Natalie Portman: French are ‘judgmental about how you are & how you look’


Natalie Portman has been shilling for her feature-length directorial debut, A Tale of Love and Darkness, for months really. But she’s definitely stepped it up in the past few weeks, doing a full promotional tour in New York and giving interviews to anyone who wants to speak to her. The film is pretty small and it’s not going to make much money, but the reviews are okay/mediocre and most people think that Portman should try her hand at directing again. Anyway, Portman chatted with the Guardian last week about how she’s moved back to America after living in Paris, how she’s still a vegan and more. Some highlights:

Moving back to LA after living in Paris: “People in LA are just wild. French people are very judgmental, or in Paris at least, about how you are and how you look. You would never wear workout clothes on the street or sandals or shorts or wild colours. It was fun to get back to where everyone’s just being free.”

Vegan food in Paris: “Actually, Paris has improved a lot for vegans in the past few years. It was a lucky moment to be there as a vegan.”

Whether she reads the reviews: “No. I avoid it. It’s inhibiting to hear bad things about yourself. It makes you afraid, and you can’t be afraid when you work.

Watching herself onscreen: “I usually see a movie once when it comes out at the premiere and then never see it again. Usually I cringe through the premiere and hate everything I do. The less I’m in a movie, the more I like it.”

She enjoyed her sober Oscar campaign for ‘Black Swan’: “Being sober the whole time is a trip! I’ll tell you that. I felt unusual being that way relative to the room.”

[From The Guardian]

“You would never wear workout clothes on the street or sandals or shorts or wild colours.” Isn’t it that way in most major European cities? That they look down on you if you wear flip-flops and jeans or sweatpants? I imagine it’s magnified in Paris, a city known for being stylish and chic. Your yoga pants are gauche! Take your flip-flops back to America, you peasant! Considering I live in sweatpants and flip-flops pretty much year-round, I guess Paris would HATE me.


Photos courtesy of Getty, Fame/Flynet.

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178 Responses to “Natalie Portman: French are ‘judgmental about how you are & how you look’”

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  1. SpareRib says:

    Peut-être vous êtes tout simplement pas une personne très gentille, Natalie?
    Aussi, vêtements de sport sont pour la salle de gym. Toujours.

    • OhDear says:

      Je le comprends! Merci, Doulingo! \o/

    • Greenieweenie says:

      but aren’t you just proving her point…

    • Snappyfish says:

      You are right. She isn’t nice at all & has always been holier than thou

    • Lambda says:

      I noticed that people really like piling on Natalie. And, with the exception on funerals, I’m not a big supporter of clothing restrictions.

      • Toxic Shock Avenger says:

        Yeah, but we’re not really talking RESTRICTIONS (unless you’re wearing a burka on the beach, COUGH fail, police COUGH) – we’re talking street corner side-eye, and that happens everywhere. No one is arresting you for wearing gym clothes or sandals, and I’m willing to bet that your money’s plenty welcome in stores and cafes (maybe not nicer places or at dinner, but plenty of places in the USA will make you put on a jacket).

        You get judged everywhere, like it or not, know it or not. If you care about it, you change; if you don’t, then yoga pants GO.

    • Miss Jupitero says:

      Nous sommes tous vous juger, Natalie . bonne journée!

    • Cleo says:

      Personally I judge her and harshly for her refusal to acknowledge the beautiful work of her dance double. But sports clothes…who cares? Arent you guys proving her point?

      • kimbers says:

        I wasnt on set…for all i know the dance double kicks puppies and leaves gum on door knobs…didnt care tht she wasnt acknowledged….she can become an actress if she wants the spotlight so bad

    • Lyssa says:

      Je pense qu’elle n’est pas une personne gentille aussi. I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Paris and lived in Bordeaux. I have found the majority of the French to be kind (only one person I’ve ever met in France was a dickhead to me).

      • Timbuktu says:

        I just came back from France and I thought that people on average were more courteous, helpful, and kind than they are in America. Especially if you have a baby in a stroller – they go out of their way to accommodate you without exception: airport, metro, you name it. I consider it very ironic, given how much Americans talk about “family values” every election cycle.

      • Toxic Shock Avenger says:

        Timbuktu – that’s because “family values” does not mean “we value families.” It means “control your wimmenfolk, please.”

    • melior says:

      C’est ce que je pensais moi aussi 😊

    • paranoia says:

      Par contre je me souviens des interviews lors du début de son sejour en France ou elle était pleine d’enthousiasme par la sincérité des français et des européens en general. Dommage… Soudain elle me parait plutôt hypocrite, n’ayant pas son propre jugement mais plutot celui qui plairait (selon elle) a son homme.

      • melior says:

        Oui maintenant qu’elle n’habite plus en France, elle ne se sent plus “obligée” d’être sympa avec le public français

  2. justme says:

    I don’t like her at all and she’s wrong about only Parisians being judgmental about looks and clothing. I see a divorce in her future.

    • Ravensdaughter says:

      Exactly. How is her husband, the French dancer/choreographer, going to find work? I guess he had a stateside setup, but it didn’t work out.
      Same thoughts about Scarlett Johanssen & her French journalist.

  3. Georgia says:

    I’m from New York and I look down on people who walk around in workout clothes all day.

    • Snarky says:

      All day, sure. But what if you are headed for the gym?

      • Onerous says:

        But then what do you wear home from the gym? Don’t you get cleaned up there? Or do people just go around in funky gym clothes all the time?

      • Timbuktu says:

        Nope, I hate taking a shower at the gym, back when I worked out regularly, I did so at the end of the day, I would always be heading straight home, so yeah, I preferred to wear my workout clothes back home or to the car, and then shower at home. Honestly, no matter how much I sweated, by the time I was done walking back to the locker room, getting a drink, packing up my regular clothes, I was no longer sweating, and with a good strong deodorant, my armpits didn’t seem to get particularly stinky, either.

      • ichsi says:

        But that’s exactly what Europeans find weird. Why not shower at the place and change into clean clothes but wear your sweaty clothes home instead? And you may be lucky not to stink but a lot of people do. Also we usually don’t go to a gym by car over here but walk, cycle or take public transport and that can get uncomfortable in your sweaty, stinky clothes.

