Anne Hathaway is done pretending.
The actress fronts Elle magazine’s April 2017 issue and, in a frank cover story, discusses Hollywood’s oft-decried woman problem. “Hollywood is not a place of equality,” she says, echoing the words of other women who have called out systemic sexism within the industry, including Ava DuVernay, Reese Witherspoon, Geena Davis and Kerry Washington.
“I don’t say that with anger or judgment,” she continues. “It’s a statistical fact. And even though I’ve been in some female-centric films, I’ve never been in a film like (Ocean’s 8). It just kind of makes you aware of the ways you sort of unconsciously change yourself to fit certain scenarios.”
But on the set with Sandra Bullock, Rihanna, Cate Blanchett, Mindy Kaling, Awkwafina, Helena Bonham Carter and Sarah Paulson — whom she counts as her co-stars in the female-led spinoff from the Ocean’s franchise — Hathaway hasn’t had to make herself or her voice smaller.
“There are certain things you understand about one another because of experiences you have in common,” she says of the experience. “It’s probably easy for men to take that for granted. Just being on a set where I’m the one who possesses that ease is really something. It’s a nice alternative narrative.”
And Hathaway wants that experience for women regardless of their vocation.
It’s one of the reasons why she accepted the call to be a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador and advocate for paid parental leave in the U.S., a need which the actress/activist stressed in an earnest speech delivered last Wednesday at the United Nations’ New York headquarters for International Women’s Day 2017.
“I can’t believe we don’t already have it,” says Hathaway, who adds that "mommy guilt" was an invention to take the onus off inadequate support systems within institutions and place it back on women.
“We’re encouraged to judge each other,” says the actress, who shares a son, Jonathan, with her actor/producer husband Adam Shulman. "But we should be turning our focus to the people and institutions who should be supporting us and currently aren’t.”