Brie Larson took home the Academy Award for Best Actress last night, thanks to her spectacularly well-received role as a victim of kidnapping and sexual abuse in Room. While the moment served as a kind of validation from the industry, Larson took the opportunity to open up about her own history of seeing sexism in Hollywood firsthand.
In the press room, Larson was asked about a time when she learned to stand up for herself. “In particular, there were many times that I would go into auditions and a casting director would say, ‘It’s really great. Really love what you’re doing, but we’d love you to come back with a jean miniskirt and high heels,’" she told reporters.
The actress explained that these moments were "a real fork in the road" for her, feeling that each time the situation presented itself, she had to make a distinct choice about whether or not to indulge the request. "There’s no reason for me to show up in a jean miniskirt and heels other than the fact that he wanted to create some fantasy," Larson said. "I personally rejected that notion... It always made me feel terrible, because they were asking me to wear a jean miniskirt and heels to be sexy, but a jean miniskirt and heels does not make me feel sexy. It makes me feel uncomfortable."
Still, Larson points to these instances as educational. "Learning, for me, what it took to feel confident and strong and take what these people were trying to get to exude out of me, comes from a personal place," she said. "And trying to represent in film women that I know, women that I understand, complicated women, women that are inside of me — that became my mission."
Well, mission accomplished.