Elisha Cuthbert is opening up about the pressures she experienced as a young actress in the early 2000s.
The “Cellar” star, 39, recently appeared on Rachel Bilson’s “Broad Ideas” podcast and shared that she felt she didn’t have an option when it came to posing for sexually-suggestive photoshoots in men’s magazine such as Maxim and FHM if she wanted to promote her career as an actress in her 20s.
“There was really no option back then,” Cuthbert said. “That’s what the [film] studio wanted you to do.”
Cuthbert was often at the top of several “hot lists” published by men’s mags, even earning the title of “Most Beautiful Woman in Television” from Maxim in 2013.
“It’s not like I won an Olympic medal,” she said of this kind of praise. “It was just some list some random magazine decided to create. When someone reads my bio, those things come up. They actually don’t mean anything in regards to me as a person or my career.”
Cuthbert says that actresses of all stripes were expected to participate in aggressively sexualized photoshoots. “We kinda ended up in a space at the time where that was really happening,” she recalled. “I mean, Halle Berry was doing it, for God’s sake … Jennifer Aniston was doing it. We were probably too young to be subjected to that, and feeling pressured to do that.”
Today, with many of the photos from her 20s still accessible online, Cuthbert thinks about how they may impact her children. “This is what I have to explain to my kids,” she said of the pics. “This weird, bizarre outfit and hair extensions. And you know what’s so crazy? I don’t even know how much of those pictures are even accurate as far as, like, airbrushing … I was in my early 20s. I didn’t look bad, but did I look that? I don’t even know if the fantasy’s real.”
The “Girl Next Door” actress, who shares daughter Zaphire, 4, and son, Fable, 6 months, with her husband, former professional hockey player Dion Phaneuf, says being a mother has made her wish she would have shown herself more love when she was younger.
“If I can take what I know now about having two children, and going back, I would be so much kinder to myself,” she explained. “Luckily, I didn’t have any eating issues or anything like that, but I definitely got caught up in that wanting to live up to what everyone was expecting of us, which is [to be] the ‘hottest woman in the world.’ It’s like what? I’m an actress. I’m not Gisele [Bündchen], what in the world? I’m 5’2″ with little legs and height. It was kind of ridiculous.”