Hannah Waddingham Vowed to Succeed as an Actress 'Come Hell or High Water' After a Teacher Insulted Her Face

The 'Ted Lasso' actress shared that the defining moment influenced her acceptance speech for her 2021 Emmy Award

<p> John Salangsang/Shutterstock for PEOPLE</p> Hannah Waddingham

John Salangsang/Shutterstock for PEOPLE

Hannah Waddingham

Hannah Waddingham is opening up about a terrible incident that made a lasting impression on her career.

During an appearance on Michelle Visage's BBC podcast, Rule Breakers, the Ted Lasso alum, 49, recalled a defining moment she had when one of her former teachers commented on her appearance.

“I had one drama teacher that said to the whole class: ‘Oh Hannah will never work on screen because she looks like one side of her face has had a stroke,’” she said before sharing that she made promise to herself soon after.

Axelle/Bauer-griffin/Filmmagic Hannah Waddingham
Axelle/Bauer-griffin/Filmmagic Hannah Waddingham

Related: Hannah Waddingham Reveals the Items She Took from Ted Lasso Set: 'I Don't Think of It as Stealing'

“I thought, ‘I will do. Come hell or high water, I will work on-screen,’" Waddingham added while admitting that her teacher's words “gave me a complex for years.”

In fact, the actress revealed that the comments had an influence in her acceptance speech when she won the 2021 Emmy Award for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series for her role as Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso.

She explained, “In my Emmys speech, I made a point – the one thing I said to myself [was], if this weird moment comes and I get this award, and I get my foot in this door, I’m going to rip it off its hinges for music theatre people, or theatre people, to follow."

Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Hannah Waddingham accepts her 2021 Emmy Award
Cliff Lipson/CBS via Getty Hannah Waddingham accepts her 2021 Emmy Award

Related: Hannah Waddingham Recalls Her Emotional Final Day of Filming 'Ted Lasso' Season 3

Upon receiving her award, Waddingham grew emotional as she thanked the Apple TV+ show's creator and star, Jason Sudeikis. She also gave a sweet tribute to her parents and all the people in her life who helped her find success.

"This single mum wouldn't be standing here without you," she said, before pointing the spotlight at her fellow British stage performers: "West End musical performers need to be on screen more. Please give them a chance cause we won't let you down."

Related: Will There Be More 'Ted Lasso' ? What the Cast Has Said About Season 4 and Potential Spinoffs

On her podcast, Visage supported her longtime friend's decision to make lemonade out of lemons.

“You could go either one of two ways with that,” she said. “You could either break down and hate your life and be depressed, or you could rise up and do what you did and accept ‘Oh I actually, I’m gonna show you.’"

“But that says more about that teacher saying that to a child with stars in their eyes,” the RuPaul's Drag Race judge added.

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