For the last 18 years, AnnaLynne McCord has been in the limelight. With roles in Nip/Tuck, American Heiress, 90210 and Dallas, she challenged herself to take on different parts. However, one thing she never did was nudity. Until now.
At 33, the actress is ready to own who she is. In Power Book III: Raising Kanan, currently filming in New York City, McCord is doing just that.
“I never wanted to do nudity because I felt like women sometimes are made to feel they have to. I was told when I was 14 years old, by this model guru guy, whatever he was, ‘You’ll never make it in in Hollywood or in modeling if you’re not going to do nude,'” she recalled during the Tuesday, November 10, episode of the “Watch With Us” podcast. “I was like, ‘Oh, really? I think I’m gonna prove you wrong.'”
So, that’s what she did, making a name for herself in Hollywood and following her dreams.
“This is the first time I’m doing it. I’m taking the top off,” the Night Shift alum told Us. “For me, it’s about a statement. I’ve never done it in my career, and I wanted to [after] a lot of things that have happened to me in my life. I’ve spoken a lot for women and issues of sexual abuse and sexual assault. I was like, you know what? I’m ready to do it, because I want it to be about taking my sexuality back, taking my power back in that way.”
In 2014, McCord revealed that she was sexually assaulted. From then on, she began speaking to students at schools and young women who had experienced what she had. Sharing her experience ultimately changed everything.
“The entire trajectory of my life has altered. That little 18-year-old arrogant, teeny-bopper who came into the world of Hollywood with all of her crazy energy and her rigid ideologies is a very different 33-year-old woman,” she shared with Us. “Why I do what I do is what has really changed. I love acting. I love that I get to do what my 9-year-old self dreamed of doing when she was little. I got to make her dream come true. And that makes me so very happy. But for me, now, if I’m not making a statement in some capacity, I’m not interested.”
With Power Book III: Raising Kanan, she felt 100 percent protected on set and with her costars — and made sure they felt the same. Thankfully, unlike in her past roles, an intimacy consultant is now involved, which helps smooth everything over.
Oddly enough, in the midst of shooting the most sultry role of her career, McCord also headed to Nevada to film a Christmas movie for Lifetime, Feliz NaviDAD, in which she stars opposite Mario Lopez.
“I had such a conservative upbringing that we were only allowed to watch, like, Little House on the Prairie, but on TBS, Saved by the Bell came on right before. So you can see the credits of Saved by the Bell,” she said of her only past knowledge of the 47-year-old actor. “We weren’t allowed to watch because it was so scandalous!”
So, how does her family feel about her upcoming role on Starz?
“They kinda know AnnaLynne’s gonna do what AnnaLynne’s gonna do,” she said with a laugh. “And I balanced it by doing a holiday film!”
For more from McCord, listen to the “Watch With Us” podcast for free above and subscribe for more exclusive TV news and interviews.