        Also flip flops are perfectly common, maybe not in the upscale places she usually goes to but everywhere else they are absolutely nothing to raise a brow about.

    • LeAnn Stinks says:

      Oh, brother. I am also from New York, hardly ever wear workout gear, and I could care less.

      I really hope that you’re post was based in sarcasm, otherwise, you take life WAY too seriously. There are far worse things in this world, than wearing workout gear outside. Sheesh…

    • Athena says:

      New Yorker all my life. I could care less what other people wear. I appreciate and enjoy if someone steps up their fashion game, but no, not everyone is FASHUN.

    • K8typat says:

      I am from Denver and I look down people who wear athleisure every day, all day.

      • PoliteTeaSipper says:

        If you can find jeans or dress pants that fit a 25 inch waist and 42 inch hips and don’t cost $200, do please drop me a line. You can pry my yoga pants out of my cold dead hands. With my waist-hip ratio I can’t find jeans that fit.

    • paranoia says:

      A bit of a snobish attitude, no?

  4. manda says:

    I think there is a difference between sandals and flip flops–is she saying the French don’t wear sandals? I find that hard to believe. But whatever, when people from other countries come to the US, they generally wear things a bit differently, and I don’t think we care at all. I know I don’t. I can’t imagine someone in Paris giving a shit about what a stranger is wearing

    • Timbuktu says:

      I just came back from France, where we stayed with a friend who dressed generally nicer than most people in the street, and she definitely wore nothing but sandals in the summer. They were nice sandals, but some of them looked plenty flip-floppy.
      I also ended up going to a very upscale perfume boutique in shorts and a t-shirt after a hot day of running around Paris with heavy bags and stuff, so I made an apologetic comment about it to a very fashionably dressed woman who helped me at the boutique, and she told me quite cheerfully not to be silly.
      I think Portland may be thinking about a very specific subset of Parisians – rich and pretentious, not all Parisians.

  5. QueenB says:

    if i was french i would now be judgmental about Natalie Portman.

    • Shambles says:

      She comes off as so… Gwenyth here. Like she’s in high school and her parents took her to Paris on summer vacation, and now that she’s back for junior year she won’t stop wearing her hair in a chignon and talking about how everything is so “wild” in America. Like she’s not an actual American.

      • here or there says:


      • tealily says:

        Ha! That’s funny, but I don’t know if i’s fair. She’s been there for a while now, and it’s always a culture shock going from one country to another. You notice all the little differences. It sounds like she’s saying it’s nice to be back!

      • Toxic Shock Avenger says:

        LMAO, that just gave me SUCH a Sweet Valley High flashback – THE NEW (EUROTRASH) JESSICA! Thank you for that. I needed the giggle that only classic SVH cover art can provide.

        And I’m now remembering reverent, wonderfully bad, half-page-long outfit summaries, from stylish chinos to sun-kissed blond hair. Oh, so therapeutic.

    • says:

      Well I ‘m french, and am now judging her. Harshly.

    • Snarky says:

      Eh, and when she went to Paris, she raved about how the sophisticated French don’t wear shorts like peasant Americans.

      I think what rubs people the wrong way about Portman is that she can never say something nice about one thing, without dissing another.

  6. AG-UK says:

    Not the case in London nor Amsterdam as far as I know l live in London and been to Amsterdam many times but def in Paris and probably Milan. The French just have a way especially Paris area of wearing things and it looks right. You can spot the French on holiday as well no moo moo type clothing lol. Go to Southern France they wear bright colours and lots of make up.

    • Timbuktu says:

      I agree with you, but I actually think that Parisian women pride themselves on pulling effortless looks. I feel like jeans and a black t-shirt (not the baggy type, but a t-shirt nonetheless) are very common. On a skinny girl, with hair up and a scarf, that looks instantly chic. But that girl is also very likely not to wear any makeup, or very little of it, for example, so that doesn’t strike me as high-maintenance.

      • ladysussex says:

        I agree there is often something about Parisian women that just looks effortlessly chic. Not at all made-up, but chic.I hate to admit it, because I’ve had some unpleasant interactions with the French when I was studying French, and I’m very sensitive. I’ve since realized that it’s a cultural difference where they don’t really have the same sense of “encouragement” that Americans do, but it really put me off of the French for a long time and I still find it a little hard to grudgingly say nice things about them. Off topic, but I think France 24 (which clearly caters to a free-thinking, intelligent audience) is one of the best news channels out there. It’s given me a new respect for the French.

  7. Betti says:

    That’s quite a rude and a code racist thing to say. granted Parisians have that rep but I live in London and see many people wear flip flops and clothes with wild colours. I guess she didn’t notice as her head is too far up her pretentious ass. Also have been in LA and it’s just as judgemental, they look down on u if u arnt mega thin or work in the industry.

    • Whatabout says:

      Question! I have friends who live in London and they were trying to explain to me that people wear workout clothes to work out but if they were going out to dinner or lunch they wouldn’t wear shorts, t shirt or flip flops. Since I haven’t spent much time there is this true?
      Also that’s what I wore last night to dinner.

      • shelly says:

        It depends on the Restaurant I suppose. I never wear shorts, but that’s because I wouldn’t inflict my pit pony legs on innocent bystanders.

      • freebunny says:

        That depends on the restaurant, if you’re at a restaurant near a beach it’s totally ok.

        If you go to a more classy restaurant in town with your shorts, your shit and your flip flops people will think you don’t show respect to the place, to the people doing the service and to other consumers.

      • Ariadne says:

        People don’t wear shorts and flip flops to lunch in the UK because 99.9999% of the time it’s too cold to wear them :)

      • CMiddy says:

        It is 29 degrees in London right now and I am off to the pub in my flip flops … Anything goes in pubs – restaurants slightly higher standard but generally very relaxed here save for super swish joints.

