Jessica Chastain has made it her mission to help other women in Hollywood.
“In an industry that for the longest time had pitted women against each other, it’s really important for me and my company to create a space where everyone understands that actually we do better together,” the actress and producer told The Hollywood Reporter for the magazine’s June cover issue.
Chastain, 41, is well-known for being an outspoken feminist and advocate for equal pay. And the last few years, the actress has put her money where her mouth is. In 2016, she founded her own production company, Freckle Films, which is headed by all female executives; she joined the Time’s Up initiative with 300 other women in Hollywood to help combat sexual violence in the workplace; and she regularly calls for equal pay for women in the industry.
The actress told THR that privileged women in Hollywood need to help other women in the industry.
“Your silence is your discrimination,” Chastain said. “So if you are succeeding in an environment where there is discrimination, you are actively being discriminatory.”
Chastain used the recent example of when she tied her salary to fellow actress Octavia Spencer’s to ensure Spencer was being paid accordingly for her work.
“I knew women of color got paid less than Caucasian actresses,” she told THR. “What I didn’t know is someone of Octavia’s level, who had an Oscar and two Oscar nominations, how much less she would be getting paid. When she told me what she was making, that’s what really made me go, ‘Hold up, that doesn’t compute in my brain.’”
Chastain added, rather earnestly, that she cares more about Spencer’s pay day than her own.
″... This is the God’s honest truth ― I care more about what Octavia’s getting paid than what I’m getting paid. Because I’ve got a great life. I am more concerned about her than I am about me,” she said. “Equal pay for equal work!”
Head over to The Hollywood Reporter to read Chastain’s full interview.