Natalie Portman: ‘I was objectified when I was younger’

Natalie Portman felt “objectified” when she first started out in Hollywood as a young girl.

The Black Swan star earned her first film credit in 1994 crime thriller Leon: The Professional, but she was never happy with how her image was controlled when she was embarking on her career.

“How young girls are packaged by these sort of corporate entities, I myself was, to a far lesser extent,” she tells Elle magazine.

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“(From) 13, 14, through my early 20s, the way that I was portrayed (in the media)… You know, I would go to a magazine shoot and there would be lingerie for a men’s magazine cover when I was 18.”

“There’s this very specific way that girls are definitely objectified,” the 37 year old continues. “I think there’s a fully wonderful way that women should be able to express themselves in whatever way they want, (but in that case it) was definitely something that was imposed. There’s this combination of innocence and sexuality, but for the benefit of the viewer, not as an expression of desire from the girl or young woman herself.”

The way female stars are portrayed in the press is something the Oscar-winning actress recently hit headlines for, after commenting on Jessica Simpson wearing a bikini in a photoshoot to accompany a 1999 article, in which the singer talked about the importance of her virginity.

“I remember being a teenager, and there was Jessica Simpson on the cover of a magazine saying, ‘I’m a virgin’ while wearing a bikini, and I was confused. Like, I don’t know what this is trying to tell me as a woman, as a girl,” Natalie told USA Today.

Natalie subsequently apologised for her comments after Jessica stated she was “disappointed” in her remarks, and the actress has since also insisted she has nothing but respect for the singer and fashion designer.

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