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Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies is a paradox; a famous actress whose career spanned most of the twentieth century she is now largely forgotten. However, her story takes us through important territory in which what it meant to be a woman, an actress and a lesbian shifted enormously. Navigating various social and professional networks she excelled in playing with notions of identity, confounding expectations and defying reductive categorization. Drawing on material held in her personal archive, this study argues that the representation of Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies, on and off the stage, can be read in terms of its constructions of normative female behaviours.