Until last month, Natalie Portman, who has worked in Hollywood since she was 12, had only one actress friend: Rashida Jones. Now, because of Time’s Up, she’s got a whole new girl squad — including Ava Duvernay, Reese Witherspoon, Tessa Thompson, Eva Longoria, and other members of the legal fund.
And while the coalition has done great work in the month since it launched — it has raised more than $30 million, gotten upwards of 1,000 requests for help, and drawn 200 volunteer lawyers — and has much more planned, for Portman, a really incredible part of the experience has been becoming more familiar with her peers.
“I think something that we [as actresses] realized was that we’re usually the only woman at work. So like many other industries, we walk onto a nearly all-male set and we’re usually alone, and we rarely get to interact with each other,” she said during the MAKERS Conference on Monday night during a panel discussion with fellow Time’s Up members Maha Dakhil, Rashida Jones, Melina Matsoukas, Katie McGrath, Nina Shaw, Jill Soloway, and Tina Tchen.
Portman said that “just being in a room together and sharing our experiences and realizing how much we’ve been endangered by being isolated, by being the only woman in the work environment” is powerful.
In that same room — filled with other actresses, agents, directors, and other entertainment industry heavyweights who came up with the Time’s Up Legal Fund and got nearly every attendee of the Golden Globes to wear black or sport a pin for the cause — Portman actually served as the inspiration for the organization’s name. Recognizing the importance of choosing something that could be gender neutral and also a response to the moment, the fact that Portman was breastfeeding her daughter, Amalia Millepied, led to the final choice — a name temphasizing that the most integral part of the work would be to honor the next generation.
As Dakhil, a CAA agent, explained, “Only in true Natalie Portman elegance and strength — she was breastfeeding in one hand and planning the Golden Globes on the other.”
And while Portman almost didn’t attend those integral sessions because of childcare conflicts, she’s most certainly glad she did: “We have all these new friends!”
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