Culture

Rose McGowan started acting to escape homelessness

The Charmed actor said that homelessness was her biggest fear after she spent a year without accommodation as a teenager

Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan was motivated by her fear of homelessness as a teenager, the actor and activist told The Big Issue in a candid Letter To My Younger Self.

The Scream star explained first falling into homelessness after she emancipated herself from her parents aged 15.

“I was homeless, I was on my own, and I was very lonely. I was entirely focused on just surviving,” the 45-year-old said. “When I started having relationships with men I wasn’t set up to understand that kind of world. A lot of older men were attracted to me, which at the time I thought was cool but now I think it’s creepy.

“I developed an eating disorder as a way of responding to the world being scary. So I could feel I was in control. Because the rest of the world seemed so wild and freaky.” McGowan was homeless for a year before feeling forced to move in with a man 20 years her senior to stay off the streets.

“I’d like to go back to that young girl and put my arm around her. And punch that man on the nose.”

Years later, McGowan’s boyfriend [music label exec Brett Cantor] was killed. It devastated her, 19 at the time.

“I was standing on a street corner crying and a woman came up to me and asked me if I wanted to be an actress.

“It was a really brutal time. A really good person lost his life. It’s very hard to grieve someone who is murdered because it’s such a strange and big thing. I went into a deep depression.”

She continued: “But I worked out if I did this movie [California Man, 1992] it would get me enough money to get an apartment, so I wouldn’t be homeless.

“Being homeless again was always the biggest terror for me,” Mcgowan said. “So I took my first acting job.”

Read the full interview in this week’s Big Issue, available from your local vendor.

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Top 5 books on boxing, chosen by commentator Andy Clarke
Books

Top 5 books on boxing, chosen by commentator Andy Clarke

Baroness Floella Benjamin on being Black on TV, Play School and giving hope to children in poverty
Baroness Floella Benjamin
TV

Baroness Floella Benjamin on being Black on TV, Play School and giving hope to children in poverty

Furiosa director George Miller on the function of stories and why Mad Max is a 'cautionary tale'
Furiosa
Film

Furiosa director George Miller on the function of stories and why Mad Max is a 'cautionary tale'

Bob Vylan: 'Is it OK for me to cry? As a man you can feel there's not space to be vulnerable'
Bob Vylan
Music

Bob Vylan: 'Is it OK for me to cry? As a man you can feel there's not space to be vulnerable'

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know