Actress Amanda Seyfried revealed in a recent interview that she felt pressured to expose herself on camera early in her career, a phenomenon some experts say is a common occurrence in Hollywood.
In an interview published Monday in Porter magazine, the 36-year-old actress discussed her recent Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Elizabeth Holmes in Hulu’s The Dropout and what she’s learned as her career has grown over the years.
The actress admitted to feeling insecure when she began working, stating that she hated “everything that came out of my mouth.” As a performer, Seyfried said that her goal was always to achieve stable work over recognition.
“It’s kind of surreal that we’re here now, that we got nominated, and I got nominated; I got singled out,” she said.
“I didn’t spend any part of my career singled out, ever. [I had] no expectation of being singled out, and that’s partly my self-deprecating nature. Never expecting anything great, preparing for the worst, but just continuing to walk on my path.”
Seyfried opened up about some of the “uncomfortable positions” she found herself in during her career, mainly when it came to filming intimate scenes. When she was 19 years old, the Emmy nominee revealed she filmed a nude scene, fearing it was necessary for her career.
“Being 19, walking around without my underwear on – like, are you kidding me? How did I let that happen?” she said.
“Oh, I know why: I was 19, and I didn’t want to upset anybody, and I wanted to keep my job. That’s why.”
Melissa Henson, program director of the Parents Television and Media Council, a watchdog organization that protects children and families from graphic sex in the media, believes that stories like Seyfried’s are “incredibly common.”
“I think it’s the oldest story in the world,” she said in an interview with The Christian Post. “I think that’s been going on since the earliest days of the entertainment industry.”
Henson pointed to actresses with similar stories to Seyfried’s, such as Mena Suvari and Mara Wilson. Both actresses have opened up some of their experiences in the entertainment industry in interviews.
In an interview with The Guardian reported last month, Suvari discussed how she became an object of “middle-aged lust” for her role in American Beauty and the pressure she felt to look older and sexier on camera.
As the BBC reported last February, Wilson, a child actress, felt “sexualized” by the public and media, revealing that she had been “photoshopped into child pornography” before she was 12.
Henson believes that the problem has only gotten worse in the era of streaming media.
“I think in the age of streaming media, what we are seeing is that it’s kind of anything goes, right?” she said. “They are not subject to FCC regulations, and they’re really not even being held in check by advertisers.”
The program director explained that advertisers used to support basic cable, meaning most programs were restricted to producing certain types of content if they wanted the advertisers to continue paying.
“So I think in the age of streaming media, where you don’t have those restrictions on the content, we’re seeing much more sex and nudity than we’ve ever seen before,” she said.
“I think a lot more young actresses are being coerced into or pressured into sexual performance or getting nude for a role. And I think in years to come, we’re going to see more and more stories like Amanda Seyfried.”
Henson urged consumers to “vote with [their] wallets” when it comes to issues like this one, noting that it is the responsibility of customers to patronize streaming services that do not sexually exploit young women.
“So I think to the extent that these streaming companies continue to produce and distribute this kind of content, we are all somewhat complicit as long as we keep subscribing to those streamers,” she said.
In her interview with Porter, Seyfried disclosed that she wishes she could be an up-and-coming actress in the present day considering intimacy coordinators are now required, and it has become easier for actors to speak up. She said that she came out of the #MeToo era “pretty unscathed” despite all that.