Hollywood star Natalie Portman — who rose to notoriety as a child actor — recently said she doesn’t believe kids should be exposed to the world of fame.
The “May December” actor told Variety she “would not encourage young people” to try to make it in Hollywood as children, because of the myriad dangers that surround the industry.
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“I feel it was almost an accident of luck that I was not harmed, also combined with very overprotective, wonderful parents,” the Oscar winner said. “You don’t like it when you’re a kid, and you’re grateful for it when you’re an adult. I’ve heard too many bad stories to think that any children should be part of it.”
A great deal of her concerns about childhood stardom centers on her own experience of being sexualized as a child star. The ways she was sexualized, she said, “took away from my own sexuality because it made me afraid.”
In response to being so sexualized, Portman changed her behavior as she aged. She previously said some “had this impression of me that I was super-serious and prude and conservative as I got older.”
“I consciously cultivated that, because it was a way to make me feel safe,” she said. “If someone respects you, they’re not going to objectify you. 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. You build these fortresses.”
Fundamentally, Portman simply believes kids should spend their childhood being kids.
“Ultimately, I don’t believe that kids should work,” she said. “I think kids should play and go to school.”
Portman, 42, began her acting career in 1994, when she starred in “Léon: The Professional.” She became a household name, though, when she portrayed Padmé Amidala in “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” in 1994.
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