“My mom was a single mom; I don’t know who my biological father is, and I grew up in a household that was really financially unstable. There was a turning point in my life where we were living with someone I didn’t like very much, a boyfriend of my mom’s. And he did something — my room was messy or whatever and he had taken my clothes, and I was telling him to give me back my stuff — and he slapped me. And I just kicked him in the genitals, and he fell to the ground immediately.”
She continued, “It was me, my sister and my brother — and I remember looking at my sister’s face, and we were both like, ‘Oh, my God, what did I just do?’ And then I ran out of the house. But I always look back on that moment as knowing that, OK, if anything happens to me, I’m capable of fighting back. He never messed with me again. If you allow a bully to intimidate or victimize you, they’ll continue to do it. Bullies are actually weak; they don’t go after strong people.”
The outspoken champion for equal gender rights mentions this moment as one of the pivotal experiences that influences her current decisions in life — and it shows. Chastain has been a voice for women in the entertainment biz who are victims of the huge male-female wage gap, with Chastain publicly demanding fair pay. She’s also not shied away from calling attention to what she calls the “disturbing” portrayal of women in film.
Ironically, she also recalls in the interview a time when now-disgraced film producer and accused sexual predator Harvey Weinstein introduced her, explaining he would rather fight famed boxer Muhammad Ali in a ring than Chastain. Considering her feisty spirit and fighter attitude, for once, he’s not wrong. ~Alexa Caruso