Natalie Portman Says Jodie Foster Reached Out to Talk After Hearing She Was ‘Sexualized as a Young Actress’: ‘She’s Still a Role Model’

Natalie Portman revealed on a recent episode of the “Smartless” podcast (via People) that Jodie Foster once reached out to her after she heard Portman giving a speech about being sexualized as a young actor. Foster famously skyrocketed at 12 years old when she was cast in Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” as a child sex worker. Portman, meanwhile, was 11 years old when she was cast in “Léon: The Professional,” which served as her own acting breakthrough.

“I did a speech at a Women’s March about being sexualized as a young actress, and she reached out to me after that, and we talked and it was amazing,” Portman said. “She’s still a role model.”

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Portman said that she learned at a young age to project a tough exterior on film sets to avoid sexualization by potential predators.

“That kind of projection of seriousness protected me in a way,” she said. “‘Cause I feel like it was almost a warning signal like, ‘Oh, don’t do shit to her.’ Not that anyone ever, you know, deserves it or is asking for it. But I felt like that was my unconscious way of doing it.”

Portman added that her mom “was with me all the time and made sure that no one got near me” while working as a child actor. Then, “When I went to college, my dad was like, ‘Okay, that was cute. Time to move on. Let’s find another job — a real job.’ ” She studied psychology at Harvard University but never left acting fully behind.

The “Black Swan” Oscar winner opened up last year about her breakthrough role in “The Professional” amid sexual assault allegations against director Luc Besson.

“It’s a movie that’s still beloved, and people come up to me about it more than almost anything I’ve ever made,” Portman told THR. “And it gave me my career, but it is definitely, when you watch it now, it definitely has some cringey, to say the least, aspects to it. So, yes, it’s complicated for me.”

Listen to Portman’s full appearance on the “Smartless” podcast here.

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