News and Commentary

Natalie Portman Reflects On Being Sexualized As A Teenager: ‘It Made Me Afraid’
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 09: Natalie Portman attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on February 09, 2020 in Hollywood, California.
Amy Sussman/Getty Images

Actress Natalie Portman recently reflected on some of the edgier teenage roles she played in the early part of her career, saying the roles made her feel afraid and took away from her own sexuality.

Speaking with Dax Sheppard on his podcast “The Armchair Expert,” Portman said she felt torn between a wide variety of emotions during that period of time.

“Being sexualized I think took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid,” she said, as reported by Fox News.

“It’s a complicated thing. You’re told as a girl and a woman that you’re supposed to want that and it’s a good thing people thinking you’re attractive or people thinking you’re sexy or beautiful or precocious, like these words we use around young girls in particular. Then it’s complicated because it doesn’t make you necessarily feel good or always feel safe,” she said.

As time went on, Portman said people began getting wrong impressions of her as she began shielding herself.

“It made me feel like the way I could be safe is I’m conservative and I’m serious and you should respect me, and I’m smart,” Portman said. “Whereas [at] that age, you do have your own sexuality and you do have your own desire and you do want to explore things…but you don’t feel safe necessarily when there’s older men interested.”

“So many people had this impression of me that I was super serious and prude and conservative as I get older. I realized I consciously cultivated that because it was ways to make me feel safe, like, oh, if someone respects you they’re not going to objectify you,” she added.

Natalie Portman has been open about her experience as a child star ever since the #MeToo movement took the world by storm. Speaking with PEOPLE in 2018, she talked about her experience as a child star being sexualized by people who should have known better.

“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,” she said. “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 worthy of safety and respect.”

“I know I was sexualized in the ways that I was photographed or portrayed, and that was not my doing,” she said. “That becomes a part of your public identity.”

Portman previously revealed that her first piece of fan mail was another man’s rape fantasy.

The actress got her start at age 13 in “The Professional,” where she depicted an orphaned teenage girl who expresses sexual feelings toward a much older man. While the U.S. theatrical release depicted the relationship between Portman’s character, Mathilda, and Leon, played by Jean Reno, as being platonic in nature, the European version suggested something more.

In one deleted scene, Mathilda tries giving Leon a kiss at a fancy dinner; in another much more troubling scene, her character offers up her virginity to him. While the pubescent Mathilda’s sexual desire for Leon was a portrayal arguably in line with the character’s background (she came from an abusive household), the scene takes a disturbing turn when Leon rejects her sexual advances due to his lack of self-confidence from a past tragedy, not her sexual immaturity. “I won’t be a good lover,” he even tells her.

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Natalie Portman Reflects On Being Sexualized As A Teenager: ‘It Made Me Afraid’