Rose McGowan Says Growing Up In America ‘More Traumatizing’ Than Being In A Cult

Outspoken #MeToo icon says abusive female directors can be 'as horrible as the men.'

Rose McGowan at a fashion show.
John Lamparski / Getty Images

Outspoken #MeToo icon says abusive female directors can be 'as horrible as the men.'

According to a report in The Daily Mail, actress Rose McGowan thinks that her time growing up in the United States was “more traumatizing” than the time she spent in a cult. The former Charmed star and outspoken driving force who helped launch the #MeToo movement told an interviewer on FUBAR radio that being a teenager in the States after spending the first 10 years of her life growing up in Tuscany, Italy, was worse for her psyche even than the time she was caught up in the Children of God cult.

“I’ve found America absolutely harrowing,” she said. “America was a lot more traumatizing to me actually. I found America much, much more hardcore than the cult.”

The 45-year-old McGowan says that after resettling with her parents in Oregon at age 10, she found herself being bullied, yelled at, and that she “had things thrown at me every day.” She even went so far as to unfavorably compare life as a transplant teen in the U.S. to her early years spent traveling through Italy to various communes of the cult Children of God with her father, who ran the Italian chapter. And while it was McGowan’s father’s contacts who first got her gigs as a child model, appearing in Italian fashion magazines which led to her career in U.S. film and television, McGowan said her teen years in the U.S. were fraught with time spent running away and living on the streets and other trouble.

But even once her career was off the ground, McGowan says that abuse in the film and television industry was common – and not only from the men who dominated the behind-the-camera jobs at that time.

“I worked with two [women directors] and they were as horrible as the men. They took it upon themselves to behave very much like the male directors I’d worked with.”

Rose McGowan and Ronan Farrow at a media event.
Rose McGowan with Ronan Farrow, whose reporting helped break the Harvey Weinstein story. Noam Galai / Getty Images

The Jawbreaker actress went on to describe a moment when she was working with a female director and was preparing to play a scene set in a boxing club. She said the room was full of a hundred male extras and men in the ring, “so there’s all this testosterone.”

“And I was wearing – which she approved – a skirt to my knees, boots to my knees, tights, a big jacket, and a turtle neck,” McGowan said. “She said in front of everybody, ‘Wow you look like a whore. Well, we don’t have any time to change this. Okay. Action.'”

McGowan had a spectacular run of starring roles through the late 1990s and 2000s with Scream and Jawbreaker, as well as her breakout roles in Charmed and Grindhouse. However, these days she is probably best known for having been an outspoken critic of Harvey Weinstein, publicly alleging he attempted to rape her as far back as October 2017, long before anyone else had the courage to challenge the mega-producer, who at the time seemed untouchable.