Natalie Portman Tells Harvard Grads To Take Risks And Forget Limitations

Natalie Portman wants graduating Harvard students to jump in and take risks. Portman, who is a 2003 alumna of Harvard University, knows how hard it can be to do something untried and new. Natalie also knows how rewarding it is to take a risk!

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In her speech to the Harvard seniors, Natalie encouraged the students “to embrace their inexperience and use it to their advantage.” Portman made sure the kids understood that she spoke from her own experience of fear when she took an acting part for which she was “woefully unprepared.”

It was the part of the ballerina in the hit movie Black Swan. The role required Natalie to do some tricky classical ballet moves in a convincing way, and she knew she wasn’t up to it. But that didn’t stop Portman. “The point is, if I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk,” she said.

“And the risk led to one of my greatest personal and professional achievements.”

It sure did! Because of her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman won multiple awards for best actress, including the BAFTA and Golden Globe awards, and finished the award year with the Oscar for best actress.

That wasn’t all the reward Natalie received for her decision to do something a little bit scary. Natalie also met the film’s choreographer, Benjamin Millepied. The two have since married and had a child, Aleph, together!

Portman’s whole life as it is now stems directly from her decision to accept the Black Swan role. Natalie is glad she didn’t know any better when she put her pointe shoes on!

“Make use of the fact that you don’t doubt yourself too much right now because, as we get older, we get more realistic. Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset.”

It’s a system that’s worked well for Natalie Portman. She’s just back from the Cannes Film Festival for the premiere of Portman’s film The Tale of Love and Darkness. Natalie directed the film, which is entirely in Hebrew. She also starred in it, and wrote the script!

“All of these are challenges [in shooting the film] I should have been terrified of, as I was completely unprepared,” said Natalie. “But once there, I had to figure it all out, and my belief that I could handle these things was half the battle.”

Next up? Oh, just playing Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On the Basis of Sex, before taking on the iconic role of Jackie Onassis in the upcoming Jackie.

So listen to Natalie Portman, kids. She’s knows what she’s talking about!

[Image via EOnline]