In a recent episode of ‘Armchair Expert With Dax Shepard’ podcast, Natalie Portman opened up about her adolescent struggle with her sexuality as a result of the intense scrutiny she was under from the start of her acting career. In 1996, she played a 13-year-old character forming a relationship with a much older man in ‘Beautiful Girls’. In 1994, she played an underage orphan named Mathilda who develops feelings for a middle-aged hit-man.
Portman said she “was definitely aware of the fact that I was being portrayed… as this Lolita figure,” referring to Vladimir Nabokov’s widely-read 1955 book Lolita, a film adaptation of which shewould later refuse to star in.
“Being sexualized as a child, I think, took away from my own sexuality, because it made me afraid,” she added. The only way she could protect herself from the constant predatory media gaze was developing herself as a ‘conservative’ and ‘serious’ person, which conflicted with her budding sexuality.
“But at that age, you do have your own sexuality, and you do have your own desire, and you do want to explore things, and you do want to be open. But you don’t feel safe, necessarily, when there’s, like, older men that are interested, and you’re like, ‘No, no, no, no,” she explained.