Elisha Cuthbert said that working on films like The Girl Next Door made her feel “objectified” by the entertainment industry and pressured her to uphold a “sexy” persona.
Elisha Cuthbert said she’s moving out and moving on from being the girl next door.
She recalled the reputation that followed her after starring in The Girl Next Door, a 2004 film about a high school senior who falls in love with the former porn star that lives next door. Elisha told The Daily Beast that she felt “objectified” by the entertainment industry following the movie as she was pressured to do cover shoots for magazines like Maxims and FHM.
“I remember when we were doing The Girl Next Door, especially because of the content of the film where I was playing a porn star, those magazines felt even more relevant to be associated with to advertise this film,” she said. “Yeah, it was definitely a push from the studios saying, ‘These are great covers to get. They have millions of subscribers and a wide reach. Go do them.'” she said.
She said that young actresses were particularly encouraged to appear in men’s magazines when she was starting off her career in Hollywood in the early 2000s.
“I definitely was around for that time period,” she said. “It’s kind of a bummer that I was. At the time, it’s not like I was the only one partaking in these men’s magazines—it felt like everyone was subjected to it.”
She recalled that even Oscar winners like Halle Berry were being named to lists about their physical beauty at the time.
“It was a part of the culture of magazines,” Elisha added, “and I remember feeling like I didn’t have much of a choice, because millions of people were buying these magazines and it was a huge way to publicize whatever you were doing. And these magazines seemed to do voting systems on their own, so it was out of my control.”
While she said part of it felt “liberating,” the verbiage surrounding the photoshoots for magazines felt uncomfortable. “The dialogue became about ‘Who’s the sexiest?’ and ‘Who’s the prettiest?’ in a competitive way, and feeling objectified and putting out this persona of, ‘This is what I represent,'” she said. “Because that really wasn’t the case.”
The 39-year-old said the label didn’t represent who she was as an artist. “It was one facet,” she said. “And unfortunately, a lot of people just went, ‘Oh, she’s the sexy girl.’ We were all a lot more than that.”
She believes times have changed since then, saying, “Luckily, actresses now don’t really have to deal with that anymore,” because many of the magazines from the era are “over with.”
Since The Girl Next Door, she went on to do projects like Happy Endings and The Ranch and now looks forward to “the next chapter” of her career.
“I feel I’ve been waiting for a long time to get to a point where I can play characters that have more depth, more responsibly, and tell stories about women for women my age,” she said. “I’m embracing that.”