A few months ago, Florence Pugh hit the cover of Vogue in a shot that I actually quite liked, but which was nonetheless Very Serious. And now Elle UK is chasing that with a shot that’s Very Serious II: Facing The Other Way, Sans Hat. Both profiles describe a vivacious and funny person; in both photo spreads, there is one photo TOTAL of her getting to be exuberant. In almost all of the rest, she’s pensive, or pouty, or confrontational. Madly photogenic, in every one of them, but the spreads don’t do much to harness her natural energy or charisma. It’s like they got lucky that she happens to have the skill of hooking you with her eyes. I do understand that a magazine right now with a cover of someone looking gleeful might clash with the current mood, but I also think that being reminded that joy exists is not a bad thing. Let us smile along with Florence Pugh, please, especially when in the piece she’s cracking wise:

While rolling gnocchi on a pasta board that looks like a ridged doorstop, Pugh declares: ‘Who decided to get a spanking tool and say, “I’m going to rub my pasta on it?”’

Florence is fun to read about, actually. I don’t know if I’ve learned anything that different from this piece than I did from the Vogue profile, but — like the three bowls of pasta and the burrata the reporter includes in the story — consuming it still feels filling and satisfying and rich. It also notes, and I concur, that you forget how young she still is; she’s just 24. So this was impressive:

There have long been rumours that stars of Marvel films have to submit to gruelling workouts and exacting diets, which is interesting given Pugh has previously spoken out about bad body-confidence experiences she had in Hollywood as a teenager. ‘When I got the job, I wanted to know what the regime was,’ she says, tucking into a forkful of salt cod. ‘I wanted to know whether it was them or me calling the shots. That was a big deal for me. I didn’t want to be part of something where I was constantly checked on. And people making sure I was in the “right” shape. That’s not me at all.’

She shot the forthcoming Black Widow before she had an Oscar nomination, and thus, before the kind of stroke that can afford a person. It can’t be easy, then, at 24 and not yet proven in the ways Hollywood prefers, to assert yourself and what you need in those situations. Clearly, she knows how to advocate for herself and isn’t afraid to do it. Some of us at 42 still aren’t as adept at it.

[Photo: Elle UK]