Who better to be on the cover of Elle’s 2008 “Intelligent Women Issue” than Natalie Portman? In the mag, the very intelligent Natalie talks about her childhood, her latest flick and her political stance. Read excerpts from the interview below:
Natalie on growing up in Jericho, Long Island: She says she was “different from the other kids: I was more ambitious. I knew what I liked and what I wanted, and I worked really hard to get it.”
Natalie on her most recent film, The Other Boleyn Girl: That's so interesting, because I really saw it as a cautionary tale about capitalism. All of the characters who subscribe to these values of rising up and gaining power and who will step on anyone to get there are punished. Anne is certainly the most forward about it, but she is following her family's values. She wants to impress her father even though he betrays her, whereas Mary thinks there's something sick about this world and removes herself from it. I think it's very different to be ambitious and to be ruthlessly ambitious, which Anne certainly is in the movie. In reality, an argument can be made that Anne Boleyn was witch-hunted because she had so much power.
Natalie on Hillary Clinton: A lot of the stuff people say about her, I hear it and my stomach falls because it's so sexist. You ask people why they don't like her and it's because her husband cheated on her! That was obviously not her choice. She's so much more polished and experienced than anyone else. Last night, a friend, a social worker in L.A. who works with underprivileged kids, was saying how these girls who have never been interested in politics before are so excited that a woman might be president. I mean, look how many women are in government…Hillary's one of, what, [a handful of] female senators?
I also like Obama. I even like McCain. I disagree with his war stance—which is a really big deal—but I think he's a very moral person. I met him and Hillary on the same day, actually, when I went to Washington with Finca [a nonprofit that gives loans to businesswomen in developing countries]. Hillary was by far the smartest person I met that day. Just totally focused, and knew more about the issues than anyone else, and was so able to go from one thing to the other.
Natalie on how people react to her independence and ambition: It's definitely complicated. I bury it a lot, which is a very common woman thing to do. They say women often preface their statements with “This might sound stupid, but…” It sort of tempers what you are going to say. It takes the edge off so you can still be seen as ladylike. I think I have a lot of that in me. I'm very nonconfrontational; I'm definitely a pleaser.