This quote from Scarlett Johansson could be interpreted as “boo hoo, another actress whines about being hot,” but really, it’s so bizarre that it merits a closer look. Asked by Grazia Italia if she enjoyed being a role model thanks to her sexpot appeal and career success, Scarlett laughed and said,
“Sometimes yes, sometimes no! I also think there are so many wonderful women out there, and they aren’t even actresses! I don’t like being labelled as ‘the sexiest woman alive.’ As an actress I prefer to maintain the anonymity.”
The “anonymity” part really threw me. It’s usual for celebrities to complain about the media prying into their private lives, but she seems to be talking about not being famous at all, to be like an average (and by Hollywood standards, anonymous) woman. But that’s something that you give up when you cross over from indie films to blockbusters; it’s that trade-off. You have someone like Kristen Stewart complain about the red carpet, but she’s the one who decided to move away from small projects like Speak to playing Bella freaking Swan in the Twilight movies. Same with ScarJo once she moved from Ghost World to Match Point.
Really, though, even indie actresses can no longer be considered “anonymous” thanks to their management pushing them to market their brand over Twitter, and niche fan communities on Tumblr. Point is, if you’re within throwing distance of Hollywood, people will know who you are. It could also be that ScarJo’s quote was misinterpreted; we don’t have the original Italian interview, as it’s only been excerpted in the Belfast Telegraph. Also, because Scarlett is usually much clearer about beauty and body image in Hollywood, like when she wrote this excellent HuffPo piece calling out tabloids who claimed she crash-dieted for her latest role.
Consider that the role that really put Scarlett on the map, Lost in Translation, will always have the young actress remembered for a few specific things: Yes, that cute moment of her putting her head on Bill Murray‘s shoulder, but also for the opening shot of her ass in see-through underwear. From the moment the mainstream knew who she was, she was aggressively marketed as very sexy and sexual. And yet, we can have a workable compromise, like when she played Black Widow in Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers: Her first scene in the movie had her playing off the Russian thugs’ assumption that she was a puny woman to instead wryly beat them up while tied to a chair. Badass.
Photo: Mr. Cheap Justice