Julia Goldani Telles from ‘The Affair’ talks pressures of conformity, equal rights

Season two of “The Affair,” which focuses on the effects of adultery to the pyshce of a family, is expected to premiere Oct 4. Actress Julia Goldani Telles, who plays Whitney Solloway on the show, shared how she hopes to use her role in the show to inspire change regarding equality for women.

Telles’s biggest wish, she says, is freedom for everyone to be themselves without the pressures of conformity. Her goal in life is to use her platform in hopes of gaining women equal rights socially as well as changing the narrative of gender roles.

“Now, growing up as a young woman, I’m really conscious of what that means and how much harder that is and how that’s really a catch 22,” Telles said. “I’m trying to change the way that women are supposed to be.

Telles said women and men are expected to behave a certain way by their parents and society, which ultimately becomes harmful. Girls in particular, she said, are often stifled in self-expression, especially sexually.

“Women aren’t expected to be sexual beings the same way that men are and they’re not protected socially in the same way,” she said. “Just the idea that I have to double check what I’m wearing before I leave the house because of what idea it may bring is wrong.”

Telles also explained that aside from being stifled sexually, women have been stifled of free-form thinking. In class, she noticed that guys would speak when they wanted to speak, while girls would raise their hands and say “maybe this is wrong but I think….”

Similarly to the girls in her class, she also finds herself being unable to say what she wants without the approval of others.

“I find myself apologizing for things I don’t need to apologize for,” Telles said. “I find myself asking for permission for things I don’t have to ask permission for because I don’t want to be perceived as a b*tch or as too aggressive.”

Raising awareness and having discussions within her friend groups is one of the ways she plans on making a change. She said even making a change in her small community will make her happy because it could spread to something bigger.

Aside from her hopes to recreate the social views of the world, Julia said she also wishes to work her hardest as an actress so that her niece and nephews can think she is “the bomb.”

As for her own inspiration, she aspires to be like “The Empire” character Cookie Lyon, played by Taraji P. Henson.

“She’s tough and strong and she knows what she wants and what she deserves and she has an amazing taste in cheetah print,” Telles said.