      • ladysussex says:

        I very rarely see people wearing shorts in London, but it doesn’t really get hot enough here to feel the need to wear shorts. When it gets up to the 80′s (Fahrenheit) they call it a “heat wave”. I’m originally from Atlanta, so I find that humorous.

    • justme says:

      Racist? oh please just stop.

    • La Ti Da says:

      How in the world is that racist? Its ethnocentric and a bit rude, but in no way racist whatsoever.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        When did the French become their own race?

      • mayamae says:

        And what is “a code racist”? Is that especially bad?

      • Montréalaise says:

        ”Racist” has become the word people use nowadays when in the past they’d say ”bigoted”, ”chauvinistic”, ”prejudiced”, ”biased” or ”intolerant”. It’s intellectual laziness, really.

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      @Whatabout London must be different, but I used to live in Exeter and there was an actual real sign on one of the restaurants that people in their pajamas won’t be allowed to go in – it was needed, because more than one person attempted to do it. Shorts and flip-flops sound fancy in comparison. And I’ve actually seen a woman in her teddy bear pj’s just casually shopping in Sainsbury’s and other people didn’t seem to mind or even notice. When my neighbor saw a guy in his pj’s on the street here in Poland, she called the police without checking on him, because she assumed he must be mentally ill. So I’m always wearing make-up and nice clothes when I’m here, even to buy groceries, but back in England I just felt like I could be wearing my grandpa’s old tracksuit with hooker hills and no one would blink an eye. They would probably think badly of me, but they wouldn’t show it one bit.

      • qwerty says:

        Haha, yes. Pyjamas in public in Poland means you’ve lost the plot. In the UK, it’s just a sign you’ve decided to pop into a shop after doing a school run…

        Also, everyone wears flip flops in summer in Europe (maybe not for an evening outing to a restaurant though).

  8. Birdie says:

    She seems over french people and Paris. (And maybe her husband).

  9. Whatabout says:

    You will only take my yoga pants and flip flops from my cold dead hands!

    Viva la lululemon!

  10. La Montagne says:

    Umm, excuse you, Natalie. Parisians do not represent the rest of France and yes it’s known that they are judgmental, that’s just how they are really. Paris isn’t France, if she had visited around she’d have known. Flip flops are okay-ish for summer, but considering the state of Paris’ streets I understand why they don’t walk with them outside, otherwise people just wear sandals. And I disagree about wild colors, we do wear wild colors! Work out clothes are for working out.

    • sanders says:

      I was in Paris about 8 years ago and I did notice a lack of colour in the clothes women were wearing, a lot of blacks and grays. I love colour and it’s reflected in my wardrobe. I did feel a bit self conscious.

      • melior says:

        I’ve been livng in Paris for the past 12 years and I had to explain to my mother the shades of grey and camouflage in my wardrobe. You’d be hard-pressed to find bright colours especially in the autumn and winter collections in most popular Parisian brands like H&M Fr, La Redoute, Pimkie … The French don’t like standing out or showing off especially if they’re rich.

      • Montréalaise says:

        I was in Lisbon last winter and noticed the same thing – women were well-dressed, but always in muted colors like gray, taupe, black and loden. The only people who wore bright colors and pastels were American tourists.

      • sanders says:

        Sounds kind of boring and conformist for a place that is known for fashion.

      • Toxic Shock Avenger says:

        Sanders – not necessarily. The expression is just more through cut and fit and shape/structure, than through color, which would be a distraction. I think it’s reflective of an attitude that the clothing is there to be a backdrop/frame for the woman, vs. the clothing being the star. Black and white photography can be just as artful and visually striking as color, and it’s used to create a desired effect, or to draw out certain qualities in the subject, not just because no one could afford color.

        When women (OR men) wear clothes that look terrible on them because “the look is in” and “everyone knows you’ve GOT to have a pair of these” – THAT to me is dull and conformist.

      • sanders says:

        Toxic Shock Avenger, yeah, I get that using a neutral palette can be interesting. You may be surprised to hear that some of us who love bold colours also look for cut and form when choosing clothes. You can have the same artful impact with colour too.

        The use of a neutral palette can be used to assert class and cultural status as stated in the previous post I responded to. It can be just as prescriptive as wearing something because, as you said, ‘it is in’. God forbid that one signals a lack of wealth by wearing bright garish colours (sarcasm). This is an elitist and conformist attitude, the worst comination and kills creativity and innovation in fashion.
        If I return to Paris, I will wear bright colours regardless of whether it ‘s on trend or if everyone around me is wearing black, grey and camouflage. It’s what I like and it’s what is flattering to my dark skin tone.

    • Em' says:

      What ? I live in Paris and all the collection in H&M,Mango, Zara… are the same in Paris as in the rest of France and even Europe (I was in London and Madrid last spirng : same clothes everywhere). And this year there were lots of colours and amazing prints.

      We love prints, colours and shorts as much as anyone else. Now of course if I am meeting friends for a drink I don’t wear my gym shorts, but I might still wear some nice (colorfull ;-) ) shorts.

  11. Trillion says:

    I agree with her. I went to college in France (far from Paris, rural France!) and was shocked at first at how casually the French girls would openly pick apart my outfits. But they did it without malice or snark, just blunt. And they were always technically “correct”. It was a difficult transition for us American students but we learned that it was just a cultural thing and not personal. Looking at it that way allowed me to see it as more interesting and less annoying.

    • sanders says:

      I personally don’t like wearing work out clothes unless I’m working out. I prefer wearing dresses and skirts. Most of the women in the US town that I live in wear work out clothes everywhere. I often feel conspicuous though I do get compliments from the grandmother generation.
      Most cities have fashion norms. There are big cosmopolitan cities in North America where there is a wide range of fashion expression. Those are the places I feel most comfortable.

    • Kitten says:

      French people are incredibly blunt about almost everything, I’ve found. They’re also not easily offended, by my experience.

      Americans are more concerned with being polite than honest, thus are easily offended and often seen as over-sensitive by French people.

