Maggie Gyllenhaal celebrates her win at the 2015 Weinstein Company and Netflix Golden Globes After Party on Jan. 11, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Michael Tullberg—Getty Images
By Belinda Luscombe
January 12, 2015

In an interview with TIME in 2014, Maggie Gyllenhaal described the things she had learned from playing Nessa, “the complicated woman” role that won her a 2015 Golden Globe on Sunday night. Gyllenhaal took home the award for best actress in a mini-series for The Honourable Woman, drawing attention to her complex character and those of her fellow nominees.

“When I look around the room at the women who are in here and I think about the performances that I’ve watched this year, what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not,” she said in her acceptance speech. “Sometimes sexy, sometimes not. Sometimes honorable, sometimes not. And what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film.”

Below, see how she explained her flawed character to TIME.

I think one of the things that’s happening with Nessa is that she’s going from being somebody who performs herself all the time and feels that she has to be extraordinary and remarkable, and pushes out the human flawed sides of herself to somebody who, you know, is actually a human being. And I think that’s part of what’s panicking her is you can’t live like that… Maybe it’s an occupational hazard of being an actor more than other people, but I think that that’s something that all human beings can relate to: performing themselves, thinking they’re supposed to be a kind of fantasy of what they imagined they were going to be when they were 20, you know, and then like — look, I’m 36. I feel like so much of my thirties has been having to — that performance just not working anymore. And so then you have two choices: either you can like slowly die, or you can come alive and be in the river and be a human being [Laughs] and like do the best you can.

Read next: Maggie Gyllenhaal Is Right: ‘Real Women’ Dominated TV This Year

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