The 32-year-old actress covers Shape magazine's January/February 2019 issue -- looking incredible in a black one-shoulder swimsuit -- and in the accompanying interview, discusses her exit from the show. Last August, Rossum announced she was leaving Shameless after playing main character Fiona for nine seasons.
“I made 110 episodes playing the character of Fiona, and it’s been an incredible journey,” Rossum reflects. “I’ve learned a lot about myself as a person and as an actor. I want to leave the show while I still love it, and I know the door is open to come back if that feels right."
"I’m also extremely proud of what I was able to accomplish off-screen, with my negotiation for equal pay and the effect that had on other women in the industry and in general," she adds, referencing successfully renegotiating her contract to be paid as much as her co-star William H. Macy in 2016.
Now, Rossum is looking forward to exploring what else her career has in store for her.
“The way I look at it is that the end of one thing is the beginning of something else,” she says.“I couldn’t be more thrilled to spend time writing, directing, and seeing what other characters I want to play. It’s both scary and wonderful.”
Rossum has also been spending time concentrating on wellness. She says she did an "overhaul" last year, changing her workouts to incorporate more Pilates-type exercises and cutting back on alcohol.
"I started listening to my body about what exercise and food make me feel good and how much sleep I really need," she shares. "My relationship with exercise has always been a very healthy and committed one, mostly because it has helped me reduce stress and anxiety. But I’ve changed my workouts. I used to do a lot of intense cardio and high-intensity interval training, but I’ve scaled some of that back. I felt as if I was in a pattern of doing those things because I thought I was supposed to, not because they gave me joy, and I wanted workouts that made me feel more in tune with my body."
"I also realized that alcohol isn’t a good thing for me," she adds. "It’s not as if it helps me de-stress. In fact, it actually causes me more anxiety the next day. Cutting back and saying, 'I know I’m going to feel better if I don’t have wine tonight,' has really been good for me."
These days, she feels better than ever.
“As women, we get into a cycle of what I call ‘compare and despair,’ thinking, 'If I just looked like her, I would be happy,'" she notes. "I spent a lot of years wanting to look like the pictures of the girls I saw in magazines, and now I’m trying to love my individuality. I’ve been working on embracing my curly hair, for one thing. And I don’t need makeup every day. We should own our uniqueness and be the healthiest, best version of ourselves we can be.”
"I'm the one that blew it. We did a table read for her last episode, I cried right in the middle of the table read in front of everyone," Macy admitted. "It was so bad and my voice turned into some weird voice I'd never heard as I was trying to muscle through it and then everybody else started crying, so at least I didn't look like a complete jerk."
"Yeah, I wish her well. I know she's going to thrive," he continued. "She'll be missed and it's a brand new day. I'm excited about change, we'll see what happens."