Keira Knightley has been a household name since she was 18 when she starred in blockbusters, such as Pirates of the Caribbean and Pride and Prejudice. But her success might’ve come fast, but it wasn’t without the side effects of fame.
In an interview with Elle, the 33-year-old actor looked back at her time as a young movie star and the criticism and pressures that came with it. Knightley started by pointing out the double standard between men and women who drink. Knightley explained that men are usually seen as “cool” when they’re drunk at clubs, while women are often seen as “party girls”—a label that could more likely end their career than men.
“The double standards that women face are so extreme, particularly at that age. Men are meant to be getting drunk and falling out of clubs. Then [people] go, “Yeah, you’re cool!” But if I’d been seen as a party girl, it could’ve been the end of my career,” Knightley said.
Knightley also spoke out against other double standards that women face, such as the pressure to be thin but not “too thin” and the expectation to be sexy but not a “slut.” She compared these expectations to Collette, a French novelist from the 1990s and Knightley’s character in the upcoming film, Collette.
“We also live in a society that gives unbelievably difficult messages to young women. You’re meant to be thin, but not that thin. You’re supposed to go out and have sex, then people say, ‘No, you’re a slut,'” Knightley said. “You’re always too much of something. What’s so interesting about Colette is that she was breaking all those rules. She felt that she had the right to live her life in the way that she saw fit.”