      Not justifying you getting picked on, just explaining the cultural differences that have taken me a while to get used to.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        In my experience, they are very blunt. I worked in a hotel for a few summers, and the French are the most difficult guests to deal with. Of course not all of them, but in general, they complain a lot. About everything. And tend to be a bit snobbish ( although that tends to be true for most Western Europeans when they come to Eastern or Sooutheastern Europe, except for Germans).

      • Maire3 says:

        @Locke Lamora: Your comment reminds me of Julie Delpy’s character in the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight trilogy. I think it was in the 2nd film that she laughingly told Jesse “The French are always miserable”

        Germans can also be blunt, which can be mistaken for rudeness. Tina Fey joked about the German press while on the junket circuit for the film Date Night: “You are not famous, so …. why are you here?” lol.
        Having said that, I met some German medical students on an exchange program here in Texas. They were very open & friendly – nothing that could be construed as blunt/rude. They did ask why I wasn’t wearing cowboy boots & I wasn’t convinced they were joking.

      • Valois says:

        A lot of the “Germans are rude” thing stems from cultural differences. For example, British people often think Germans are pretty blunt when dealing with them at work, but that’s because Germans have a different way to give feedback. In England, most people do it in a very coded way and fellow Englishmen get those cues, but Germans don’t and don’t understand it’s negative feedback because Germans tend to give feedback in a much more direct way (something that a lot English people would consider rude or blunt).

      • Cee says:

        I found Berliners to be extremely rude, not blunt. I understand bluntless, because I am sometimes very blunt. However, I was in other german cities/towns and people behaved differently.

        Parisians are either extremely rude or extremely nice. There is no middle ground, just depends on which side you encounter.

      • Locke Lamora says:

        From what I saw when I was working at that hotel, and what heard people say, there are some general traits to certain nationalities,
        I really loved Germans when they came on vacation. Very nice, very punctual, tend to keep themselves to themselves. They weren’t rude or blunt. And they speak German, and I love German. Brits were rare, and the only ones that did come where usually young men on a lads holiday. Ususally nice, but can’t really hold their liquor. Americans are also nice, but tend to fascinated by the fact that we have wifi and don’t live in the middle ages. Czech/Polish people are also nice, but Jesus Christ, the most reckless people in existance. They go hiking in flip flops. Every year there’s a story about a Czech person being rescued because he tried to reach Italy on a air matress.

      • Valois says:

        Cee, I somewhat agree with you on Berlin. A lot of people in Berlin think they’re special, more hip, more international and “better” than the rest of Germany and some of them are extremely arrogant and rude.
        Which is somewhat ironic because Berlin isn’t even the most popular city in Germany.

      • msd says:

        Oh Berliners are notoriously rude – not blunt, actually rude. There are exceptions of course, and when you get people one-on-one in private they’re much better but in general, yeah. (I say this as someone who is part German). The people who work in museums and art galleries are the worst; sooo officious, sooo unfriendly. I’ve never found Parisians rude, despite their reputation. A bit aloof but you get that in most big cities, really. Also, I have no idea why people sometimes say New Yorkers are rude, maybe they are compared to other places in the US? They seemed nice and friendly to me.

  12. Arlene says:

    Load of nonsense: Barcelona, London, Dublin, Madrid ( these are the only European cities I can attest to with confidence) people wear flip-flops, shorts, t-shirts, gym wear… weather depending it’s what ever floats your boat.

    • Annetommy says:

      Yes I agree, Scottish cities aren’t like that either, though it was 15 degrees in Edinburgh today compared to 30 in London. Casual is fine, but I’m not actually a huge fan of ar@se crack denim shorts in the city. Maybe I’m just jealous that I couldn’t wear them.

  13. shelly says:

    Not everyone in Paris dresses in Chanel, certain edgier parts have people who dress in a more bohemian way. People on their way to work don’t really look any different to your average New Yorker, Londoner, Glaswegian etc.

    Mind you I daresay Natalie only hangs out with a certain type of person. If she would care to take a walk around LeClerc or Carrefour she can happily rub shoulders with “normal” folk, who dress in, *gasp* flip flops and sometimes even shorts, if its hot.

    Or what Arlene said.

    • freebunny says:

      I don’t think she ever put a feet in a Monoprix, only Fauchon for Natalie.

    • Lambda says:

      Ha, Carrefour! That’s a blast from the past for me.

    • arbelia says:

      Thanks, for that.
      I was born and grew up in Paris, precisely in the poor districts of the city ( still 100% parisian, not the suburbs) ,and i don’t identify with this image of parisian people. Some parisian people are very poor , some are just not that interested in fashion, or are simply not posh, but from artistic, bohemian background, etc…
      When i was in high school, in a good parisian “lycee” most of girls in my class wore very vivid colors, and mostly clothes from second hand shops. And many of them were actually from

    • minime says:

      * shrug * I’m in the minority since I kinda like Natalie Portman (at least as an actress), but she couldn’t have sound more entitled and ignorant than this. How much time did she live there?? She must have been confined to a very elitist part of Paris if she never saw people dressing “workout clothes or sandals or shorts or wild colours”…The only one I can think of as not being that common are the workout clothes, although as you said she would just need to cross with someone on their way to the gym, go on a Sunday to a gas station, go for a ride on the TGV, or actually go to any supermarket :D Plus, passing by any of the thousand teenagers who love their “cool” training trousers. Oh well…maybe next time she could try to go for a walk.

      • freebunny says:

        I think that maybe she just says what she thinks medias want to hear: Parisians are so chic and snobbish, only Channel and Louis Vuitton for them.

    • Tia Maria says:

      Love the Glasgow shout out!! 😀

  14. Naya says:

    Sorry but a Rotten Tomatoes score of 63% is not “ok/mediocre”. Thats actually a pretty good score especially considering it a directors first full length film. I checked on metacritic just incase I was missing something and she has only 1 negative review, the rest are either mixed or good.

    • mayamae says:

      I remember when it was announced she was directing this film. Posters here were very negative. Stating how ridiculous it was she was filming in Israel and in Hebrew, as if she weren’t Israeli and the book wasn’t set in Israel and originally published in Hebrew. She was treated like she was committing cultural appropriation. She was dismissed as being a horrible director before she started. And this from some of the very same folks who complain that women are given few chances in directing and we should always support their efforts. I guess they meant only some women.

