ruin the experience. Hollywood can be harsh, too, but it depends on what type of projects you pick. I’m not looking to be the glamour queen.”