“There are people who inspire us, others who made us feel good… And those who, without asking permission, touch our souls.” (Lígia Guerra)
I’ve never been the romantic type. I’ve never believed in astrology or sympathies. I also never closely followed the life or career of any artist. Not until I discovered Outlander. Or better saying, until I finish watching the show and diving into everything related to it.
And it was on this very journey that I also discovered a new actress, with a life story that even seems fiction at times. After all, it’s not always that the stars align. Except, of course, if your name is Caitriona Balfe.
Everything about Cait’s journey seems a bit magical. The childhood in a small town in Ireland, with no TV, but surrounded by books and siblings (six in all). The dream of being an actress that was interrupted by the chance to get to know the world and achieve financial independence as a model. A successful career in fashion that seemed to have set aside the initial plan.
That until she left it altogether and went after her true dream. A fresh start at age 30, with no guarantees and in an industry that is not usually generous to older women. The big break knocking on her door with a little help from fate (aka the Indian embassy). And guess what? It happens that Libra and Taurus really match!
Her sincere and down-to-earth manner contrasts with times when Caitriona herself seems to see something magical in her path. A mixture of gratitude for what she has achieved, but not forgetting what she went through to get there. A story she shares unreservedly and it’s not hard to realize that has inspired and continues to inspire others. It just takes a quick look at social media to prove that.
There are several messages from people who started a drama course or decided to change paths following Cait’s example. There are also many who confess to rethinking old daily habits, making more sustainable choices. Evidence of this Irish woman’s power to influence people around her and to be aware of it.
As she already admitted, her social media is much more than a place for advertise and interaction with fans. They are platforms for sharing ideas and cause promotions, just as she does in interviews. This is not surprising at all, since it comes from someone who sees herself as a “citizen of the world” even before she identifies herself as an actress.
It was with this thought in mind, and in honor of our Dora the Explorer’s 40th birthday, that we selected 40 of her quotes about career, love, politics, feminism, beliefs and personal insights. We hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us.
“There is a moment in your story when you can pinpoint the exact time you fell in love, be it with a place or a person. I can remember both like it was yesterday.”
“Have compassion. We are all the same fundamentally. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what your religion is, what race you are. We are all fundamentally the same.”
“When you love somebody, you want them to be the best version of themselves.”
“One thing I love about it [Outlander] is it shows love is worth fighting for.”
“How do people move on after they’ve lost the love of their life? It’s a really interesting thing to look at. It happens to people every day (…). And it’s a fascinating thing about human nature. That ability to just continue on.”
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
“In many times of our lives we have an opportunity to make a big change and fear can make stop us. I say ‘go for it!’.”
“I have regular ‘what was I thinking?’ moments, but often it’s those mistakes which lead to you making better choices or working that bit harder in the future. You have to fight to create the life that you want.”
“I think it’s good to study, it’s good to live life. Don’t be in a rush to get into the business (…). Everyone has their own path. Just gotta trust your instincts and trust yourself.”
“If you schedule everything, you risk being disappointed, while I always took my best decisions without thinking at them. I let myself be surprised and, when there are challenges, I took them up.”
“There’s some need for a reconnection or a going back. Reconnecting with home. I mean, I’ve never worked as an actor in Ireland. I haven’t worked in Ireland since I was 18 years old. And it’s so funny, because so much of your identity is where you’re from. But the country where I’m from is now completely different to the country I grew up in.”
“I think it was also escapism. I grew up in the 1980s in Monaghan, where there wasn’t an awful lot of things to do. There was also a lot of bullying in the primary school that I went to. I think it was an escape to get out of where I was.”
“What is a person or a character but a series of memories and experiences? So you know, at this point, I have such a bank of who Claire is already in me, because I’ve lived through it and been through it in scenes and all those moments (…). That’s the beauty of doing something in that long form. You actually get to, in some ways, create a living being within your own mind.”
“Whether you’re going to go in and audition, and you’re so nervous because you want people to like what you’re about to do: release and destroy the need to be liked. It’s something so simple and so silly, but it works for a myriad of reasons.”
“I think the perfect feminist role is to be a complicated, messy woman, and that means you’re not always strong. Weakness is in all of us, and I think to be able to allow yourself to be vulnerable and allow yourself to be weak is a strong character too, in a way.”
“It’s great to play someone who’s so unafraid of being who she is.”
