Dame Helen Mirren is "fed up" of always wanting to better herself.

Dame Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren

The 71-year-old star may have 115 awards to her name including an Oscar, two Golden Globes and five BAFTAs but the Hollywood actress always has a "niggling little nub of ambition that hasn't shut up yet".

She said: "Well, of course, my career is pretty amazing. I am lucky in my profession that I am still working. So I can't complain about that.

"But that doesn't mean that my nasty, niggling little nub of ambition hasn't shut up yet: 'Why aren't you doing this or that? Why didn't you do that better? Oh you blew it there.' That sort of drive is there and I wish it wasn't as I'm kind of fed up with it."

And the 'Woman in Gold' star - whose acting career has spanned more than 50 years - has slammed those who believe all actors are natural "exhibitionists" as she admits many actors and actresses "cannot deal with the fear of being who they are".

She added: "People think actors are exhibitionists, and some are, but many cannot deal with the fear of being who they are and the process of acting allows them to get up and speak ...

"You go up and say hi and you touch them and you feel them trembling. It's an incredibly nerve-racking experience. But you are there and you have to deal with it."

Helen has become a poster girl for ageing gracefully but the 'Eye In The Sky' star - who is married to Taylor Hackford - has confessed she "hates" the word sexy.

She told The Times newspaper: "I hate the word sexy. But be free, be liberated, be what you want to be. It's to do with liberation, not sexiness: that's probably in the past ...

"I am very girly in that way. I have my happiest moments sitting in front of my make-up mirror, putting on my mascara. I love that process: I'm not embarrassed about that at all. I know it is kind of a dream, the whole thing, but I think we need dreams in our world.

"I get very cross with people, often men in the financial world, who say I live in the world of imagination. Well, what the f**k is the world of finance if not imagination? Why does the stock market go up or down because someone is elected president? The whole thing is kind of a fantasy."

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