Oscar-nominated actress (and now, Parade contributing writer) Natalie Portman shares her thoughts on the dangers of being a ďpleaser,Ē insight and inspiration sheís gained from royalty, what she learned from a recent trip to Africa and more. Natalie on trusting her gut: ďIíve always been something of a pleaser: I want to make other people happy. Thatís not the worst thing. I mean, the fact that you like people and want them to like you is great ó as long as youíre not sacrificing who you are. Iím not someone who has a lot of regrets, but last year I did something that I wasnít comfortable with, and Iím really sorry I didnít listen to my intuition. There was a scene in a movie that felt inappropriate for me, but I didnít want to make waves. So I let myself get talked into it, even though it shook me up. From now on, Iím going to trust my gut more. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can do is say ďno.Ē No matter how much you plan and how hard you try, you canít predict the outcome of things. Iím always surprised by what people end up talking about. There have been times when Iíve put my best effort into my work and had great success. Other times, I have tried just as hard, and it hasnít worked out. I realize now that the only thing in my control is my own behavior, not other peopleís reactions.Ē Natalie on her If-Itís-Not-Working-Change-It philosophy: ďMy family came here from Israel when I was 3, and at first we moved around a lot. I got really good at figuring out a situation and diving in. I was the cool new kid; I never doubted myself. Actually, I was probably kind of arrogant. Then, the summer after seventh grade, I shot my first movie, The Professional. Looking back, I realize that I might not have been that sensitive when I told people about it, and it came off as bragging. I was going to a small private school, and the other kids completely turned against me. No one would talk to me. I was so miserable that I had to change schools. But it made me think about how what I say affects other people, and I corrected my bravado. My dad helped me so much with this. Heís a doctor, and heís really amazing. Heís one of those rare people who will actually change his opinions or his behavior if itís hurting someone else. It was remarkable to learn that from him.Ē Natalie on her trip to Africa: ďWhen I was in Uganda with FINCA recently, I met a young woman whose parents had died of AIDS. She was completely alone, taking care of her brothers and sisters. They were all living in one room; they had absolutely nothing. Everyone was talking down to her, but when we asked what she wanted, her answer amazed me. While 50 cents more a day would have totally revolutionized their lives, she looked at us and said in a clear, strong voice: ďMy brothers and sisters deserve the same chances youíve had. I want them all to go to boarding school.Ē She didnít want a handout. She knew that her family had a right to the same opportunities as everyone else. It was incredibly inspiring. I know that Iím the luckiest person in the world, but I still have so much to learn. That woman, who had not been given any chances in life, reminded me to always keep my own worth in mind.Ē
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Natalie Portman In Parade Magazine For October
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