It's hard to believe there was ever a moment when Charlize Theron―an Oscar winner, head of her own production company, and, well, freaking Charlize Theron―was not taken seriously. But, despite a string of successful roles early on, the actress says she was often met with patronizing dismissal.
"How much time do you have?" Theron joked when ELLE.com asked her about discouraging early experiences at the Los Angeles premiere of the new Netflix series Girlboss. "Early on in my career, I had a real interest in development. I loved writing, I loved reading, I loved making stories happen. I was in my early twenties when I started my production company, and at that time everybody thought of it as a vanity deal. It was all, 'Oh, let the actress put her name on the project.' I worked my balls off to show people that that wasn't what it was. You know, if we can make that easier for girls, then that would be great, because it shouldn't be that hard."
"I think men are forgiven for their mistakes much easier than women."
Theron believes part of the problem for women everywhere is that men are still very much favored. "I do think that men have it a lot easier than women," she said. "I think men are forgiven for their mistakes much easier than women. It's a societal thing. I think we allow men to get away with things and we're harsher with women."
But part of the problem, Theron thinks, is that women aren't always supportive of each other either. "We've got to work on that," Theron said. "I don't like that. We keep talking about that but we're sometimes the worst enemy of other females and we have to change that."
Serving as an executive producer of Girlboss—a fictionalized show based on Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso's memoir of the same name–Theron felt she was championing the entrepreneurial abilities of young women. "Selfishly, I wished I had a book like this when I was 19," she said. "Something that just told me it's okay to have big dreams and to want to do big things and to not have people say, 'You're 19, you can't do that.' It's okay to have big aspirations at a young age and to dream big and find something, and go for it and fail, and do all of those things."