    • Maire3 says:

      She directed one of the short films in “New York, I Love You” back in 2008. I thought it was well done.

  15. MissMerry says:

    she was ‘sober’ as in she had a drinking or drug use problem before Black Swan time?

    Or she just wasn’t drinking champagne or wine at events during the campaign?

    I don’t recall her ever having an issue with boozy interviews or anything, wonder why she chose to do that sober…

    • Sesame says:

      I think she’s referring to the fact that she was in her second and third trimester of pregnancy when she was campaigning for Black Swan Oscar season (if memory serves me correctly).

      • Maire3 says:

        Yes, to the pregnancy reason, plus, I remember attending a New Year’s Eve party where I specifically did not drink (was nursing cold w/ Rx meds). I had a heightened sense of awareness on how the drunk revelers behaved. People would have a conversation with me, and half an hour later, return and repeat the same story – their speech slurried with each retelling. Like NP I remember thinking it was crazy to witness.

  16. littlemissnaughty says:

    Uh, I’ve traveled a bit in Europe, from Sweden to the Greek islands and many countries/cities in between. People wear shorts and sandals everywhere. In certain cities, people tend to be more stylish but really, you see every style everywhere. Except the sweatpants. I still don’t really see people in sweatpants outside unless they’re on their way to the gym. I would NEVER leave the house in yogapants/sweatpants. It’s just … you make sure you don’t smell, brush your hair, you put on your “outside” pants. To me personally, it’s the most basic level of respect for yourself and everyone else.

    As for the judgy Parisians, yeah. I’ve met them. I’ve also met others.

    • Kitten says:

      Who smells though..? Hopefully people use deodorant, right?

      I live in a small city and when I’m going to the gym on Saturday, I’m not going to bring a gigantic bag full of stuff to change into afterwards so I don’t offend someone when I stop by the grocery store. It’s just not practical at all, and I don’t see why it’s offensive if I walk into a store wearing sneakers and my workout clothes.

      Man… I complain about the non-fashion in Boston but I am so damn happy that I don’t have to worry about people judging me for not looking fancy and perfectly put-together while I’m buying tampons at CVS or picking up some eggs at Roche Bros.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I don’t live in a small city. It’s a big city. People smell on the subway. They smell on the bus. They smell in the supermarket and they smell in crowded places. I’m telling you, I’m not being super judgy and sometimes, yes, people smell a little. It can be genetics and it can be illness or sometimes you had a stressful day and your deodorant gave up. BUT sometimes they simply don’t shower or change their clothes. That’s a different smell. And at least twice a week, someone gets on the bus/train in the morning and has JUST smoked a cigarette. It’s rude.

        As for the clothes, like I said, to/from the gym it’s perfectly fine. And I did say that for me personally it’s not a question of whether I put on outside-of-the-home-pants. I always do. I didn’t say I would faint if someone else didn’t. But it’s not really a thing here. We’re not super classy dressers though, I’m seeing more booty shorts this summer than I care to.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I’m wearing yoga pants right now. Sitting in my office. Doing paperwork. Judge all you want but I live in my yoga pants.

      • Erinn says:

        I’m of the mind that yoga pants aren’t an automatic “look at her, she looks so unprofessional”. As long as they’re not see through, so tight that they look painted on (as if it would be comfy that tight anyway) and your butt is at least semi-covered, I see nothing wrong with them. They’re worn around the office a lot, here. And it looks a lot nicer than ripped jeans. Which – hey, we’re not client facing, so what does it matter anyway.

  17. Sixer says:

    Parisians do have a snobbish reputation and especially about clothes. But ask anywhere outside of the US and people will tell you that it’s Americans who are reputed as the most obsessed about how they look. All that body and face messing with surgery and weird dieting, etc.

    This is just a strange interview to read if you are neither Parisian nor American!

    • Gg says:

      Can’t say I disagree but usually it’s because it’s always chilly in Paris. I will say after living in Paris for 6 months I put the chicest outfits together. I definitely embraced the look and sometimes I miss that sense of dress back in the States and sometimes I’m glad no one cares I worked out and stayed in my clothes all day. Not to mention I don’t know anyone in France that goes to the gym as often as we do.

      • Maire3 says:

        I remember reading several of John Baxter’s books about living in Paris. He noted in France (as well as many European cities), people walk more/use public transport. Driving is more of an inconvenience/expense. Not partaking in the American diet of processed foods means having fewer pounds/stones to shed (though sadly that is changing)

        I was in Amsterdam during October several years ago. Even though it was chilly, I did don a pair of open toe Clarks to run to the grocers. I noticed people’s gaze directed to the red nail polish peeking out from the hem of my trousers. lol.

      • Sixer says:

        Just to clarify in case I didn’t put it well: I was talking about the cultural stereotype rather than generalising about populations. I don’t think all Parisians are snobbish about their outfits or that all Americans are obsessed with their appearance.

    • MinnFinn says:

      Using cosmetic procedures as a measure of being obsessed with appearance, the ranking is this.
      1. South Korea
      2. Greece
      3. Italy
      4. Brazil
      5. Columbia
      6. USA
      7. Taiwan

  18. freebunny says:

    Paris is a big city.
    Of course if you visit only the richest areas you won’t see much flip-flops and sweat pants but you’ll find them in more popular areas Natalie. It just proves your own bias and narrow mind.

  19. Yeses says:

    Laisser les gens porter ce qu’ils veulent porter. Ne pas juger les gens en fonction de leurs vêtements.

    I personally don’t wear workout clothes except to the gym, but if someone wants to, let them, doesn’t bother me. I live in the Midwest and love my blingy Yellow Box flip flops in the summer, will just remember not to pack them for my next European vacation.

  20. Zuzus Girl says:

    Wasn’t she just as judgmental not that long ago? I can’t stand her acting, like watching cardboard. I’m sure she’s okay as a human.

    “The less I’m in a movie, the more I like it.” Agreed.

