Jennifer Lawrence opened up about a “degrading” audition that she went through when she was first starting out as an actress while attending the Elle Women in Hollywood event presented by L’Oréal Paris and Calvin Klein on Monday, October 16.
“When I was much younger and starting out I was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks,” Lawrence, now 27, recalled. “One girl before me had already been fired for not losing enough weight fast enough and during this time a female producer had me do a nude line-up with five women who were much, much thinner than me. We all stood side-by-side with only [tape] covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”
“I can laugh now, it’s OK,” she continued. “The director of that film asked if he could have me star in a porno as a character along with many other things that are too inappropriate to repeat here in this dress. If at any point you’re wondering, ‘Why didn’t I stick up for myself?’ I tried. I asked to speak to a producer about the unrealistic diet regime and he replied by saying he didn’t know why everyone thought I was so fat. He thought I was perfectly f—kable.”
Lawrence, who did not identify the producer or director, said she felt “trapped” by the experience. “I let myself get treated a certain way because I felt like I had to for my career. I was young and walking that fine line of sticking up for myself without being called difficult, which they did call me, but I believe the word they used was ‘nightmare,'” she said. “Every human being, no matter how successful they are, should have the power to be treated with respect because they’re human. … In a dream world, everyone is treated with the exact same level of respect, but until we reach that goal, I will lend my ear, I will lend my voice to any boy, girl, man or woman who does not feel like they can protect themselves.”
The mother! actress spoke out about her own experience after applauding other women for coming forward with their personal stories. This past month, multiple women have alleged film mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have claimed he sexually harassed them while Rose McGowan and Asia Argento alleged he sexually assaulted them. (In a statement to Us Weekly, a spokesperson for Weinstein said he “unequivocally” denies “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”)
“These past couple of weeks have been harrowing to hear all of the women’s stories who have opened up about their experiences with sexual harassment, but in all of the sadness I think it’s been oddly unifying,” Lawrence, who was one of eight honorees at the event, said on Monday night. “It’s so fundamental to the female experience to be mistreated and feel ashamed of it or worse, to be made to feel ashamed, but thanks to the women before us who [have] fought for our right to vote, for our right to choose, we are now living in a somewhat confused world, but confused isn’t bad, confused is progress.”
“I think some men are still confused about what to do with us, what to do with a woman that’s better at her job than a male coworker, what to do with a wife who makes more money than her husband, what to do with a woman who isn’t afraid to speak bluntly and disagree,” she continued. “It is confusing and in this slow transition, we’re all still learning. I’m still learning that I don’t have to smile when a man makes me feel uncomfortable.”
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