Fans would recognize Charlize Theron from her roles in blockbuster movies such as Mad Max: Fury Road and Atomic Blonde, but the South African-born actress started her career by taking projects she regretted later on for the sake of making a name in Hollywood.
The Oscar-winning star has learned her lesson after appearing in the 1996 crime thriller 2 Days in the Valley, which forced her to wear white lingerie. As a young actress trying to make it big, she admitted not knowing how “wrong” it was and only thought about working with renowned filmmakers.
Charlize Theron Admits Being Sexually Exploited In Her Early Career
“I remember standing on Sunset Boulevard, like, ‘Oh my God.’ And the way I was raised was very body positive, so it wasn’t so much, ‘Oh, I’m in lingerie.’ I didn’t make the connection of how wrong that was until way later. It was more just overwhelming, like, ‘Holy shit, I’m working with Danny Aiello and Glenne Headly.’”
Despite her breakthrough performance in 2 Days in the Valley, Theron does not want to do anything of the sort anymore. She said:
“I think that actors, instinctively, know that they want to challenge themselves and want to play things outside of who they are. I don’t think you build a career by playing yourself… But, for me, back then, it was a feeling of, ‘I don’t want to be in white lingerie again. I want to do something completely different.’”
In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she admitted being voiceless in the early years of her career to the point that filmmakers used it to exploit her:
“Having some guy make you have a fitting almost in front of them, stuff like that, it’s really belittling. When I started, there was no conversation around it. It was like, ‘This is what you’re wearing.’ It was just so obvious that it was to do with my sexuality and how f***able they could make me in the movie.”
Theron recalled how a male director made her do “fitting after fitting after fitting” which the actress pointed out as a sign of exploiting her femininity and sexuality.
Charlize Theron On Leaving Sexy Roles And Her Relationship with Fame
By the middle of the 2000s, Charlize Theron achieved her current status as one of Hollywood’s biggest and most bankable celebrities. She used this to finally ditch her sexy image and land on movie projects that did not require her to strip off clothes.
Theron won Best Actress for her role as real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2004’s Monster. Reflecting on her relationship with fame, she admitted not being close to the level of Kim Kardashian:
“I feel like I’m at a place where it is what it is. Working more isn’t, I think, going to change my level of fame. It just has always been a mediocre ride. I’ve never been one of those people that’s at a Kim Kardashian level.”
Charlize Theron currently stars as Cipher in Fast X – now showing in theaters worldwide. Meanwhile, the sequel to Old Guard wrapped up last year. There is no official release date yet, although fans could expect the movie to hit the big screen between late 2023 to early 2024.