Miranda has discovered with age comes self-knowledge and a freedom from worrying about what the world is thinking about her. “As you get older you just think, ‘I am who I am and I have got to love myself’” she explains. “So, now I try and put my shoulders back and be a bit more confident about it.”
But this realisation hasn’t come easily and Miranda admits that behind the happy smiling exterior we have come to know and love through her sitcom Miranda, and roles in hits like Call The Midwife, there have been dark and troubled times.
It’s not easy being a taller lady and being 6ft 1” made for a difficult time as a teenager. Added to this she was in an all-girls boarding school which made for a very intense self-critical experience. But, with age came the confidence, and understanding that she needed to change the way she thought.
“From the age of 20 to 36 I got bored of myself and thought, ‘I have only got this, start to love it’ and finally now I do.” Although she regrets the years wasted on worry, “I wish I could tell that to my twenty-something self.”
Now Miranda believes her appearance has actually helped, rather than hindered her through the self-development it has brought. “I’m not a stereotypically beautiful woman and I’m so happy that I’m not,” she says. “I’ve seen those ladies – the need to be attractive at all times is ghastly. Also, in your 20s, if you are beautiful, everything comes to you, so you never need to develop a personality. I never had that problem.”
Miranda is the first to admit she can be too critical of herself without the pressures which fame brings. “I can get a bit negative,” she explains. “People say, ‘Oh you did really well tonight’ and I am always like, ‘Yes, I would have been if I had done x, y and z…’ there is always that negative. It is very self-critical and I am learning to praise myself and see the positive side. I am very impatient with myself. I want things to be right and done now, which is why writing does not suit me. I want to get there now rather than wait for six months.”
But after heeding some sage advice she’s trying to be more honest with herself and to her fans too. “Someone told me, ‘Don’t compare your insides to someone’s insides’,” she explains. “If you are feeling fragile and stressed and think you look awful and look at someone trim, rich or famous – you don’t know what’s going on inside them. We should stop projecting we have this amazing life. Instead, we should share kindness.”
While her positive outlook is effective most of the time, Miranda knows that life is not all roses at any age. Having experienced anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia, Miranda is respectful of her mental and emotional health. She has in the past cancelled jobs when life is too overwhelming and she needed to take some time to help herself. “When a low mood sinks in, you find yourself almost reveling in the awful world news and feeling self-pityingly about the tiniest things,” she says. “It’s easy to spiral into seeing just the negative around us and then simply not smiling. I think we all have days when we just want to hole up, cancel friends and cocoon in a duvet.”
But, she has learnt to give herself the time she needs and also strategies for making herself feel better. Miranda has accepted she’s not a natural optimist – and that’s ok as she realises it! “There’s a lot of talk about comedians being depressed and I think, in many cases, it’s absolutely true,” she says. “I definitely have that side to my personality – naturally my glass is half-empty, so I make a conscious effort to keep the positive attitude going.”
And, she loves to share her positivity with others too, choosing to post uplifting and happiness boosting posts on her social media. Miranda understands the daily struggle many have and hopes to offer a little insight to help others. “Number 1 rule for any of you suffering from anxiety: love and look after yourself and from there you can heal broken wings and start to soar.”
We certainly agree with that! To find out more about Miranda, you can follow her on Instagram and check out Miranda’s Daily Dose of Such Fun book. For more inspirational interviews, find out what Oprah had to say about her upcoming birthday and read why Gemma Sheppard told us that her favourite age is right now.