Billie Piper says dressing as a high class escort for her role as Belle in ITV 2’s Secret Diary Of A Call Girl has helped realise a new found love of high heels and beautiful underwear.
“As most people probably know I�m happiest in trampy clothes, just being comfortable. I’m a real tomboy and at first putting on those glam clothes felt alien to me. I didn�t feel 100 percent comfortable but very quickly I grew to love my costumes and often I wouldn�t take my heels off even when I was on the way to the catering van for some sausages,” laughs Billie.
“Costumes are so important when acting, I never used to understand it but the minute I put on one of those sharp tailored suits and a pair of stilettos I instantly felt different. Personally I dress for my mood every single day. If I want to feel strong and empowered I’ll wear something that suits that mood, when I feel slightly romantic and chilled, or a bit dipsy I’d wear something floaty and have bare feet. These things do have an effect on the way you behave and the way you see yourself.”
Admitting that she has kept all her clothes from the series the former Doctor Who star adds: “What I’ve discovered about great underwear is that you can wear it secretly. No one else needs to know you’re wearing something fabulous under your clothes. You just do it for yourself and it makes you feel great � empowered and body-confident.”
Piper says she was immediately drawn to the character of Belle when she read the infamous book.
“It was Belle, the person portrayed in the book that drew me to the project. I found her absolutely fascinating and some of her ideas quite romantic plus I liked her style of writing. I thought she was funny, witty, sharp and intelligent and I liked the idea of playing her.
“This is such a taboo subject, no one really ever speaks about it except the horror stories about the nature of the work. It was certainly a very different story to every other one I�d heard about prostitution.”
To get to grips with the role Billie met the real life Belle, who as a rule fiercely guards her anonymity.
“Meeting Belle was really helpful,” says Billie. “There is so much speculation surrounding the book; is it true? Does she really exist? Have these things really happened? Is she romanticising something quite controversial? Meeting her took the fear out of the part I was venturing into.”
“She explained exactly how she got into it for reasons I could completely understand. I couldn�t do it myself per se but I can understand how she found herself in that situation and why she continued to do it. It was good to see her, watch her behaviour and mannerisms. We spoke about the music she likes, she’s so incredibly well read and cultured, a fascinating woman. It was good to sit down with her one-on-one and ignore all the shit that surrounds the subject mater and have a very honest and frank conversation.”
Billie continues: “She likes sex this woman, she loves it and she found herself living in London with about �20 to get through the month. One night she was at a dinner party that turned into an orgy, she left and discovered she had cash in her hand. The job she does isn’t for everyone but you have to try and understand why somebody does this and what effect it has on their life. I�m sure there are many down sides but Belle enjoyed what she did and felt very much in control of it.
“That is a major point, being a prostitute was her choice, she wasn’t forced into it. It’s not about sex trafficking and it�s not drug related at all. Obviously these things go on but I’m just telling this one person�s story. Everyone knows that prostitution can be hideous, abusive and destructive. We’re often told about it in the media but I�m playing the woman who wrote this book, and she has a very different story to tell.”
Secret Diary Of A Call Girl – ITV2, Thursday 27th September