How Chloe Grace Moretz Learned To Take Off The Heels, Put Down Her Phone And Speak Up
On July 28, Chloe Grace Moretz was doing something she can fairly say no other 19 year old in the country was doing. That night—while her peers may have been scooping ice cream or hanging out at a friend’s pool—Moretz donned her best pantsuit and took to the stage at the Democratic National Convention. She endorsed Hillary Clinton, proclaiming that her first ever vote in a presidential election will be for the Democratic nominee, encouraging fellow young people to register to vote and proudly ending her speech with a fist pump (her Instagram account had revealed earlier that her nails were painted with “HRC 2016”).
But Moretz isn’t just an advocate of Clinton, she is an advocate of women, in general, and of women helping women. “There is so much judgement of young women, and there are so many experiences that are specific to young women,” she told FORBES. “It’s helpful to have a woman telling you that you’re beautiful or celebrating your ambition, rather than getting caught up in the male-constructed world.”
As a child actress—she snagged her first major role at age five in The Amityville Horror—growing up under the microscope of the entertainment industry, she learned quickly the importance of finding strong women both inside of and out of Hollywood who she could lean on and look to for advice.
Teri Duke-Moretz, her mother who became a single working mother when Moretz was 13—a point she stressed in her convention speech while supporting Clinton’s equal pay for equal work position—is one of these mentors, as are fellow actress Julianne Moore and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. All three of these women inspired Moretz to take part in ActuallySheCan’s latest mentorship campaign.
This campaign—part of the bigger movement by Allergan to support the ambition and accomplishments of women—features photo-portraits of celebrities like Moretz, Gabby Douglas, Gabourey Sidibe, Iman and Amanda de Cadenet with their mentors or mentees as part of a push to encourage female mentorship. In addition to these photographs, many of the subjects are featured in online videos about mentorship.
We got a chance to talk to Moretz—an alumna of FORBES 30 Under 30 list—about some of the best advice she’s gotten, what feminism means to her and how to navigate everything Hollywood, social media and more as a young woman
Madeline Berg: Obviously you chose your mom to be your mentor in this photoshoot, who are some of your female mentors outside of your family?
Chloe Grace Moretz: Julianne Moore is someone who has been a real business and personal mentor of mine. She’s really helped me get through some hard moments in my career when I haven’t known what the right move is and helped me stay focused on what is important in the industry as a young woman.
Berg: Between your mom, an actress and a politician you have a lot of ground covered when it comes to mentors. What are some of the best pieces of advice that you’ve received from each of them?
Moretz: Well, my mom has always told me look at myself and learn that I’m enough, to look in the mirror and say, “I’m enough.” It doesn’t really matter whether your mom thinks it, your friends think it, the industry thinks it, you don’t need that confirmation from anyone other than yourself, and it sounds so cheesy, but once you start doing that, it works.
Julianne Moore has helped me make decisions for myself. The scope of a movie can be exciting and money can be exciting, but if you aren’t making a decision from your heart. you will never be satisfied. And, in the end, no matter what anyone is pushing you for, it is your decision and you have control over your own life.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is rad; I really sought her out as a mentor. A funny thing she said to me, that I love, is that that I should never think I have to wear heels to feel powerful in a room. As a young woman, speaking your mind, you are powerful enough.
Berg: Do you have any suggestions on how to find a mentor? As a young person, I know it can be hard to know where to look and what is asking too much.
Moretz: You can’t be too afraid to ask for a mentor: You have to make conversation, meet people and say “hey, I’m looking for some advice.” You can make it casual, and just ask if it would be okay if you dropped an email every now and then or called every couple of weeks
That’s what happened when I met Kirsten Gillibrand. If I hadn’t actively asked, it probably wouldn’t have happened. So many of these women don’t want to feel like they are patronizing you, but really are happy to help.
Berg: You’re only 19, but you have been in the industry for over a decade—long enough to have some real experience. Have you ever mentored anyone in the industry?
