Natalie Portman reveals she's 'constantly fighting' against being judged for her looks

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Natalie Portman stars on the front of the September 2019 issue of Harper's Bazaar. [Photo: Harper's Bazaar/Getty]

Natalie Portman has revealed she refuses to be valued solely on her appearance.

The 38-year-old actor reveals this in an interview for the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar, appearing on the cover.

The cover was shared this morning on the magazine’s official Instagram account, to 759,000 followers. Portman wears a collared shirt dress from Dior, paired with Hollywood style make-up: a red lip and bold brows.

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She says: “As a woman, you are constantly fighting against only being valued for your looks, because it becomes a very tenuous thing, to be defined by the gaze of others, the opinion of others.

“And beauty is, by definition, ephemeral, it’s a thing that you can’t trap in time, it’s a butterfly, it lives for a second. So to make a lifetime worthwhile and have meaning cannot rest on beauty..."

It is true Portman, a long-time brand ambassador for Dior and – according to one study – the most symmetrically beautiful female celebrity, is celebrated for her looks.

Yet her 25-year-long career has proved to be about far more than her outward appearance. For instance, her role behind the camera as a filmmaker (she has directed three films, including 2015’s ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness’) and her activism for everything from animal rights to same-sex marriage.

Portman is also a staunch supporter of the Times Up – a movement against sexual harassment in Hollywood. In January 2018, she donated $50,000 (£40,900) to the movement.

And it is through these connections she says she has acquired a circle of like-minded women who, in the same way, resist the trap of being known simply as attractive actresses.

“I’ve been so inspired by the many women I’ve met through Time’s Up – like Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera and Kerry Washington – who are doing such impressive creative work, producing, acting, directing and taking such good care of their families,” Portman told Harper’s Bazaar.

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She’s by no means the first to speak about Hollywood’s superficial standards.

Actor and former Bond Girl Halle Berry made similar complaints in 2004.

“Being thought of as beautiful has spared me nothing. Beauty is meaningless, transitory,” she said in an interview with People.

Comedian and actor Tiny Fey took a different approach, writing in her memoir Bossypants: “If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: ‘Who cares?’”