Emmy Rossum Opens up About Her Impostor Syndrome During ‘The Phantom of the Opera’

Emmy Rossum gave a bewitching performance in Joel Schumacher’s film version of The Phantom of The Opera (2004.) Yet despite receiving massive acclaim and recognition for the role, Rossum said she “never felt less sure” of herself “in every imaginable way.” Keep reading to find out more about the Shameless actor‘s journey into becoming more fearless and confident as a performer. 

Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Emmy Rossum began singing in the children’s choir at seven-years-old

While it’s difficult to imagine the crass Fiona Gallagher singing opera, Rossum is nothing like Shameless‘s South Side character. She grew up performing at the New York’s Metropolitan Opera, according to Biography.com.

Phantom of the Opera Emmy Rossum
16 year old Emmy Rossum | Andy Butterton/Getty Images

And fittingly enough, the multi-talented actor admits that she sings as often as possible. 

“I do enjoy singing,” she told Interview Magazine. “I sing everywhere. I sing in the kitchen, I sing in the shower, I sing on the subway.”

According to Rossum, she used to sing as a child to get free food. (Specifically, she would sing to get free hot dogs.)

“I used to do that as a kid,” she told Interview Magazine. “I would walk home, past this butcher shop, I would sing them a song, and they would give me a hot dog. That is a true story. There is a butcher on the East Side—I would go in, with my babysitter or my mom, and they’d be like, ‘Oh, it’s the little opera girl!’ They’d go, ‘Do you have a little song for us?’ I would sing them a song, and they would give me a hot dog.”

Emmy Rossum ‘never felt less sure’ of herself while making ‘The Phantom of The Opera’

Emmy Rossum
Emmy Rossum | Peter Kramer/Getty Images

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On Christmas Eve, Rossum answered a series of fan questions via her Instagram story. One fan asked for the actor to post about a time when she was at her “lowest, but no one had noticed.”

And in response to the fan request, Rossum posted a picture of herself as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera.

Emmy Rossum with Gerard Butler
Emmy Rossum with Gerard Butler | DAVE HOGAN/Getty Images

Rossum was only 16-years-old while filming the movie. And although the role would eventually cement her as the youngest Golden Globe nominee of all time, the brown-eyed beauty felt as though she had no right to be there.

Minnie Driver, Joel Schumacher, Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson
Minnie Driver, Joel Schumacher, Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson | Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic

She took to her Instagram story to write how she really felt. 

“Honestly never felt less sure of myself in every imaginable way,” she confessed. “I questioned my ability, my appearance, my right to be there.”

Emmy Rossum knows how to be more fearless now as an adult

Emmy Rossum
Actress Emmy Rossum arrives at the World Premiere of ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ | Dave Benett/Getty Images

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Rossum has grown so much as an actor, tackling “dirty, gritty” roles, as she describes them in Interview Magazine. She says she likes playing these darker characters because they help her evolve as an actor. 

And thankfully, she has come a long way since those insecure days while filming The Phantom of The Opera. While speaking to Interview Magazine, Rossum revealed how she managed to overcome her self-doubt. “Just remember how you felt when you were five, when you were fearless, and thought no one would judge you,” she said.