Moretz: Millie Brown is someone I’ve been talking to lately and have kept an open dialogue with. I know what it’s like to be a young actress in this this industry, and I wanted to let her know there is a safe space with me to ask questions.
For Millie and for young women, in general, I know how hard it can be to vocalize your opinion, but even if people are down on you, you can’t stop. The minute you stop, they win in quieting another young woman who wants to speak her mind. The power of your voice and your brain are your strongest powers.
Berg: This idea of women helping women and advancing other women is one of the most integral parts of feminism. How has feminism changed for your generation, Generation Z? And what are some of the more specific challenges facing women now?
Moretz: It’s an interesting time to be 18,19 or 20 years old. We grew up in a world where we already had women talking about women, where sexism and feminism were already spoken about. But now we have social media, where for almost as long as I can remember, I was able to able to vocalize my opinion on a platform.
But it’s not all a good thing. We have grown up in a time with, for example, Instagram, which has encouraged this voyeuristic and skewed view of sexuality, and it has affected a lot of us young people. We have found inadequacies in ourselves that we can photoshop, change or edit out, and we can hide behind a false sense of self. It took a while to realize that when I look in the mirror these filters and these apps that hide my flaws are just making me feel more inadequate
The first thing my mentors told me was to get off social media and stop posting photos. If you stop being voyeuristic with your own self, you stop looking for the inadequacies. You start to own what makes you different; it’s okay to have a different nose than someone else or not to fill in your eyebrows everyday.
Berg: But as a member of Hollywood, of course, social media and looks are, perhaps unfortunately, pretty important. How do you think Hollywood can work on creating a better industry for women?
Moretz: Well of course, there’s the gender wage gap. It all stems from the fact that we don’t have enough women in the powerful position in these companies. These huge production companies are predominantly male run; it’s become a boys club.
I will say, on the positive side, recently, I’ve seen a real effort by men in the film industry to support women in film. I’ve seen a push to get women in the director’s seat or to hire women cinematographers. Even in the last eight months, I’ve noticed a change, but it’s a slow process because these are people who have been in the industry for decades, and in some ways, we have to wait for them just to retire and to have more progressive people take their place. Can you believe that being progressive is hiring in a woman?
Berg: Yes, it’s crazy to think equal or fair is what has come to be viewed as out of the ordinary. But it’s also exciting that change is happening. What do you think has led to this movement taking shape and affecting the industry?
Moretz: Not to sound like social media is the be all, end all, but I do think it is in a big part thanks to the fact that social media and the press have rallied behind young women and women in film. A lot of actors, producers and directors have used their social media platforms to cause a stir, highlight the issues and really be loud.
Tribeca Film Festival has done been a leader in the space, but a lot of the other festivals are focusing on bringing women together, hosting round tables, etc.
Berg: This is all, of course, important, but when we talk about women in Hollywood or the gender wage gap in the entertainment industry, we are still talking about a very privileged minority who can make six or seven figures a year.
Moretz: Yes, obviously we live in a completely insulated industry, but the great thing about this industry is that we can use the platform it provides to move society in the right direction. We have the ability to be listened to and set a standard. It’s a way to be able to highlight this insane discrepancy and show how madly inappropriate it is. There are a lot of times when I feel like a fool because I’m talking about such large sums of money, but it is a way to get the conversation going, make it louder and push it in people’s faces. I think less about what I make and more about the wage gap in general.
Also, if women see that these celebrities that they look up are also experiencing a gender gap, a lot of women won’t feel as hopeless or alone. They can look up to Jennifer Lawrence, for example, and see that even she is being taken for granted, even she is getting the short end of the stick, even if she is more successful than most of the men out there.
Berg: I know you’ve discussed creating movies with gender-equalizing roles as part of changing the industry. What are some movies where you’d like to see the script flipped, Oceans 8 style?
Moretz: I think it would be so fun if someone did Space Jam, but with members of the WNBA. Or maybe the Goonies with a a bunch of girls; that would be super fun and super cool. Any of those adventure flicks would be great for women.