The actress stars as Lady Agnes Holland in the BBC One reworking of Upstairs, Downstairs, which has drawn comparisons with the ITV1 period hit.
Asked if the comparisons work against her show, Hawes told Stylist: "I've never seen an episode of it which I think is a very good thing, because whatever I say is going to be taken and twisted.
"But I understand it's very good. I think because we each had two grande dames of British acting - we had Eileen [Atkins] and they have Maggie [Smith], it didn't help with how much we were compared."
Quizzed on why the British public seems to have fallen back in love with costume dramas, she said: "I don't know. They've always been in my life. And obviously I'm married to [Pride and Prejudice star] Matthew [Macfadyen].
"One or the other of us is always doing something in a bonnet. Well, not Matthew! That's behind closed doors."
Prior to the first series of Upstairs Downstairs, Hawes said that she was "thrilled" quality drama like Downton Abbey existed.
"If there's room for 30 reality shows, surely there's room for two amazing costume dramas," she added.
"From the tiny amount of Downton I saw it was gorgeous, but as far as I can make out it has a very different feeling to Upstairs."
The second series of Upstairs Downstairs starts on February 19 at 9pm on BBC One.
> Upstairs Downstairs is raunchier than Downton Abbey, says star
Watch a BBC One drama trailer below: