I’m not a mother, but I spend lots of time listing all the things I’d warn my own daughters about: defining themselves by a career, dating jerks, the list goes on and I don’t even have children to (over)protect yet. Keira Knightley, the British actress well-known for her role in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, is also concerned about future offspring, and though she’s a wildly successful performer, the last thing she’d ever do is encourage her girl to get into the same line of work.
“Oh, 100 percent, I’d absolutely tell her not to,” the 29-year-old told Elle UK. “I would 150 million trillion percent be totally discouraging of [her] doing anything like that.”
Knightley, was just 18 when the first Pirates installment splashed across theaters all over the world, so she knows from experience that spending one’s formative years in the spotlight can have consequences, “Teenage years should be done privately. You should be going out and getting unbelievably drunk, getting into ridiculous situations, making mistakes. That’s what that time of life is about and we should do that privately, one million trillion zillion percent.”
While Knightley says she wouldn’t go back in time and change the way she lived her life, she was told some pretty damaging things that could really hurt a vulnerable teenager’s feelings, “I don’t regret it – I wouldn’t do my life any differently, but having lived through it… There was a very long time when [interviewers] were all, ‘Well you’re a s–t actress and you’re anorexic and people hate you’ which, for a teenager or somebody in their early 20s, is a very strange thing.”
This isn’t the first time she’s addressed her issues with growing up in the public eye. Speaking to Elle in 2006, she revealed, “My dad always says, ‘I really wish this had happened way later so you could go and be f–king nuts and nobody would care, and you could grow up.’ Because of the success, there’s obviously a lot of comments made if I’m coming out of a club trashed or whatever. That’s when they go, “Oh, I wish this hadn’t happened.'”
In the same 2006 Elle issue, Atonement director Joe Wright lauded Knightley’s true love for performing and lack of Hollywood influence, “”Keira’s an incredibly focused young woman. I think she was underestimated for a while, and I think she set out to disprove that when playing Elizabeth [Bennet]. She wanted to make sure she was getting the kind of attention that she deserves for a reason. She’s not particularly into this whole celebrity bulls–t thing. Keira actually really loves the craft of acting and just wants to be the best craftswoman she can be.”
Going back to Knightley’s hopes for her future daughter, there’s no telling what her (as of now, imaginary) child will eventually strive for. She might watch her mom’s movies and want to follow in her career footsteps. The truth is, you can caution children to your heart’s content, but you can’t control how they live their lives when they grow up. I try to keep this in mind anytime I think about my future daughters dating a series of duds, as I did for a good chunk of my post-college years. You can’t control everything. You can only provide advice and hope at least a fraction of it is taken into consideration.
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