Natalie Portman On Her Long Fight For Equality

The Hollywood A-lister talks candidly about her role as an activist and how she’s working to level the playing field.

As the saying goes, if you want something done, ask a busy person. It’s a sentiment that is entirely appropriate when talking about Natalie Portman.

An Academy Award winner, BAFTA winner, two-time Golden Globe winner, and recipient of numerous lofty nominations, Portman has clearly earned her place amid Hollywood’s A-list. But
don’t be fooled, her long-standing career as an actor, producer and director is only the first line of her achievements.

Natalie Portman
Christian Dior dress and Dior Fine Jewellery Bois de Rose ring. Photography: Felix Cooper for Christian Dior Parfums.

Portman has played the role of swan (and won an Oscar for it in 2011) and still today the swan analogy resonates in real life. Like the bird, Portman has undeniable beauty and grace, but look beneath the surface and you will find a woman working hard to move things forward and create genuine change.

You might know that Portman, an avid reader, has her own book club – and she regularly shares her favourite reads to her 9 million Instagram followers.

But what you might not know is that Portman also co-owns a women’s football team (more on that soon). You may also be aware that Portman is an influential activist for animal rights and environmental issues, but it might not have registered just how vocal she also is about the rights of women – both in the workplace and with regards to their own bodies.

Natalie Portman
Portman wears Christian Dior dress and gloves. Photography: Felix Cooper for Christian Dior Parfums.

Of course, you probably know that she is a mother of two children (son Aleph and daughter Amalia), but you could be forgiven if you didn’t know that Portman can also call herself a New York Times best-selling author.

The list of Portman’s accomplishments is long –so much so, it could be easy to feel like you might be under-baking your own life when speaking with the star. But instead of making me feel inadequate, I found the opposite to be true when I spoke to her over Zoom one hot, rainy Sydney morning. My meeting with Portman, who is clearly whip-smart and at the top of her professional game, left me feeling inspired and excited for a future that she believes we can achieve.

Natalie Portman
Portman wears Christian Dior dress and Dior Fine Jewellery Bois de Rose rings. Photography: Felix Cooper for Christian Dior Parfums.

A future of true equality, where women have control over their own bodies, careers and paychecks. A future where the world is safe and flourishing for the next generation. But first, let’s go back to 2018. It was the year Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was indicted for rape and sex abuse. It was also the year the now-famous letter to The New York Times was published.

And on that original letter, which called for an end to sexual misconduct in the workplace, is Natalie Portman’s signature. She was among 300 A-list actors, including Reese Witherspoon and Eva Longoria, backing the statement.

Natalie Portman
Portman wears Christian Dior dress. Photography: Felix Cooper for Christian Dior Parfums.

That kind of heavyweight support makes things change. We now know that this letter would help pave the way for the Time’s Up movement. Six years on, I ask Portman how much she thinks things have shifted. “I wish I could say that it was just [about] the danger to women and the ability for women to be in the workplace without having to worry about their physical safety,” she says. “Unfortunately it’s not, but at least the conversation has started and the awareness has started in a way that hopefully has improved conditions. But it’s far from over; it’s still an ongoing fight.”

marie claire cover natalie portman
Natalie Portman on the April issue of marie claire Australia. Photography: Felix Cooper for Christian Dior Parfums.

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