Gillian Anderson reveals the secret behind her iconic ‘Thatcher Face’ in The Crown

Gillian Anderson has shared the surprisingly simple technique to achieving Margaret Thatcher's iconic expression in The Crown

Gillian Anderson has shared the surprisingly simple technique to achieving Margaret Thatcher's iconic expression in The Crown /Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

Gillian Anderson has shared the secret to pulling off Margaret Thatcher's face in The Crown—and no, it's not cosmetic surgery. 

The American actress received widespread acclaim for her portrayal of the former British Prime Minister in Season Four of the Netflix series, with many fans calling for her performance to be recognized with an Emmy Award. 

Gillian's uncanny resemblance to the so-called Iron Lady, complete with a husky voice and droned words, has made her the resident expert on 'Thatcher face'—an expression only a select few have managed to master. The undeniable likeness has given the royal drama's credibility a major boost after many viewers questioned how much of The Crown is fact and how much is fiction

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Now, the Sex Education star is giving some complimentary lessons on how to achieve the iconic face—and we're already practising to show off at our next round of Ibble Dibble, The Crown's drinking game

Gillian, whose return to Season Five of The Crown has yet to be confirmed, revealed that Margaret's signature expression is all in the mouth. 


Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown 

(Image credit: Netflix)


Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown

(Image credit: Netflix)

“She really leads with the teeth and so it’s more that her teeth are very, very prominent," she explained to the Los Angeles Times.

The conservative politician was known for her crooked teeth, an imperfection that inevitably affected her speech. When conducting research for the role, Gillian experimented with prosthetics and Blue Tac to recreate Margaret's dental flaws, only to realize that the only prop she needed was herself. 

Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher is seen giving her last speech as Prime Minister at the October 1990 Conservative Party Conference in Blackpool, Lancashire before being removed by her own colleagues a few weeks afterwards. Her fighting spirit and stern expression gives her the reputation of Iron Lady with a gaze that make her opponents uncomfortable. She is wearing a favourite two-tone blue suit with wide shoulders and a pearl ear-rings. The ambient stage lights emphasize the blonde highlights in her hair. (Photo by In Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

Margaret Thatcher was known for her stiff haircut and distinctive teeth 

(Image credit: Pictures Ltd./Corbis via Getty Images)

"They were too over-the-top," she admitted. "In the end, I discovered I just needed to act."

It was also imperative to perfect Margaret's famous bouffant, a staple feature of her image during her eleven-year tenure as Prime Minister. The stiff hairdo, comically dubbed the 'Thatch', was a physical reflection of the right winger's steely political stances—as well as her devout commitment to functionality over fashion. 

"It took a long time to get it right," Gillian said. "There were two wigs, one for the first half and one that was slightly different for the second half, that I think had a bit more red in it. So, that took some time, to not be too big, to get the coif just right." 

Well, that's our Hallowe'en costume sorted then. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.