Josh Whitehouse wouldn’t answer our sexist questions – women shouldn’t have to either
Of course we asked if he sees himself having children
by Jennie Gale
There’s a never-ending history of women being asked sexist questions in interviews: queries about their underwear, irrelevant interrogation on boyfriends and girlfriends, being asked why they’re tired, or better yet what their problem is, and fearless matriarchs being reduced to someone’s wife.
Even if you haven’t heard of Joshua Whitehouse yet, you’ve definitely seen his Mr Burberry commercial.
Josh is the soon-to-be household name in modeling, acting and music who’s been slowly creeping onto the big screen, and he’s as nice as he is talented.
The self professed “compulsive fidget fiddler” made waves on Northern Soul, then as the newest Mr Burberry, and was just cast in runaway hit show, Poldark, where he’s playing Hugh Armitage.
It all started small, though. If you’re a Brit in your early 20s, you probably watched Josh in Living on the Edge, a Hills knock-off from 2007 following a group of English kids growing up in Cheshire.
Josh has been lauded in GQ as a break-out star, dubbed the “next Eddie Redmayne” and his previous interviews are a whitewash of praise – personal to his achievements but not overstepping the bounds of privacy. Female actresses, models and artists on the other hand, are often subject to cross-examinations of their public and private lives.
What would happen if we asked a man these questions? Abandoned any manners and gave sexist interviews a new direction?
To test the theory, the unsuspecting Josh Whitehouse had the ten most common interview questions thrown at him after a few minutes of light small talk.
He got one about his show to ease him in – “describe Poldark in three words” – and from then on out it was all pry. And unsurprisingly, he did not like it.
Right off the bat, I was fairly sure I was going to be told to fuck off. When there was no response for a week, I checked-in with him, cringing while I waited for a furious response asking who I thought I was or indeed, no response at all.
But Josh is the ultimate gentleman. He apologized for being slow to reply, but also immediately shut down the worst of the sexist questions:
“I hope you don’t mind – but there’s a few questions that I think I’d rather not go in to.”
“Am I dating anyone, next partners, do I think I’m handsome…”
After laying down the law, he then successfully diffused anything awkward.
How you were cast in Poldark?
I believe their casting department heard about me through Eleanor Tomlinson who plays Demelza in Poldark, I had worked with her earlier in the year on a feature called ‘Alleycats’ (by Ian Bonhote)
After they heard about me they contacted my agent who asked me if I’d like to cast for it, which I wanted to – and that was that really!
Describe Poldark in three words.
Award winning drama.
Describe yourself in three words.
Compulsive fidget fiddler.
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
One hour, it goes something like this:
Wake up (5 mins) Make delicious coffee (5mins), Sit in bed and drink delicious coffee (10 mins)
A moments sadness that my coffee has finished (2 mins)
Shower (8 mins)
Dry off and dress (15 mins)
Comb hair and shake my hair off (20 seconds)
Clean teeth (2 minutes)
Check for phone/wallet and headphones (1.40 seconds)
For the remaining 11 minutes I run around thinking that I’ve not got something and then I leave the house…. possibly even a minute late.
Are there any particular beauty/ grooming tips you swear by?
How do you balance your personal life and your career?
Same as anybody else really…try to always stay focused on the task at hand – once that is done, move on to the next thing on my list!
Do you see yourself having children?
I would love to have children – one day! What an incredible thing to be able to do.
What’s it like being a male model in a female dominated industry?
I feel lucky to have gotten the jobs that I’ve had! But most of my work as a model has come through people I have met in music or film jobs – so compared to those who are working full time as male models I suppose I don’t pick up on it so much.
How often do you work out?
I try to exercise about 4 – 5 times a week.
Let’s see your best pose – feel free to just snap a selfie, whatever’s easiest for you!
Josh passed our test with flying colors, but it wouldn’t have been fair to leave him in the dark. Shortly after he sent me his answers I explained what the intention of the crap questions were: to make the point that we shouldn’t be asking anybody these questions – man or woman – regardless of them being in the public sphere.
Why does such a fascination exist with women in the media – their bodies, their love lives – and a sense of entitlement when it comes to asking about them? Is it because women (typically) don’t punch people who piss them off? So the assumption is you can get away with crossing the line?
It’s not that we aren’t aware of the double standard that exists – we are, and we’re disparaging it. But unashamed, public sexism against women is unrelenting. No one’s really demeaning men, at least not to their faces.
The good news is that women fight with their minds, which is why along with the long history of women being subject to sexist interviews, there’s also a long history of them being shut down – Helen Mirren, Serena Williams, every week the list grows of women refusing to take any shit.