Natalie Portman is on a badass streak.
In January, the Oscar winner joined Instagram not to share cute selfies, but instead to promote the Time’s Up initiative and champion its mission to take action toward preventing sexual harassment in the workplace. Since then, she has united with Hollywood stars like America Ferrera, Jessica Chastain, and Kerry Washington to call out various forms of injustice.
And at the 2018 Golden Globes, she famously called out the awards show for only selecting male nominees for the Best Director – Motion Picture category, which she presented alongside Ron Howard. It was met with applause, and would make you think Portman always had a group of empowered women by her side.
That, we learned, was not always the case.
On Monday, Portman joined female leaders like Ava DuVernay and Rashida Jones at the 2018 Makers Conference for a panel dedicated to Time’s Up. The annual conference takes on feminist topics, and the women who’ve spoken out against sexual harassment were a major part of this year’s program. There, Portman explained how she rarely was able to bond with other women in Hollywood.
“It’s been really incredible to gather actresses because I think something that we realized was that we’re usually the only woman at work,” she said. “So, like many other industries, we walk onto a nearly all-male set and we’re usually alone and we rarely get to interact with each other. I’ve never had—I think Rashida was my only close actress friend until now.”
She moved on to explain why it’s so important that women come together.
“The power of just all being in a room together and sharing our experiences and realizing how much we’d been endangered by being isolated, by being the only woman in a work environment, how much that extends to other industries, too, where if you’re the only woman in the room, that endangers you, it isolates you, it prevents you from sharing stories, so if there are predators you don’t talk to each other,” she said.
“There’s this kind of secondary thing about, you know, being the only woman at the table or whatever that is very isolating and endangering, and how empowering it is to be in a room, to be on the same team.”