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Jessica Chastain believes growing up in poverty gave her a "rebellious streak".
The 44-year-old actress admitted that going without things during her childhood led to her feeling "a lot of resentment" but also made her strong-willed.
She said: "I have a rebellious streak because I grew up with a lot of resentment, because we didn’t have things, like even food. I don’t talk about it much, but it was really, um, it was not what you would expect. When people see me, I think they expect a different background than I have."
The '355' star - who both studied and worked at the prestigious Juilliard School of Performing Arts in New York - went on to explain that she understands "that place" and feels "angry" about poverty, noting that she doesn't want anyone else to be denied access to basic amenities.
She told The Sunday Times Style magazine: "So because I come from that place, I know what it’s like. And it makes me angry. And I don’t [want] anyone else to be denied anything. In terms of a voice, being seen, being acknowledged and valued.
"There was no way my family could afford [the Juilliard School], There were people that saw I was struggling as a kid and they helped me. And that’s why I ended up where I am now."
The Oscar-winning actress was able to attend the drama school with the help of a scholarship set up by the late actor Robin Williams.
Upon his death in 2014, Jessica to Twitter to thank the star for "changing [her] life."
She wrote: "Robin Williams changed my life. He was a great actor and a generous person. Through a scholarship, he made it possible for me to graduate college. His generous spirit will forever inspire me to support others as he supported me. He will forever be missed.’"