Joanne Froggatt's Downton Abbey Contract Requires Her to Stay Pale

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Actors have a lot of interesting things in their contracts for television and movie roles, but Joanne Froggatt, who plays Anna Bates on Downton Abbey, may have one of the most interesting clauses. She is required to always be pale, which is quite a change from most of the people who are bronzed to perfection on television. Conan O'Brien said he could relate to this when she came on his show on Wednesday. "I don't have to be [pale], I just am. I'm completely bloodless," he said.

Froggatt said she had a very similar skin tone to Conan and that for the role of a poor servant in the English countryside at the turn of the 20th century, it makes sense that she would be on the paler side. "It's in our contract because they wouldn't have traveled at that time," she said.

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But because they also use a pale base coat on top of her already light skin, sometimes Froggatt can look a little too pale. She told Conan that she was so pale in one particular scene that the director had to add breath in digitally because otherwise she actually looked dead.

Looking so different on the show leads to fans, when they see her in person, often saying she looks much "younger, prettier, and thinner in real life. I think it's a compliment?" she said, smiling.

O'Brien again could relate. "Yeah I don't know how to take that. 'Oh you're better looking than on television,' and I'll be like 'Thanks mom.'"

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Watch more of Froggatt's interview with O'Brien in the video above.

 
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