The lovely Gillian Anderson first captured our hearts way back in the early '90s when she appeared as FBI agent Dana Scully in the X-Files. She played a female character that young women could look up to. Agent Scully was intelligent, ambitious, and loyal. Although Anderson doesn't have the same red locks as her X-Files character, she does share some similarities with the FBI agent. She's most definitely a person young women can look up to. You just need to follow her on Twitter to realize that she's a champion for women's rights. She's also happy to engage with her loyal fanbase. The beautiful, talented actress isn't slowing down anytime soon. She's set to appear in the new HBO series American Gods based on Neil Gaiman's book of the same name.
We know you want to know more about her, so here are 15 things you probably didn't know about Gillian Anderson.
15 She Was 24 When She Was Cast As Agent Dana Scully
Yep! It's true, Gillian Anderson was pretty young when she was cast at the lovely and smart Agent Dana Scully. She was clearly the perfect choice for the role and it was the role of a lifetime for her. And it was on the set of X-Files where Anderson met her first husband. She was even pregnant while working on the series and was quick to get back to work after giving birth to her daughter, Piper, during season two. In an interview with The Telegraph, she talks about how hectic life was for her in her early 20s, but through all the cacaos, having her daughter "grounded" her. We imagine that working 16-hour days as the star of a hit television show must have also played a part in making her feel more grown up than she actually was.
14 She's Into Animal Rights
If anyone follows Gillian Anderson on social media, it's no surprise that she's a lover of animals. She holds many causes near and dear to her heart, and animal rights is one of them. She's modeled in various PETA ad campaigns, and the photo pictured above shows Anderson with an eel wrapped around her neck. That particular PETA campaign aimed to raise awareness about overfishing. Now, most of us are used to PETA ads revolving around nude models—and we're all for it. But, one ad in particular caught our eye without Anderson taking off her clothes. She was featured in a Hannibal themed commercial, where she was sitting at a massive dinner table with loads of meat. Since this was Hannibal themed, I think you get where they were going with this.
Bryan Fuller, the creator of the television series Hannibal, even helped create the ad. When we watch Hannibal, we know there's human meat being eaten sometimes, and honestly it makes us hungry. We admit we had a slightly different reaction watching this advert, though...
13 Her Daughter Is Just As Beautiful As She Is
Gillian Anderson's daughter, Piper Anderson, looks so much like her beautiful mother she might be able to play a young Dana Scully in a future X-Files revival! Their eyes are nearly identical and they have the same great cheekbones. And we bet they share more in common than just their looks. Piper was born in 1994, while Anderson was busy working on the second season of the X-Files. That's not Piper's only connection to the X-Files, though. There's actually an episode named after her! Chris Carter named the season three episode "Piper Maru" after Anderson's daughter. Hey, Chris! We want a show named after us, too! *Sigh* The episode, aside from being named after an important person, is also a pretty important one, too. It's when the black oil is first introduced.
12 She's Thought About Plastic Surgery
Seriously, haven't we all? We've all looked in the mirror and thought how nice it would be to tighten some skin or get rid of some of that fat around our love handles, haven't we? We don't blame Gillian Anderson for thinking about plastic surgery at all - especially in Hollywood. We think she looks just lovely the way she is, though. She's aging like a fine wine. But it's normal for everyone to feel a bit insecure about face lines and wrinkles. In an interview with The Telegraph, Anderson mentions that she's thought about going under the knife. She talks about how she suddenly noticed changes one day while looking in the mirror and that it took her aback. But she also talks about other famous women that she looks up to who have chosen to age naturally. Whether Anderson goes under the knife is up to her, but either way, she sure is aging gracefully.
11 She's A Spokeperson For Neurofibromatosis
After Gillian's brother passed away at an early age caused by a brain tumor that was most likely connected to Neurofibromatosis, she became a spokesperson for the Network. The disease is typically genetic and targets the nervous system. It causes tumor growth on nerves around the body and does not discriminate against races, genders, and groups. And believe it or not, it's actually a very common disorder. It's likely you aren't familiar with it, but one out of every 3,000 to 4,000 people born in the United States are affected by Neurofibromatosis. Anderson has spent time advocating for more research funding for NF because it's a disease that's close to her heart—she even addressed the United Sates Congress in 1996! (You go, girl!) Her goal was to educate and bring more awareness to the NF cause. Despite being the star of a television series, she found her experience addressing Congress "nerve-wracking." It's always heartwarming to see celebrities stand behind a cause they believe in.
10 Her Brother Died Of A Brain Tumor At 30
As aforementioned, Gillian's brother, Aaron, died at the age of 30 due to a brain tumor. It was because of his death that led her to giving back to Neurofibromatosis charities and raising awareness for the disease. In an interview with the Global Genes Project, she talks about how her brother's NF was very mild when he was a child, but as most of us know, the disease has no cure. While tumor growth is part of the disease, they do not often grow in the brain. Sadly, Aaron was unlucky in this regard. The tumor that appeared in his brain was inoperable. He received the diagnosis at the age of 27 and passed away three years later. Anderson says that her brother's faith (he was a Buddhist) helped him cope.
9 She's Had Relationships With Women
The actress has been married twice—both to men. Ultimately, we think she belongs with David Duchovny, but that's a whole other story. But, yes, it's true. Gillian Anderson has had past relationships with women. In an interview with Out Magazine, Anderson talked about the relationships she had in her youth. Which, yes, included women. She also had a relationship with another woman in high school. She even admit to being in a relationship with someone much older, though she doesn't say whether it was a man or woman. We love that Anderson is open about her sexuality. She doesn't feel the need to hide or shy away from her past experiences. She's still private and reveals a few details, but she's definitely not ashamed to admit any of it.
