“I hope it helps change people’s perceptions of what beauty is,” she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “I think my size, or the roles that I’ve been lucky enough to play, have helped people see a broader definition of femininity. It’s important that all kinds of people are represented onscreen.”
The English star admits her height is “not something I think too much about” and says she loves wearing heels and embracing her femininity. “My size doesn’t make me genderless.”
In fact, one of Hollywood’s biggest sex symbols inspired her to get into acting.
“I remember seeing Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop on television and thinking, what she was doing was so incredibly extraordinary,” says the actress, 38. “I didn’t come from an acting background, but I just knew —that’s what I want to to do.”
Following a steady stint in theater, Christie joined the hit HBO series as Breanne of Tarth and donned armor again as Captain Phasma in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a role she’ll reprise in The Last Jedi later this year.
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The former model also joins season 2 of Sundance TV’s Top of the Lake: China Girl alongside longtime friend Elisabeth Moss.
“She’s on the margins and not capable, so unlike so many of the parts I’ve played. She’s not a hero,” Christie says of her character, a police officer tasked with investigating the murder of a young girl. “It gets dark. I mean, it gets very dark. I cannot tell you how fun this story was to tell.”
Despite an overflowing plate, Christie welcomes the work.
“I’m busy, and I love it,” she says. “I cannot say I have a regret.”
Top of the Lake: China Girl airs as a three-night special beginning Sept. 10 at 9 p.m. ET on Sundance TV.