The Untold Truth Of Erin Doherty

Watching Netflix’s The Crown, the first thing that strikes you is the impeccable casting. From Claire Foy’s version of Queen Elizabeth to Emma Corrin’s spot-on portrayal of Princess Diana, it’s easy to forget that the people on our screens are actually just actors. To that end, one of the most impressive performances came from Erin Doherty as Princess Anne in seasons 3 and 4. With her sharp features, her blunt, clipped accent, and her iconic beehive hair style, the actress quickly won over plenty of fans. Glamour even called her “the best part” of the third season.

When the cast of season 3 of The Crown was announced back in 2019, Doherty was practically unknown, having only done a few roles on TV and on stage (via Express). And while the actress has certainly won over fans and become a familiar face thanks to her turn in The Crown, she’s still a bit of a mystery. Curious to find out more about this up-and-coming star? Here is the untold truth of Erin Doherty.

Erin Doherty's upbringing in South London makes her super different from Princess Anne

Fans of The Crown might be shocked to learn that Erin Doherty couldn’t be more different from Princess Anne. To begin with, her South London upbringing makes her a little more urban and modern than she comes across on the Netflix show. As Town & Country noted, she speaks in a “pure Crawley” accent. Crawley is the suburb in South London where Doherty grew up.

In addition to her distinctive south London drawl, Doherty reportedly has a laid-back, easy-going personality. Interviewers often comment on her fun-loving nature, her chilled out style, and her lack of formality. It’s no wonder her co-star Josh O’Connor lovingly referred to her as a “Cockney geezer.” As he told Town & Country, the actress “couldn’t be further” from Princess Anne. “Not just her accent, her physicality, her personality, she transforms and that’s the kind of actor that I love,” he gushed.

Erin Doherty was a huge Meryl Streep fan growing up

Like many actors, Erin Doherty cites Meryl Streep as a huge influence. As she said to The Italian Reve, she “grew up just adoring” the actress. She explained that her slight resemblance to Streep was part of what first intrigued her. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know what it is, she’s just so incredible,” Doherty recalled. 

As a kid, Doherty apparently binged every Streep film she could find. As she told Elle, she would even “rewind little bits and wonder how she was doing it.” It’s no wonder, then, that seeing Streep in the flesh at the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards was a seriously surreal moment for the young actress. “I had to walk up to the stage and ignore her,” she revealed. As she explained, she knew that if she had looked into her idol’s eyes, she never would have made it to the stage as it would have been “too unreal.”

One thing’s for sure: all of Doherty’s fame from The Crown hasn’t taken away her awe of her childhood hero!

Erin Doherty gave up her passion for soccer to pursue acting

Erin Doherty wasn’t always set on becoming an actor. In fact, as a child, she had dreams about becoming a professional football (or soccer) player. As she revealed to Town & Country, she was devoted to playing for her club, the Crawley Wasps. “We’d win, like, 10-0 — we were that team,” she recalled. “I bloody loved it.” After her parents divorced, Doherty and her sister were also enrolled in a drama class, and their childhood weekends were split between acting and football.

As The Times reported, Doherty was a team captain and she even got a trial at the world-famous Chelsea Football Club. However, her father eventually told her to choose between her two weekend passions, purely because of the time it took to drive her around. Doherty explained that she settled on acting because it had the potential of lasting longer than a career as an athlete. Not surprisingly, the decision made her extra devoted to her craft.

Of course, Doherty still holds a soft spot in her heart for football. Apparently, she does keepy-uppies in her garden, and even has recurring dreams about playing again.

Erin Doherty failed to get into drama schools for a few years, but didn't give up

After Erin Doherty decided to pursue acting rather than football, she became completely devoted. As she explained to Town & Country, “I’m like, ‘Well, I made a choice, and I stand by it.'”

However, the path to acting success wasn’t exactly easy for Doherty. After she graduated from high school, she auditioned for drama schools, but wasn’t offered a place for two years running. Even though she’d paid her own money for the auditions, she refused to give up.

As she explained, Doherty took a job at her old school as a PE technician to earn some more money before applying again. She eventually earned a place in a foundation course, which led to her finally getting a spot at the prestigious Bristol Old Vic school for three years. Not surprisingly, Doherty took the opportunity seriously. “I didn’t go out, I didn’t party or anything,” she revealed. “I decided, I’m here for three years, let’s just do it.” Wow, talk about dedication!

