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 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.


Since 1991 The Big Issue has sold more than 200,000,000 copies – helping the most vulnerable in society earn more than £115 million.

“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.


In total, more than 92,000 people have sold The Big Issue since 1991 to help themselves work their way out of poverty – more than could fit into Wembley Stadium.

“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.