“I think that’s how my parents raised me, you know? I think they raised me to be a citizen of the world, and to be politically conscious, and to look out for anyone who’s less fortunate, and to sort of fight for justice in whatever form. That’s just part of who I am.”
“Let’s be hopeful, but let’s also stand our ground and make sure that we protect the rights that we should.”
“One of the things that is inspiring about playing Claire is that she’s this strong woman, standing up against chauvinism, and that’s really made me consider my own responsibilities, as someone who has a platform. I realize some people object to the idea of actors expressing their political opinions, but we’re human beings living in this world, responding to what’s going on, and why shouldn’t we be able to take a stand on what we see as injustice?”
“There’s an idea that if you weren’t born into this place of privilege, somehow your life isn’t of as much value. And that’s just disgusting.”
“I believe that, no matter what you do, you should be a responsible citizen of the world.”
“I always try to stand up and speak up for people who don’t have a voice. As one of the older models, even though I was only 19… I guess in a way, I’ve always taken on that role of trying to look after and protect these girls.”
Equality in entertainment
“Looking at the power imbalance and why there are not enough women in positions of decision-making, you realise that a big part of that is also because we need to step up and become those numbers. Become those numbers of directors who are women, become those numbers of writers who are creating roles, and I think that was a big wake-up call for me, because it’s up to every single one of us to do our part.”
“I can’t tell you how many of the guys… Their girlfriends have all had kids, and they’ve all been able to have families, have this great job for five years, and it’s not affected them – except for, maybe, their sleep at night. They get to have it all. What do you do about it?”
“The people who used to hold the purse strings were a select group of white, middle-aged men, but that’s changing, and the more it continues to change, the more we’ll see inclusive stories get told.”
“There is definitely stories I would like to tell. I’d like to see more films focusing on women’s lives.”
[About Times Up] Let’s not just make it one moment, let’s get the conversation going. The amount of change that came out of that is incredible. The amount of money the fund raised and the help that the fund has been able to give other people… It has changed lives. I think we are at the start of a movement that is going to keep growing and the most important thing is to continue to try and affect the change going foward.
Confidence and persistence
“When I left the business [fashion], I moved to LA and I am so grateful that I was able to take a year. A lot of that was just dismantling a lot of the mental issues I had taken from the business, because your confidence and your self-esteem are in the toilet after you’ve been in that for so long.”
“I try to be like a sponge and absorb as much as I can when I’m working with other people. There’s a confidence that comes with watching other people doing it day to day and learning from them. You feel like: ‘oh, I can do it’.”
“At least for me, to have that fuel to prove people wrong… It definitely spurs me on and makes me wanna work harder.”
“Don’t take no for an answer and continue to fight the good fight, which I think we all should do.”
“She [Claire] has such an immense capacity for feeling, and that’s such an incredible thing to be able to play. You get to really go for those big emotions and express yourself quite strongly. Playing her has given me a lot of confidence and strength that I don’t think I had five years ago.”
“Trust your instinct and don’t be afraid.”
“To walk into that industry with no credits and start at the bottom – a lot of people were like: ‘Ah, you’re crazy.’ You definitely need a little delusion [to keep on going].”
“I’m just so glad that I started acting when I did, because I had this wealth of life experience. I don’t know if I’d have been able to handle it had I gone out to L.A. at 22.”
“I was literally eating, sleeping, living Outlander. And yeah, I nearly lost my mind, but at the same time, I think that circumstances can sometimes all conspire to give you the best opportunity in life.”
“All of those things that you sort of dream about, one day – if you work hard – you’ll get that and more. I grew up in a very small village in the middle of nowhere. And I never would have imagined I could have been here.” [referring to what she would say to herself in the past]
“It’s been really amazing to be part of something that fans have such an ownership of. It’s incredible to be swept along in it and to have fans sharing the love that they have for the characters and for the books with you. I’m very aware of how lucky I am in that respect.”
“It’s just really nice to be recognized. I look at the other women in the category [Best TV Actress – Drama] and I’m just in awe because I love what they do. Looking back five years ago, I could never have imagined I would be standing here. And that’s a pretty incredible personal feat.”
Happy birthday to the woman who inspire us to be better everyday.
Thank you, Caitriona Balfe!
To read this post in Portuguese, click here.
Author: Camila Miranda
Images: Catarina Balfe
Proofreader (Portuguese): Thaís Belluzo
Translator: Bianca Cuglovici
Proofreader (English): Bianca Portela
Compiler: Carolina Ramires
SM: Carolina Ramires