IT’S hard to imagine a world without Sandra Bullock’s face on the big screen.
But the queen of rom-coms — and star of the new Ocean’s 8 movie — has admitted that she almost walked away from her acting career because of the rampant sexism in the industry.
In a new interview, Bullock, 53, revealed that she had a big “wake-up moment” when she turned up in Hollywood.
“My mother raised me like, ‘You don’t need to get married, you forge your own path. You make your own money, and be your own person.’ And I literally went out into the world thinking there was no disparity, that everyone was equal, and I can do whatever a man can do.”
While Bullock remained tight-lipped on the specific details of the sexist behaviour she’d experienced, it‘s clear they have had a lasting effect.
“I was like, ‘What is this feeling? Why do I feel so [expletive]? Oh my God, I’m being treated this way because I have a vagina,’” she said.
It may explain why, before signing up for the new Ocean’s 11 female-led spin-off, the mum-of-two hadn’t starred in a movie for three years.
“It was hard for me, because I walked with blinders on through life and got to where I felt like I was less than … because I was a woman,” she said.
“And that was a hard pill to swallow. I had a lot of sadness from that. I was like, ‘Wow, maybe I need to step out of here. Maybe I need to do something else for a living.’ And that was in the middle of when I was getting work — I didn’t want to be a part of that world where there was that experience.”
During the USA Today interview, Bullock’s Ocean’s 8 co-star Cate Blanchett also discussed her experiences with sexism in Hollywood.
“I don’t think about my gender until those opportunities are not available to me or denied to me because of my gender,” the actress said.
“But we do live in a capitalist society, so it’s like your worth is valued in monetary terms. You know what the poster’s going to look like, and you’re not being paid the same as the person you’ve got equal billing and screen time with, and you think, ‘Actually, that’s not right.’”
Originally published as Why Sandra Bullock nearly quit Hollywood