Natalie Portman discouraged children from becoming actors due to possible harm, adding that she doesn’t believe children should work at all.
Portman, who first starred in “Léon: The Professional” at 12 years old and “Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace” while in high school, told Variety that she’s heard too many horror stories about children involved in acting.
“Would you encourage your children to get into this industry? Or do you see enough change that it feels safe for them if they choose to get into it?” a host from the outlet’s podcast asked Portman.
“I would not encourage young people to go into this. I don’t mean ever; I mean as children,” Portman began. “I feel it was almost an accident of luck that I was not harmed, also combined with very overprotective, wonderful parents. You don’t like it when you’re a kid, and you’re grateful for it when you’re an adult.”
Portman also explained that she’s “heard too many bad stories” to think that children should be involved in acting. The actress is the mother of two children, ages 12 and 6, according to the New York Post.
“Having said that, I know all the conversations that we’ve been having these past few years. It’s made people more aware and careful. But ultimately, I don’t believe that kids should work. I think kids should play and go to school,” she concluded.
When Portman appeared on actor Dax Shepard’s podcast “Armchair Expert” in 2020, she revealed that she felt sexualized as a child actor.
“Being sexualized as a child took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid,” she told Shepard. In fact, Portman feared objectification in her youth so much that she purposely developed a “super-serious and prude and conservative” persona as a safety mechanism.
“I consciously cultivated that because it was a way to make me feel safe. If someone respects you, they’re not going to objectify you.”
The actress also recalled how a radio station made the creepy decision to publicly anticipate her 18th birthday.
“A countdown was started on my local radio show to my 18th birthday, euphemistically the date that I would be legal to sleep with. Movie reviewers talked about my budding breasts in reviews,” Portman also explained.
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