8 In High School She Was Voted 'Most Likely To Be Arrested'
It's kind of funny that the woman who was voted "most likely to be arrested" and "most bizarre" in high school went on to play a straight laced FBI agent in the X-Files. I guess this proves that vibrant and 'bizarre' women can also became hugely successful (so suck on that high schoolers!).
However, those factoids from her youth seem at odds with what we know about Anderson today. But it's true and Anderson admitted, in an interview with Out Magazine that she likely gave off that sort of impression as a young teenager. She even told the magazine that she was a pretty wild child; she dyed her hair purple, pulled pranks, and was even in a relationship with a drug addict! (Who knew?) It seems that the woman deemed "most bizarre" showed everyone that being a little different can be a good thing.
7 She's A Bada*s Feminist And Women's Rights Advocate
Yep. Gillian Anderson is very passionate about women's rights and she's a self proclaimed feminist. She's not shy about getting involved in social causes. And as she's gotten older, she's gotten more involved in causes that are closer to her heart. Many of them which center around women's rights. As an actor, Anderson seems to be attracted to playing strong female roles. Agent Dana Scully was certainly a great role model for young girls and women everywhere. The character was strong, intelligent, and oftentimes, fearless. She also played Stella in The Fall, a character who is unapologetic about her sexuality and doesn't take s**t from men. It's clear after watching some of Anderson's work that she chooses to play strong women on screen, because she has a connection to them off screen as well. In real life she campaigns against domestic violence in the UK and for a myriad of other causes around the world.
6 She Co-Wrote A Book Called 'We: A Manifesto For Women Everywhere'
Yesssss and we hope to get our hands on it soon! The book is called We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere. Gillian Anderson co-wrote the book with Jennifer Nadel (a journalist). Anderson expressed her concern over the increased rate of teen-suicides, which ultimately, motivated her to write this book. The book (which is aimed towards young women) deals with themes of self-esteem and self-acceptance. Anderson swears it's not a self-help book, though it sounds a lot like one. Although it's geared towards young women, it's likely a great read for women young and old. We hope to get our hands on it and flip through it soon! There's likely something in it for everyone. We love the idea of a manifesto for women everywhere.
5 She Wore A Wig In 'The X-Files' Revival
Gillian Anderson's hair always looks perfect, doesn't it? During the first nine seasons of The X-Files, we got used to that bright red mane that made her stand out from the crowd. It's not her natural hair color, of course. Recently, she's stuck to a blonde shade that makes her blue-eyes pop and suits her very well. However, even the blonde shade is not her natural color (do any of us know our natural color any more?). In fact, her natural hair color is a plain brown tone. Honestly, we bet she would look fantastic in any shade. When she returned to her role as Agent Dana Scully for The X-Files revival, she didn't dye her hair red this time. She ended up wearing a wig to play Scully instead! *Gasp* She would have had to go back and forth between red for The X-Files, and blonde for The Fall. She was told that the process would likely cause her hair to fall out. Yikes.
4 She's The Best On Twitter
If you're not following Gillian Anderson on Twitter right now, what are you doing? Go there and start following her! If you're a fan of the actress, following her on Twitter is a great way to stay up to date with what she's doing. She's super active on the platform. She tweets, retweets, and replies on a consistent basis. She tweets often about the causes she's involved in and isn't afraid to speak her mind. She's also known to crack a joke once in a while. Her #TBT tweets are our personal favorite. Recently, she's been using the platform to promote the release of her book, We: A Manifesto For Women Everywhere. Seeing all her book release related tweets makes us proud to follow the strong, compassionate Anderson on Twitter.
3 She's The Co-Founder Of A Charity Called Sa-YES
She's involved in a ton of charity work already, she just released a book that she co-wrote that aims to help young women with self-esteem, and she co-founded a charity! Is there anything she can't do? The charity, Sa-YES, was launched in 2008 and stands for 'South African Youth Education for Sustainability.' The charity looks to provide support for marginalized youth in South Africa. Sa-YES takes the time to train volunteer mentors so they can go on to help marginalized youngsters. Anderson continues to be actively involved with the charitable organization, and she even sold a bunch of her fancy designer duds in 2013 to raise money for Sa-YES. We think that's pretty impressive. Clearing out a closet for charity is a great idea. It beats hoarding pairs of pants that don't fit any longer!
2 She's Dealt With Mental Health Issues
Yes, indeed. Gillian Anderson has dealt with mental health issues. And it's honestly just another way that we can relate to her. She moved around a lot as a young child and felt a bit out of place when her family returned to the United States. She got into punk rock and, as we mentioned before, even got voted "most likely to get arrested." She also admits that she was into drugs and was a pretty rebellious teenager. We think it sounds like she was a pretty standard teenager, to us. She started therapy at the young age of 14 and she admits that therapy set her on a better path. In the recently released We: A Manifesto for Young Women Everywhere, she also touches upon some of her mental health struggles in order to relate to readers everywhere.
1 She's Bi-Dialectal
Um, did anyone else know that bi-dialectal was a thing? Because I sure as hell didn't. As it turns out, Gillian Anderson is bi-dialectal. The term refers to someone who can speak in two dialects of the same language, fluently. Essentially, Anderson can put on a perfect American accent and she can also speak with a perfect British accent. It's really impressive, if not somewhat confusing. You might have seen her give interviews with one accent only to later hear her speaking to another host in another accent. It's odd. But it's a real thing. We sometimes pick up on accents if we're around different people. But to be truly bi-dialectal is a whole other ball game. It's a real bonus if you're an actor! Think of all the actors who totally suck at putting on British accents. Anderson's got it made.