Erin Doherty worked primarily in theater before her breakthrough role

After graduating from drama school in 2015, Erin Doherty started getting roles in stage productions almost immediately. Her long list of credits includes My Name Is Rachel Corrie, A Christmas Carol, a leading role in The Divide, and The Glass Menagerie (via Spotlight). She also began collecting nominations and awards for her work, including the Manchester Theater Award in 2017. As the Observer put it, she was quickly becoming a “prolific theater actress.”

While Doherty’s theater work isn’t necessarily as well-known as her work on The Crown, it’s clear that the young actress was making quite the impression in the first few years of her career. In a review of My Name Is Rachel Corrie, The Guardian wrote, “Erin Doherty emerges as one of the year’s great discoveries with a stunning performance.” For her performance in Wolfie, The Times called her “electrifying” and noted her “remarkable range.”

As for Doherty, being on stage is one of her greatest joys. “I get such a buzz,” she told The Times. “I find it quite freeing, because in my personal life I feel quite overwhelmed by it all.”

Bridesmaids is Erin Doherty's guilty pleasure movie

Even though Erin Doherty spent her childhood taking in the brilliance of Meryl Streep, she also clearly has a less serious side. In fact, she even admitted to The Italian Reve that she’s a massive fan of the 2011 Kristen Wiig comedy Bridesmaids.Bridesmaids is fantastic,” she gushed. “I just love them all, all those women are so clever and they inspire me…because they just don’t care and that excites me, seeing those women on that screen just doing what they feel like and what feels right, not worrying about what it looks like.”

It sounds like Doherty not only finds the comedy hilarious, but she also loves its groundbreaking nature. After all, it was a female-led film that did away with the male gaze by featuring some ridiculous scenes that definitely presented women as being 100 percent human — and yes, we’re thinking of the infamous food poisoning scene! “They just go for it,” Doherty summed up, “and I love it.”

Erin Doherty knew that her role on The Crown would change her life

Landing a leading role on a hit Netflix show would change just about anyone’s life, but for Erin Doherty, she knew the change would be extra dramatic. In addition to her theater roles, she’d only ever appeared in one episode of Call the Midwife and as a small character in the BBC adaptation of Les Misérables. She was flying under the radar and couldn’t be further from a household name.

As Doherty told Town & Country, she got the big news while at a bar with a friend. After she got the call from her agent, her friend said, “What’s happened?! Your face has gone purple.” Doherty recalled that she had to go for a walk to adjust to the revelation and contemplate just how much her life was about to transform.

Of course, Doherty was right — her life did change. As she explained to the Evening Standard, she initially found her newfound fame overwhelming, and even had a “minor meltdown.” “I have hidden from a lot of [the press attention],” she said. “It was an overload for me.”

Erin Doherty had to learn a seriously different voice for The Crown

One of the most striking differences between Erin Doherty and her character on The Crown is the way they speak; Doherty’s urban, South London accent couldn’t be further from Princess Anne’s clipped, posh voice. As Doherty explained to Refinery29, learning to speak with the new accent wasn’t entirely straightforward. “No one talks the way that the royal family talks,” she shared, explaining that it’s not an accent you would learn anywhere else, even as an actor. Her method? “I recorded Anne and put on my headphones and would just walk around London with her in my ears trying to replicate it.”

Discovering Anne’s voice actually helped Doherty understand her on a psychological level, too. Describing the voice to The Times, Doherty said, “It’s so much lower [than mine] and it’s much more constrained.” Speaking in this rigid way helped Doherty to discover the pent up anger and hidden emotion in the character.

Doherty confessed to the Observer that the stylized voice isn’t something she’ll miss. “I don’t ever have to do it ever again,” she said joyfully.

Erin Doherty learned to love film acting from her co-stars on The Crown

Until getting her role in The Crown, Erin Doherty had primarily worked as a theater actress (via Spotlight). At the time, theater was definitely her first and greatest love.

However, as Doherty explained to The Italian Reve, it took her a little time to fall in love with film acting. “I’ve spent more time doing stage works, so what I really love…is the relationship you have with an audience,” she said. Doherty added that with live performances, mistakes are “kind of a gift” because they give extra excitement to the audience. On set, however, the actors simply do it again, so the audience is “never a part of that process,” as Doherty put it.

However, while acting on The Crown, Doherty learned to find the same “magic” with film acting. She credits her co-stars with teaching her that “you just need to be brave enough to put yourself out there every time, because it can be very easy to get in a rut.”