  21. als says:

    Is she dumb? She has money to live in whatever city she wants, she should have just relocated and be done with it. Why not say 2 nice words about Paris? And, no matter where she relocates, her husband is still French.

    Criticizing a place you lived in for so many years is tacky and pointless, unless you are talking about acts of terror pepetrated there.

  22. Bridget says:

    It used to be that you were told the mark.of the American tourist is shorts, so if you travel to Europe skip the shorts. But that’s not the case – you’ll see people dressed in every sort of get up, including shorts and sandals. Though I would avoid flip flops, just considering how dirty the streets of major cities are (esp in the summer). It never hurts to put a tiny bit of effort into how you look. Here in my corner of the US, despite it being a more “casual” city, you still see a range of style. The big difference is that there just aren’t a lot of occasions to dress up.

  23. mkyarwood says:

    This is a classic opinion of the self centred. She is holding herself to some kind of standard, and finding herself lacking, then projecting it all on random people. She moves in higher social circles, too, where standards are set very high. Rory Gilmore figured that out quickly. She needs to let some guards down and make some friends. Not change who she is to be popular, but find a few anchors in a situation where she clearly feels out of place. That’s what you do. Not talk generalized smack about people in an interview.

  24. Bobafelty says:

    Didn’t she diss the US culture when she moved to France? She’s changed her tune.

  25. freebunny says:

    Basically, for french people, specially the richest, wearing sweat pants, shirt and flip flop in the street is a lack of etiquette and respect.

    Americans often don’t realize it but french society is full of strict unspoken rules and social codes.
    Following those rules makes you show your respect, not following them shows your disrespect.

    It’s totally cultural so that’s why it’s useless to compare french and american societies, it’s like comparing apples and dogs.

    • Maire3 says:

      I have to drop the Seinfeld reference “Again with the sweatpants?”. Maybe it’s a (snobby) UWS* thing, but some sectors of the US do call it out.

      Edit: *NYC Upper West SIde

    • Tina says:

      @freebunny, this is absolutely true. It’s the same in the UK, or at least in England – for us, “not bad” means very good, and “how interesting” means how awful. You need to know the codes. I imagine it’s the same in Italy and Spain. The Dutch and the Germans are more straightforward and are blunt/rude, depending on your perspective.

  26. LR says:

    Okay I can understand her sentiments about Paris but comparing it to LA…really? Both cities seem extremely high maintenance, especially when it comes to appearance. And I just can’t with her short arms and tiny hands, it gets me every time!

    • Maire3 says:

      I remember reading another actress phrased her observations more tactfully. To paraphrase, it was that in NYC, the general public made less fuss with hair & makeup – she noticed people with uncombed hair, but their wardrobe tended to be more carefully selected. In LA, it was the opposite, more casually dressed (workout attire), but hair, makeup & bodies appeared carefully attended to.

  27. Dani says:

    I find her generally insufferable, but I have to agree with her assessment of Parisians and their attitude to daily fashion/appearance (full disclosure, I’m from LA and I’m used to dealing with very wealthy people who dress like they are homeless). My aunt is Parisian, I have Parisian cousins, I had a long term bf who was Parisian — it’s not that they are being overtly judgmental about your plebian American clothing choices or that they all wear Chanel, LV etc. Sloppy sartorial choices (eg: workout clothes, even Lululemon) are just not culturally acceptable in public.

    • freebunny says:

      They’re also richer than 95% of french people who wears C&A and H&M.

    • Tina says:

      Yes. And I will say this for Parisians, they may be judging you behind your back, but they are polite to your face if you make an effort to fit in with their aesthetic. I am fat, speak fairly good French and dress almost adequately for a Parisian (in black, good shoes, good bag, good scarf), well for a Londoner and extremely formally by US standards. Everyone has always been exquisitely polite to me there.

  28. manta says:

    Born and raised in Paris, but left about 15 years ago. People avoid flip flops, or generally open shoes not because they want to make a style statement (maybe some) but hello because of hygiene. I guess if you ‘re chauffeured everywhere that’s ok but the peon who actually WALKS in the street doesn’t need to end the day his feet covered in 6 layers of filth.
    And a Dior égérie is surprised that people can care about how you look? OK.
    And I don’t see what’s so weird about reserving sport clothes for sports.

    • paranoia says:

      I live in Athens right now with an average of 37 Celcius everyday. Most people wear sandals. And yet they have clean feet. How is it ever possible can someone gather “6 layers of filth” when there is a sole between the feet and the pavement????????

      • manta says:

        Ok, I obviously didn’t mean the sole of the feet. But wear any strappy thing on your feet (including flip flops) a whole day, actually walking on the pavement for more than 3 minutes , using public transportations, city bikes or moto taxis, I can guarantee you that when you take them off, the contrast between the bare feet and the part covered by the straps is really visible. And no it’s not a tanning mark. I don’t like that.

        And if you have ever rode a crowded bus or metro, trust me, the moment another passenger crushes your feet after a sudden stop or simply because it’s rush hour, you’re thankful that there’s something between your toes and and his shoe. But hey that’s just me.
        But if you’re like Portman who probably never walks longer than between the door and her car and is spared the plague of public transportation, sure no big deal.

    • AnotherDirtyMartini says:

      @manta exactly this! Your feet would be filthy wearing flip-flops. Same in London. Shoes get filthy quickly.

  29. Cat says:

    And Americans aren’t?

  30. Miss S says:

    I read this sort of comments people make about places and other people and it really annoys me. It’s just so closed minded to accept a stereotype like the whole truth. In Europe reality in really diverse, not just between countries but inside cities as well, and the bigger the city the more complex it gets. Cities and countries are much more than what’s on the postcard! But you need to open your eyes and visit different areas.

    What she says about Paris/France, she could say about most capitals in Europe within the center or more posh areas.

    I guess diplomacy is not Natalie’s forte.

    • shelly says:

      Yep its like comparing Knightsbridge to Peckham they are both in London but you will definitely see different styles of people there, and its none the worse for that.

      Paris is as diverse as any other Big City, if you step outside your comfort zone.

