Charlize Theron felt critics ‘held looks against her’ when she started acting

The actress has never felt “secure” in spite of her success.

Charlize Theron believes critics initially underestimated her acting abilities due to her good looks.

The South African actress dabbled in modelling when she was younger, winning a contract at the age of 16 and posing throughout Europe before she moved to the U.S. to pursue her movie career during the 1990s. As a result, Charlize is adamant that industry experts pre-judged her based on her former modelling experience.

“Very much,” she claimed in an interview with Britain’s Total Film magazine. “When I started, there was maybe Rene Russo who was a model before. There was a lot of negativity: if you’re an ex-model, you’re just a terrible actor. Robert Redford talked to me about it so I know it happens to men, too. I just decided to try and make interesting choices so I could showcase myself.”

The 42-year-old has landed a varied range of roles over the course of her career, including soldier Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road and struggling mother Marlo in her latest film Tully. In spite of her popularity, Charlize doesn’t feel “secure” – even after winning the Best Actress Oscar for playing serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Patty Jenkins’ Monster.

“I felt incredible pressure to not f**k it up. It was almost worse,” she said of her victory. “I have never felt (secure). This is common in actors. There are very few I’ve come across that have a very healthy ego about their status, but I do think this is an industry where there such a constant turning of new talent, and if you don’t stay on yourself, challenge yourself, people won’t want to work with you any more and people won’t want to see your movies any more.”

The film star also shared that she accepts jobs by envisioning herself as a “moviegoer.”

“I read scripts thinking, ‘God, I’d love to go and see this film,’” she smiled.

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