Natalie Portman Entered Harvard Eager to Prove She ‘Wasn’t Just a Dumb Actress’

28 May 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Natalie Portman talks ‘dark moments’ during Harvard commencement speech, says she had to prove ‘she wasn’t just a dumb actress’.

The Oscar winner admitted that she had experienced “difficult times” as a Harvard undergraduate during her commencement speech at her alma mater on Wednesday. “Today I feel much like I did when I came to Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1999 …It’s that time of year, when celebrities make their way to college campuses across the land to deliver commencement speeches that will ignite YouTube and get passed around Facebook walls for months to come (oh, and students get their degrees somewhere in there, as well).

Natalie Portman advised graduating Harvard seniors Wednesday to use their inexperience to their advantage, saying she has learned that taking calculated risks can lead to life-changing rewards.From Ian McEwan’s stirring speech on freedom of expression to Robert De Niro’s rather more terse “you’re f**ked”, household names have been delivering pearls of wisdom to universities the length and breadth of the US.

I felt like there had been some mistake,” Portman said. “That I wasn’t smart enough to be in this company, and that every time I opened my mouth, I would have to prove I wasn’t just a dumb actress.” Portman, 33, said that she arrived at Harvard just after the release of “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” and she worried that “people would assume I had gotten in just for being famous.” “Some combination of being 19, dealing with my first heartbreak, taking birth control pills that have since been taken off the market for their depressive side effects, and spending too much time missing daylight during winter months led me to some pretty dark moments, particularly during sophomore year,” she continued. “If I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk. The Academy Award-winning actress, speaking at Harvard College’s Class Day, cited her work in “Black Swan” as an example of a time she didn’t know her own limitations — and it paid off. I had reclaimed my reason.” As for refrigerator-magnet-y maxims, Portman urged that the graduates should capitalize on their optimism. “You can never be the best. The film, “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. “Make use of the fact that you don’t doubt yourself too much right now because, as we get older, we get more realistic,” she told the graduating seniors. “Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset.” Portman’s address was a highlight of Wednesday’s events, which also included award presentations and student speeches.

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