      • Miss S says:

        And in London, because you have social/council houses in posh areas you can find less posh people just by visiting a different street.

        Look at the now fancy Queen’s Park area with stylish mothers who come from Nothing Hill and how around it Kensal Rise and Kilburn still have people with less money who also visit the farmers market and use the park wearing clothing that tells the difference.

        Stepping outside the postcard narrative is really stepping outside our comfort zones.

      • shelly says:

        This is true, at one point Notting Hill was a slum area, now although gentrified to within an inch of its life, it still has council estates and social housing cheek by jowl with multi million pound properties.

    • Kitten says:

      I generally agree with you. I think it’s one thing to make a cultural observation but it’s important to temper that with “from my experience” and “not always but sometimes” or “from the small area that I visited..”

      But yeah, my parents tend to be like this: when they visit a city, they go to the absolute nicest part. They’ll drive around the countryside to see the rural areas, always, but in a city they like to be in the center of things. It always bums me out because the coolest, most colorful, vibrant neighborhoods are inevitably in the younger and often less-gentrified areas. Then again, they’re in their seventies so…eh, I get it.

    • paranoia says:

      Not to mention she probably socialises amongst the richer people who … gasp … can afford larger wardrobes and/or don’t need to walk around in comfortable clothing because they use the public transport.

  31. lvw2 says:

    “The less I’m in a movie, the more I like it.”

    we FINALLY agree on something Natalie

  32. cora says:

    How very Paltrow of her…LOL.
    Being awful and judgamental has nothing to do with nationalities. Rich people in rich areas are the same EVERYWHERE. It’s not fair nor true that kind of comment…Im french, lived in paris and it depends on class, upper clases, middle, etc…

  33. perplexed says:

    The French girls I’ve seen are effortlessly stylish. I never got the vibe that they were judgmental though. I think I might understand what Natalie is trying to get at, but she could have worded it better. I don’t know why she used the word “judgemental.” That’s definitely going to make people think you’re being kind of rude.

    • Miss S says:

      All french girls? Really?

      • perplexed says:

        No, not all of them. Just the ones I’ve seen and worked with (recently I worked with a lot of them). Like, in general. I’m sure there may have been a badly dressed one in the bunch but the stylish ones outnumbered the drably dressed ones to such an extent that I came away with the impression that they are generally more stylish. To be fair, I consider myself well, not very stylish, so I probably thought they looked good compared to me. To someone else’s eyes they might look average.

      • Miss S says:

        But that’s the thing, when we spend most of our time with the same people in the same area we assimilate this image of what people are, but that’s just our experience within a small context. It’s a tiny sample that ignores a whole lot of people.

      • perplexed says:

        Fair enough. I didn’t think they were particularly judgmental though. They seemed to mind their own business from what I could tell. I think my comment is more benign than Natalie’s.

  34. Yura says:

    I live in korea and I’ve never see someone walking down the street in sweatpants in the entire 6 years I’ve lived her. So it’s not.just European countries.

    In fact in korea you have to submit a photo of yourself when you send a resume for a job because they care about appearance that much.

    It’s part of the reason their one of the leading countries for plastic surgery.

    • AnotherDirtyMartini says:

      @yura – I was just thinking about Korea when someone commented that the US is plastic surgery obsessed. I’ve read the same thing you just stated – except for the picture attached to the resume, that is!

    • qwerty says:

      In Poland you’re expected to send a CV with a photo as well. You’ll see tele jobs offers askung to send a resume with a photo!! But it’s mostly because no one cares about employee’s rights. It’s also rare for the potential employer to inform candidates about offered salary. You’re supposed to act like it’s an afterthought lol.

  35. Hippo says:

    Spent two years in France and yes, don’t want to generalize, but many people I knew there were judgmental of other people’s clothes and thinness. It wasn’t that big a deal though.
    I would agree that the French casual style is leaning more towards smart than sport. But I’d also say that an average Parisienne is just as stylish as a girl from New York or Moscow.
    Fun thing about France, though: lots of guys are very well-groomed and don’t mind judging or giving fashion advice. That took a lot of getting used to.

    • Cranberry says:

      I’ll say. A Parisian man called my twenty two year old cousin a whore cause she wore short-shorts and revealing tank top at some tourist site. It didn’t surprise me cause she’s oblivious to anything outside of American mainstream pop culture, and she always wears clothes that expose her body especially her boobs and not because they’re so big she can’t find things that fit. She still doesn’t get what “that guy’s problem” was.

  36. Ky says:

    Everybody has got their knickers in a twist. Natalie is from the conservative East coast. Connecticut, right? She lives part time in LA were her husband is the director of a dance troupe. She’s comparing the two places she lives to each other. LA were it is super common for the rich housewives to spend the whole day in Lululemon and filp flops because at some point they plan to get to a yoga class. Or that’s what they tell themselves. She is not trying to suggest that nobody in any other country wears workout clothes. She just sees the contrast between that and Paris where many of you have confirmed that that sort of thing is frowned upon. And she looks at both these places with the eyes of an outsider.

  37. nicole says:

    She looks stunning in that green dress, love her eyemakeup also.

  38. Petitehirondelle says:

    What She has seen of Paris? Champs-Elysées ? There are wild and different area un Paris. Places more alternative and bohemian but if you stay on clichés and in the most famous places, yes. But saying you are not free and thinking that the rich area of Paris represents France tells me she knows nothing about the country

  39. Tessa says:

    It’s too cold in Northern European cities to wear work out clothes. We wear coats and scarves!
    Plus there is far too much dog poop in Paris for flip flops

  40. mayamae says:

    It’s funny how things have changed in the US. I remember exactly when I noticed someone wearing athletic wear as clothing. It was General Hospital in the 1990s and the character was Brenda. It took years for me to catch on but I have no intentions of going back. If you’re clean and in no danger of exposing breasts, butt, or labia, what’s the big deal? I’d also rather see someone in a pair of flip flops than tottering around in ridiculous five inch wedges.

