Mark Wahlberg The Feminist: 'I Am Very Open To A Female President'

Mark Wahlberg surprised us all today by admitting he's a feminist and that he's really quite open to having a female President take the stage


'Wow, you beat me up pretty good there' - was Mark Wahlberg's first comment after we wrapped up this interview.

Poor Mark Wahlberg. There he was thinking he was about to discuss his on-screen heroics, that time he drank a lot of wine on the Graham Norton show or maybe the size of his biceps, and then ELLE magazine had to come along and stomp on his parade.


When trying to envisage the #heforshe of big-bucks Hollywood - an advocate of diversity, of closing the gender pay gap or a champion of kick-ass heroines - Marky Mark isn't exactly who springs to mind.

Bradley Cooper's gone a wee way to speaking up on paycheck disparity between the sexes, and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson has been peppering his Instagram feed with 'WE LOVE OUR FEMALE CO-STARS' commentary, but Mark Wahlberg, famous for playing tough guy cops and also for his bad behaviour as a youngster in Boston, not so much.


To his total credit though, despite being blindsided with a perhaps overly aggressive #morewomen line of questioning, he was a great sport.

By the end of our discussion, he'd admitted to being a feminist in its purest terms, that he was really, really ready for a female president and that you have to bring up your daughters differently in a world that is still biased against them....

All in all, a very sound and thoughtful set of avowals, so let's unpack them.

Why Can't Women Save Themselves At The End Of The Movie?

Deepwater Horizon, the oil-rig disaster movie Mark Wahlberg is currently on the publicity trail for, is a barefaced Hollywood blockbuster.

It's a Peter Berg movie, which should tell you everything you really need to know, so in the vein of Lone Survivor, it's been created mainly for the purpose of adrenaline highs and special effects.

Happily though, there is an utterly kick-ass female lead in the form of Anrea Fleytas, played by Gina Rodriguez.

Mark's co-star Gina Rodriguez, who plays Andrea Fleytas

For all that she's badass though - a mechanic, with an awesome car and a sharp tongue, who was one of the only women on the rig - ultimately (spoiler alert), it's down to Mark's character Mike Williams to save her life at the end of the film.

I ask why on earth they went to the effort of creating this amazing, sparky female character if they were just going to have her revert to type - damsel in distress - at the final hurdle.

'Well, we're trying to portray this as accurately as possible,' he fudges.

'Is that really what happened though? She was asked?', I push, for the film is based on real life events and Andrea is a real person.

'I think she was still pretty badass and pretty heroic,' he swerves. 'When all the lifeboats are gone, the life rafts are gone. Mike had to then go up to the highest point on the rig and jump into a shark infested ocean that was on fire. And maybe [Andrea] thought there was other ways to get off the rig. Like, helicopters, or the coast guard had to come at some point.'

'Hmm. I'm not satisfied,' I say with a wry smile.

'Well, I apologise,' he smirks back.

How Do You Bring Up Your Daughters In A World That's Still Biased Against Them?

Moving swiftly onto something a little more lighthearted (or not), we talked about young women in general, outside of Hollywood.

Mark Wahlberg has four children, two of which - Ella Rae Wahlberg and Grace Margaret Wahlberg - are young girls.

With daughter Ella

Considering Mark's disasterous youth has been well documented - as a teenager he did jail time after pleading guilty to assault and being charged for attempted murder - I wonder what he could possibly bring of his own experiences into the rearing of his children, especially the women.


'I try to lead by example,' he says . 'I display the characteristics that I want my children to identify with and adopt.'

'Do you have a one size fits all approach with your kids, or do you adopt different tactics between the girls and boys?' I ask.

'I know you're going to want me to say that one size fits all but no, being a boy and having not always been a good boy, I am a little bit more protective of my daughters,' he says.

Mark wasn't always Mr Nice Guy

'How do you arm them for a world in which they need to be more protected?' I press.


'Well first of all, I have to be honest about my own transgressions and the mistakes that I have made, but thankfully one [of my daughters] is six so I have a little more time with her.

'But my 13-year-old, we are in the thick of it right now. In every shape and form, in everything you could imagine, we're in it. And she thinks that daddy is over protective. And she thinks she knows everything and I'm trying to explain to her that dad has a little bit of real life experience.

'She's not buying it,' he says with the quiet satisfaction of someone bringing up a woman with a bit of character.

So, What Do We Do If Trump Is Suddenly In Charge Of The Future Of Our Young Women?

We're conducting this interview the day after the first US Presidential Election debates. A night of Trump making wildly illogical and spurious claims versus Hillary doing her best not to rise to his BS.

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But Donald Trump is a serious and genuine threat to the status of women in America.

'Let's just say that I am VERY open to having our first female president,' Mark says, slowly, with a pointed look.

'I am very open to that,' he re-confirms without invitation.

Would You Call Yourself A Feminist?

When we first got down to our discussion, Mark asked me when I was going to throw in the fun/challenging questions.

'A lady recently asked me about feminism and the state of masculinity [in an interview] and I don't really think about either one of those. Not to be offensive in any way,' he muses.

'Do you think that's a case of male privilege that you don't have to?' I probe.

'No,' he says, though I can't be certain that he'd been confronted with the term 'male privilege' before, such is the life of a celebrated male movie star.

Wahlberg is ready for a female President to take America's helm

'Well, would you call yourself a feminist?' I ask.

'I have to be more clear on the definition,' he replies, as many people have side-stepped the question before him.

'In as much as being a feminist means believing in equal political and sociological rights for men and women,' I expound.

'Yes then. Yes. I am. Absolutely,' he returns, quite rewardingly, and he adds 'well said' by way of extra confirmation.

Well, that's that settled then.

Finally, If You Could Save One Thing In The Event Of A Fire, What Would It Be?

Considering I've railed poor Mark pretty hard by this point, I ask him a couple of 'cute' questions to prevent him from wanting to actually scale the walls of his hotel room to get away from me.

In case you needed to know:

- Nope, he's not particularly interested in Nick Jonas' tribute to his original Calvin Klein shoot with Kate Moss. 'It was just something I did at the time,' he says, dismissively. 'It wasn't that impressive.'

- The biggest leap he reckons he has ever taken (and the most 'rewarding', by his definition) is marriage and fatherhood. 'I adore the women in my life,' he affirms. Collective 'awww' please....

- And in the event of a fire in his house, if his family and pets were all accounted for, he would grab something from his wine cellar as the one thing he would save from the flames.

Deepwater Horizon is released in cinemas across the UK on 29th September

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