WOMEN
10/07/2014 10:21 am ET Updated Oct 07, 2014

Jessica Chastain On Why Crying Shouldn't Be Written Off As A Weakness

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Big girls do cry, according to Jessica Chastain -- and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Mindy Kaling sat down with Jessica Chastain for Interview Magazine's October 2014 issue where they discussed what it's like to be successful and powerful women in Hollywood. While it definitely comes with its perks, Chastain and Kaling agreed there are some drawbacks.

Despite Chastain's long history of playing strong female protagonists, the 37-year-old says that she's been wrongfully represented as weak in past interviews.

"One time I was characterized as having this crippling fear, which is insane. I thrive on fear," Chastain told Kaling. "Fear actually propels me forward. I am an emotional person. I'm an awkward girl. I get a little shy, and I get nervous a lot. But every time I think I can't do something, I actually want to do it. I'm very in touch with my emotions, but I'm not a crybaby. [laughs]."

Crying is so often misconstrued as a weakness instead of a sign of compassion for others, Chastain explained. "I try to connect with people. And so if someone around me is suffering, I'm going to feel it. I'm going to take it in and have compassion for them. Yes, maybe I will cry along with them, but not out of weakness. It's out of empathy," she told Kaling.

Chastain went on to describe the double standard associated with crying that she's seen both in society and experienced in the characters she's played on set.

When I was playing the character in "Zero Dark Thirty," I had such empathy for this woman who was trained to be unemotional, who was in a field where she had to lock away most of who she was until she didn't even know who she was anymore. Women in politics actually cannot show emotion. They've been trained. Obama can cry, but Hillary can't because then all these commentators will say she's weak. And we as women should be, like, "Actually, what's so wonderful about us is that we do have compassion for other people, and we do have empathy and we feel things deeply." We should be able to express that.

A lot of other powerful women would agree with you, Jessica.

To read the rest of Kaling and Chastain's discussion head over to Interview Magazine.

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