    I’m from the Chicago suburbs and currently live in the Atlanta suburbs. Women are much more into their appearance here. The majority of people I see have mani/pedis, teeth bleached to a lovely blue tint, artificially tanned skin, and professional highlights. There are also a ton of people with weaves/extensions. I also find there is an obsession with designer purses – even people I know who are struggling paying bills have multiple Coach bags. It was a huge culture shock for me. I’m truly a Midwestern gal, that’s for sure. It’s crazy – I was the most high-maintenance person I knew in Chicaco. It’s a whole new world here.

  41. Elle says:

    Quite the opposite, I think.

    A woman can have an “unconventionally attractive” face and body but dress well and speak well, and in France she can be considered beautiful. In the US, it is all about what does she look like without makeup and without clothes on. I think that’s why youth is so extremely lauded in the US. Natalie has a conventionally attractive face and body so without much effort she would be praised in the US but not so much in France.

  42. Cee says:

    In Buenos Aires only those of certain socioeconomic background wear work out clothes during the day. It’s mainly men from the lower classes, and it’s always Adidas. Sometimes it looks like they’re off to a football match – they just wear the whole kit sans shoes.

    Women do not wear flip flops unless they’re by the pool or at the beach, but we do wear sandals, with or without heels. As to the rest – some women in this city look the same. Same boring, long, dyed hair, skinny jeans, shirts/vests, shoes/converse. Whenever I’m abroad I can ID them a mile away LOL

  43. Luna says:

    I’m not French but I’ve been living in France for ten years. I think the problem is that she’s supposed to be a big Hollywood star. We expected some A list fashion, or at least when she’s meeting the president. I remember seeing her on the news on big opera events and thinking “she’s wearing that?”.
    Is true that people don’t wear yoga pants on the street, I do, nobody cares. Which is the regular French reaction.

  44. European says:

    I mean no offense but yes, we put more effort in our daily fashion in Europe and we don’t wear work out clothes outside gym or home. You might call it judgmental but I call it cultural. I lived for 8 years in the US and I wore things to do grocery or run errands that I would never wear in Europe in the same situation. Sport clothes are just for that. Flip flops are for the beach and the pool.

  45. Sinead says:

    I live in Madrid and you never see people on the streets in tracksuits or yoga pants. Everyone is very well dressed. I’m from Ireland and used to shopping in tracksuits…Ireland is way more relaxed.

  46. jeanpierre says:

    I’m french, born, raised and living in the South. I don’t know Paris that well.
    I think it’s true we French generally care a lot about people’s clothes and appearance. We will look at it, maybe there’s people who will stare, and we will talk about it. Like other posters said, it’s cultural. Most of the time it’s light-hearted but I totally understand how it can come across as rude though.
    The first time in went to London I was amazed at how absolutely nobody cared about the most outrageous outfits. Not a glance, nothing.

    Fashion style in southwest area where I live is pretty much 50 shades of tacky so I don’t have to work it a lot to look classy-ish (with sandals Natalie!). But every time I go to Paris I feel like sh*t. There’s no deny a lot of parisians have style. Even those who dress at the mall. A lot of women are killing it in public transports. Clothes are only a part of it. There’s also the styling and the attitude. Fashion is very diverse there even if everyone mainly goes to the same shops.

    Parisians are not worse than other french people regarding rudeness.

  47. Tough Cookie says:

    “Being sober the whole time is a trip!”

    Can’t wait to share that gem with my AA friends ;)

  48. Demanzia says:

    When your are married to the Director of the Opéra Garnier, Paris, of course, sometimes you have to make an effort and dress up a bit babe!
    And…of course….when you are famous, people judge you. Always. That’s part of the rôle, n’est ce pas?

  49. perplexed says:

    Maybe the French people disliked that jean shorts, turtleneck, and tights ensemble she wore recently as much as the rest of us did.

  50. Kitkatk8 says:

    Oh my word. Who genuinely, honestly, has the time to evaluate and ponder what others wear to and from the gym – and then try to put it in a statement as if represented by an entire country?!? I need a vacation or else I’ve lost my mind. Realize this is a gossip site but truthfully this just seems so flat out boring and exhausting….

    Natalie and partners’ emails from a month or so ago were silly and pretentious it’s hard to expect anything more..:.

  51. laura says:

    I’ve been living in Paris for 3 years now, I can tell you she’s SO wrong. There’s so many people from so many different cultures that everyones dresses the way the want and nobody would even turn their heads if you wear flipflops. They could all care less about what you’re wearing

  52. Granger says:

    This story reminds me of the time Kate Hudson said she was in a restaurant in Paris, drinking wine and eating chocolate cake, and a thin French woman came up to her and said something along the lines of, “Choose the wine or the cake, never both.” Which… okay, probably good advice, but it’s appalling to me that a complete stranger would come up to you in a public place and say that.

    However, Hudson is a celeb, so I would imagine she’s used to being judged in public — and possibly even expects it. Same with Portman. She’s probably so conscious of the fact that people — French or not — recognize and are looking at her that she just assumes they’re judging her. And if the people she associates with in Paris are very wealthy and would never wear flip flops in public, then that’s her reality, and of course she’s going to comment on it.

  53. thaliasghost says:

    You would never wear workout clothes on the street or sandals or shorts or wild colours.” Isn’t it that way in most major European cities?


    Anyway, depends on the circles where you moved. She hobnobbed with the Parisian Elite.

  54. Laura says:

    No way, is she even gone out of her appartment ?
    I live in Paris and I see women with shorts, sandals/ flip flop and colors every day, even in very chic areas (well, not in winter, obviously …). During summer I always wear that, I’ve never felt judged. Find some new friends Natalie !

  55. CharlotteCharlotte says:

    A year ago we moved from a place that was right on the beach, but had a high population of Rockabillies, to a developing area that is very lush and expensive and family friendly. I am still Rockabilly/Pin Up and get largely snubbed by other mums and women in the area, who predominately wear spandex and trainers.

  56. A. Key says:

    If you lived in Paris (jealous of anyone who lives in that beautiful city) and had Natalie Portman’s money, why would you go anywhere in sports clothes and sandals!?!??!!??!?
    Damn, I’d look chic just going to my toilet at home!