Princess Anne's hairstyle on the show was "its own beast"

In addition to learning a new voice for The Crown, Erin Doherty also had to undergo a pretty lengthy hair makeover every morning on set. In order to achieve the iconic beehive style that Princess Anne sported throughout her life, Doherty often sat for hours before her hairstyle was complete. “Makeup literally took 10 minutes,” she told Town & Country. “But hair, sometimes it would take two hours.” She added that it was “its own beast. Literally, I would sit in the chair, people would come in and go and come in and go, and I sat still in the same place.”

However, Doherty didn’t mind waiting hours on end for the perfect hairstyle. As she explained, Princess Anne’s hair felt like a big part of how the character expressed herself.

Funnily enough, Princess Anne herself came across Doherty’s comments about the famous hairstyle. In the ITV documentary Anne: The Princess Royal at 70, Anne revealed, “Actually I read an article the other day about [the hairstyle]…how could you possibly take that long? I mean, it takes me 10 or 15 minutes” (via Town & Country).

Playing Princess Anne taught Erin Doherty the power of honesty

Many actors claim that they end up taking away aspects of their characters with them after playing the role; for Erin Doherty, playing Princess Anne was no different. After two seasons of portraying the blunt, straight-talking princess, Doherty left the role with a newfound sense of the power of honesty. “Having spent a year in her skin, I feel I’ve come out the other end as more committed to telling the truth and not worrying about what other people will say or think,” she revealed in an interview with Vulture. 

While Doherty may have tried to placate people’s feelings in the past, since playing Princess Anne, she’s learned to tell it like it is. “I get in my head about not wanting to upset people, trying to make them happy,” she explained to the Independent. Now, Doherty realizes that telling the truth can actually lead to deeper, more positive relationships. “You can do no wrong if you say, ‘This “is my genuine opinion,'” she added.

Erin Doherty worked on a live-streamed play in 2020

The 2020 pandemic certainly wasn’t easy for many people in the film business. For Erin Doherty, acting opportunities were put on hold until she signed on to take part in a live-streamed play with the Chichester Festival. As she explained to the Observer, the experience made her feel more hopeful about the future of her industry. “I was absolutely gutted to see all these theaters and all these shows that were about to open — these incredible plays — close,” she lamented. Nevertheless, Doherty realized that creatives will always find a way to make their work happen. As she put it, “You can’t get rid of plays. They won’t go down without a fight.”

The play she took part in, Crave by Sarah Kane, was about as far from the world of The Crown as you can get. As Doherty told The Times, she had explosive lines like, “I’m evil, I’m damaged, and no one can save me.” She added that it was the play’s darkness and intensity that attracted her. Sounds like Doherty will continue to defy typecasting of any kind!

Erin Doherty loves to talk about the benefits of therapy

After learning about honesty while playing Princess Anne on The Crown, Erin Doherty has become increasingly open about the importance of discussing mental health and therapy. In 2020, she spoke to Town & Country about her own experience. After attending sessions for several years, she said, “Everyone should bloody go and do it. It’s so amazing.” Doherty also described it as a “gym for your brain.” In fact, she wouldn’t have minded becoming a therapist herself, even though she admitted it would be a little sad hearing people’s problems all the time.

In another interview, Doherty opened up about how the coronavirus pandemic forced her to look more closely at her mental health, which, as she put it, “did dip” as her time on The Crown coincided with global lockdown. “To sit in my own thoughts was a difficult process at first, because you tune in with where your body and your mind and your soul and your spirit are,” she explained to Grazia. Clearly Doherty’s mental health is an ongoing journey, but one that she’ll always be happy to discuss.

Erin Doherty is set to star in a Netflix film alongside John Boyega

So, what’s next for Erin Doherty? Well, it seems as though her stint in The Crown has certainly set her career off on the right track. Her next project is a Netflix feature film, which also stars Star Wars actor John Boyega. The film, Rebel Ridge, is a thriller, due to start filming in Louisiana in March of 2021. Looks like Doherty may be tackling another new accent in this project! 

The film will be directed by Green Room creator Jeremy Saulnier and promises to feature dark comedy and impressive action sequences (via Variety). Wow, we cannot wait to see Princess Anne in an action flick!

Doherty also seems to be thrilled at the prospect. “I’m really, really chuffed,” she gushed in a chat with The Times. She even added that there’s another Netflix film in the works which has yet to be announced. One thing’s for sure — this young actress is only just getting started! 

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