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Shameless' Emmy Rossum Found The Grittiness Of Her Role 'Liberating'

Any actor who's had long-term success in Hollywood can likely point to one single role that helped put them on the path. But in the case of Emmy Rossum, there are arguably two. And in her case, each marks a distinctly different phase of a career that weirdly still feels like it's in its infancy.

Rossum has, however, been acting professionally since the late-90s, making her screen debut on a 1997 episode of "Law & Order." While she'd go on to earn solid notes for her work in the likes of "Songcatcher," "The Day After Tomorrow," and "Mystic River," it's safe to say most folks first took notice of her in the 2004 musical "The Phantom of the Opera," and that early string of roles essentially led the actor to be typecast as a "good girl" in many Hollywood circles. Rossum was, more or less, relegated to such roles for the better part of the 2000s. But she more than put that "good girl" image to bed when she claimed the role of Fiona Gallagher on the U.S. version of "Shameless."

Still, prior to landing the career-changing role, few insiders believed she could pull off the requisite grit the role required. Rossum, of course, spent nine full seasons on "Shameless," proving any and every doubter wrong. And as far as the series' unflinching grittiness goes, she candidly stated during a 2011 The Rosie Show appearance that "it's honestly liberating."

Rossum says not getting glammed up to go to set on Shameless was a gift

Emmy Rossum made that assertion with her "Shameless" castmates in tow and did so in answer to an audience member who asked how it felt to glam down on the show after roles in glitzier projects like "The Phantom of the Opera." Admitting it was indeed liberating to change her image by getting gritty on the set of "Shameless," Rossum went on to add, "I mean, we're all more comfortable at home in our sweatpants. So coming to work and not having to get all glammed up is kind of a relief."

Outside of the obvious comfort levels that come with not being weighed down by loads of makeup and extravagant costumes, Rossum further admits an unexpected caveat of glamming down to play Fiona Gallagher is that people find the character all the more attractive for it. "It's also so cool that I get a lot of men on the street, or at airports, or whatever, who really think this character is desirable, and beautiful, and sexy," she said. And in the very next breath, she claimed genuine delight in helping further the narrative that women don't have to get glammed up "for people to think we're worth something."

In true Fiona fashion, Rossum made that last statement while dryly noting she'd gotten gussied up for The Rosie Show appearance. But her point was still exceedingly well made. And it's all the more proof that Rossum was pretty much born to play the part of her gritty, fiercely-opinionated "Shameless" character.