Jonah Hill reveals he suffered from self-esteem after being body-shamed by people calling him 'fat and gross'
Actor Jonah Hill says he's trying to build up his self-esteem bit by bit after being body shamed for being "fat and gross" most of his young adult life. The 34-year-old actor, who started acting at quite a young age, has been constantly left vulnerable to public criticism about his body.
The 'Superbad' actor started to reflect on his body image issues during his directorial debut, 'Mid90s', which is about a 13-year-old boy trying to fit in. While working for the movie, Hill also put together a magazine named Inner Children, in which he wrote about his body image issues throughout the years.
“I became famous in my late teens and then spent most of my young adult life listening to people say that I was fat and gross and unattractive. And it’s only in the last four years writing and directing my movie, Mid90s, that I’ve started to understand how much that hurt and got into my head,” he read from the magazine on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday.
Writing further, the actor said he thinks what he went through is a universal experience. “I really believe everyone has a snapshot of themselves from a time when they were young that they’re ashamed of,” he read.
“For me, it’s that 14-year-old overweight and unattractive kid who felt ugly to the world, who listened to hip-hop and who wanted so badly to be accepted by this community of skaters.”
Hill also told Ellen how the feeling stays with you, despite all the success you earn later in your life. “I think everybody has a version of themselves … at some point in your life the person you’re trying to kind of hide from the world,” he said.
“Even if you get success or you grow up or you become good looking or whatever, the things that you think will fix the thing, you kind of carry some part of that with you.” He added that exploring those issues in the magazine helped him work through his emotions.
“What I found amazing about [the magazine] is it was really a companion piece to writing and directing Mid90s because, to me, this movie is about learning to love yourself and finding a community of people that accepts you and how imperfect life is,” he said.
“It took a long time, honestly until right now, for me to come out as sort of the person, the artist, mind, what I represent, how I feel, how I’d like to be spoken to, how I speak to the world in a way that actually represents who I am as a person as opposed to me trying to be something else that I’m not.”
Ellen, clearly sympathizing with Hill on the issue, said that she understood exactly how the actor felt, given she too works in Hollywood. “We enter into this business — especially actors and actresses — first of all looking for approval, looking for love, to fill a void and also to kind of become other people to avoid being exactly who we are,” DeGeneres said.
“A lot of people get stuck into that role-playing instead of just knowing who you are. So it’s very cool that you have found who you are and love who you are because you’re a brilliant man. I’m glad you love yourself!”
Hill then told her, “I’m under construction like we all are.”
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