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Don’t Worry Darling’s Florence Pugh isn’t playing Hollywood’s game. The actor caused quite a stir in recent weeks after donning a Valentino dress that shook social media.

The 26-year-old’s steamy scenes with Harry Styles in the Don’t Worry Darling trailer have caused serious buzz. But Pugh isn’t wearing or discussing anything she doesn’t want to — a trait Scarlett Johansson loves about her Black Widow co-star. 

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh smile together at the 92nd Annual Academy Awards
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh at the 2020 Academy Awards | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Scarlett Johansson has a lot to say about her ‘Black Widow’ co-star, Florence Pugh 

Sitting primly in a dress made of fishnet material with a vintage-inspired floral bust, Pugh stares back at the lens on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s Icons issue with an almost placid expression. Her short hair is slicked back, and those who look closely will see the gold piercing in her nose — both bold style choices. But Pugh’s expression is not that of one looking for a fight. Nor is it disinterested. It is one of calm, self-assurance. 

Johansson tells Harper’s Bazaar, “What was really noticeable to me about Florence, and why I think she represents her generation in such an iconic way, is that she really is in her own skin.”

Johansson, who starred with Pugh in 2021’s Black Widow, says, “She’s incredibly grounded, but she’s also just so self-assured.”

Comparing her own experiences in Hollywood, Johansson elaborated, “I was not self-possessed in that same way when I was in my early to mid-20s. I still was growing up in the industry in that time when you had to be really pandering in order to be accepted.” But Johansson says Pugh “doesn’t have any of that at all. She’s unapologetically herself. There’s a reliability to her.”

The dress that rocked the world: Florence Pugh’s Valentino statement

In July, Pugh wore a hot-pink Valentino dress to the designer’s couture show in Rome that sparked a social media controversy. The gown’s flowing tulle, A-line waist, and high, Elizabethan-style neckline were hardly noted. Instead, Pugh’s visible breasts beneath the gown’s sheer bust became a target for body-shaming and internet hate.    

Pugh, however, played a key role in the dress’ design. She decided, with designer Pierpaolo Piccioli, to remove the bust’s lining, showcasing her body’s natural form. 

“Listen, I knew when I wore that incredible Valentino dress that there was no way there wouldn’t be a commentary on it,” the actress writes on her Instagram, where she proudly posted images of her wearing the gown. “Whether it be negative or positive, we all knew what we were doing. I was excited to wear it, not a wink of me was nervous. I wasn’t before, during or even now after.” 

It is the ease with which others were so comfortable shaming her for showing her body that was alarming to Pugh. However, the 26-year-old actress capitalized on the opportunity. She used the hailstorm of internet criticism to ask why and how others feel so comfortable shaming people.

Florence Pugh in Don’t Worry Darling and the Harry Styles sex scenes she’s not talking about

Pugh also has plenty to say (and not say) about her highly-anticipated upcoming film, Don’t Worry Darling. Pugh stars in the film opposite Styles as Alice Chambers, a woman with an idyllic life until she questions the reality of her existence and her perfect world begins to break. 

The role is a favorite of Pugh’s who tells Harper’s Bazaar, “I guess all of my movies have that element of women being forced into a corner, forced into an opinion, forced into a way of life,” Pugh says. “And then finally, something cracks.”


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One thing Pugh is not open to discussing is the sex scenes teased in Don’t Worry Darling’s trailer. The scenes show Pugh in several intimate moments with Styles. Predictably, they became internet sensations. But Pugh declines to talk about them in her interview with Harper’s Bazaar, saying only that the film is “bigger and better than that.”

In many ways, the world is just getting to know Pugh, and the actress seems unafraid to reveal herself in all the ways that count. Truly, it seems only appropriate for her to be the face of Harper’s Bazaar’s series, The Next Icons which labels her among the “culture shifters who give us hope.”