Instep Today

Natalie Portman speaks up on being objectified as a child star

Sat, 12, 18

37-year-old actress, Natalie Portman, made headlines earlier this month, after her interview with USA Today in which she discussed growing up in an over-sexualized culture. She was only 13 years old when she made her acting debut in 1994’s The Professional. After nearly 25 years in Hollywood, Natalie Portman has a unique perspective on the dangerous machinations of fame. It’s a subject central to her latest movie, Vox Lux, in which she plays a troubled pop icon who survived a childhood trauma that launched her career.

In a recent interview with People, she talks about her character in the movie and says, “She is such a wild character, but she’s also someone I felt was a real person, who is the product of this life that has happened to her. You see in this film how a young girl is packaged into this brand, and it’s kind of separate from her.”

Reflecting on her past experiences, and how society treats young celebrities in inappropriate ways, she reveals, “I experienced a different degree of it, in a different way, and obviously I have very different support system than the character in the movie, but you see what the culture wants from you, or demands from you and wants to put out there.”

Years later, Portman has come to terms with the situation. “I know I was sexualized in the ways that I was photographed or portrayed, and that was not my doing,” the actress shares while talking about the early days of her acting career and adds, “That becomes a part of your public identity.”

In another interview she says, “I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old, that if I were to express myself sexually I would feel unsafe and that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body to my great discomfort. I felt the need to cover my body and to inhibit my expression and my work in order to send my own message to the world that I’m someone worth of safety and respect.”