Megan Fox: ‘I was just stranded in open water on my own for so long’

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I think a lot of things can be true all at once about Megan Fox, and it’s okay to admit that. Megan was victimized by gross, powerful men like Michael Bay AND she misrepresented some of things that happened to her. Megan Fox didn’t deserve to be thrown out of Hollywood for years because “she wouldn’t play the game” AND she was in a self-defeating spiral in the press, actively trying to get fired. Megan can be an imperfect victim, she can be a victim who has trouble verbalizing what happened to her, and she can also be a person with a history of talking absolute bullsh-t in interviews. Megan was interviewed by Refinery29 about the renewed interest in her life and career with our 2020 feminist/MeToo eyes. Some highlights:

She recently watched one of her old films on TV: She thought, “‘This is not that bad. This isn’t Scorsese or a Francis Ford Coppola masterpiece, but it’s not bad. I’m not bad in it.’ I started getting really angry. I was like, F–k that, why did I live for a decade thinking that I was sh-t at something when I was actually pretty decent at it? That led to this realization that I’d been in a self-imposed prison for so much of my life. I’m not living my life with fear anymore. I’m changing everything that’s not right and moving forward with passion and confidence, and living with excitement for my life.”

What she thinks about the re-examination of her life & career: “I think there’s always a little bit of that of course. At the time, I would have appreciated some support; I was just stranded in open water on my own for so long. However, that built up so much strength. To have to go through a challenge like that, the resiliency that I have and the ability to survive really negative things with no support from outside forces made me a better person. So, I don’t regret it. Of course I look back and think — it would have been nice if any of you had seen this at that time that there was a bandwagon of absolute toxicity being spewed at me for years. But I appreciate the reversal of it. The culture is changing and society is changing…”

Whether she gravitates towards different roles now: “I don’t have to change how I look for roles. My vibration changed, so the roles that are coming to me are different. I sent out into the universe that I transcended to a new stage, so now all the scripts that are coming in for me are more elevated. They are different; they carry more gravity. I’m excited about that. I feel really comfortable with the space I’m in right now.”

Whether she thinks it would be different for her if she was an ingenue today: “I don’t know. Because of social media, people have more control. They can put their own narrative out on their own pages, which I didn’t have. But outside of your own social media, today still, it does lie in the hands of the journalists. If we go back through my Rolling Stone interviews and anything I did for Vanity Fair — any of these big publications — I was always an eloquent speaker, I was always a thoughtful person, I had things to say. I wasn’t shallow, I wasn’t vapid, I wasn’t vain, I was none of those things, and still the image was manipulated by the people who were putting out the soundbites. To a degree, that’s still the same. There’s so much media, there’s so much news, constantly people are being bombarded with it. Who sits and reads an entire interview?”

Whether she believes people would have been more receptive today if she had given that infamous Wonderland interview about Michael Bay: “It’s tricky because yes, people are more receptive to the topic. But even how I was speaking about it then, the quote in its entirety, it was almost too flippant. Somehow, I would have been villainized in the telling of that story even today. I wasn’t telling it in a way where I was like, Look, I’ve been wounded by this and I need you to hear it. It was more like, This happens on-set, and I followed it up by saying he’s actually so charming outside of set, which I would also have been crucified for, because it’s like, why are you defending somebody that we perceive as abusing you? It’s a very complicated thing if we’re dealing with just what I said in that interview. I don’t know that it would hold up well. The idea yes, but I would have had to approach it and deliver it in a different way. Everybody’s looking for a reason to be offended. I would have pissed off a bunch of people [no matter what].”

Advice to young women in Hollywood today: “It’s so tricky because I question what is the industry anymore? Everybody with an Instagram page is a celebrity. Back during the Transformers craze, there were only a handful of actors. Hollywood was small. Now, you go to a GQ Man of the Year party and there’s thousands of people there, I don’t even know who they are — they’re all influencers or have some kind of Instagram following, so now they’re famous. My advice, which is not great advice because it goes against what everyone else will tell you, is: you have to be removed to a certain degree. You cannot be on social media all the time, checking your likes and your comments….That’s not a north star. That’s the devil. “

[From Refinery29]

The one thing I’ll nitpick here is this: “I was always an eloquent speaker, I was always a thoughtful person, I had things to say. I wasn’t shallow, I wasn’t vapid, I wasn’t vain, I was none of those things, and still the image was manipulated by the people who were putting out the soundbites…” No, that’s not what happened. I was covering her promotional blitzes around then – 2009-2011 – and while she wasn’t dumb as a rock, she often came across as vapid and trying too hard to seem like a sexpot guy’s girl. I mean, she internalized the patriarchy, as many women and girls do, and she played it up for effect and for attention. But… say that. Don’t say “it’s all journalism’s fault, I can’t believe they quoted me accurately!”

Also: the reason she’s getting offered different kinds of roles now is because she’s aged out of the ingenue roles. She’s a 34-year-old mother of three. Of course she’s getting offered different roles.

Australian premiere of 'Transformers'

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.

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33 Responses to “Megan Fox: ‘I was just stranded in open water on my own for so long’”

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  1. Grant says:

    Maybe I’m in the minority but I actually think she is a very skilled comedic actress. She was great in Jennifer’s Body and on New Girl and I would love her to have something of a career renaissance.

    • Lady Baden-Baden says:

      Agreed @Grant. She has great comic timing.

    • Teebee says:

      I agree too. Three performances stick out in my mind: Jennifer’s body, Friends with Kids, and This is 40. I loved it when she was on screen, and though she certainly played up her looks, her characters still had a lot of heart…

    • Sass says:

      I agree. I always stayed away from her, thought she was shallow and did movies I wasn’t interested in. Dreaded when I found out she had been cast in New Girl – and she blew me away. I was SO impressed. She should definitely do more comedy, she’s hilarious.

  2. Ashley says:

    On New Girl, she had amazing comic timing, and I think she is a much better actress than people were giving her credit for. I think she truly bought into how she was being sold, the internalised misogyny. That’s hard to dig oneself out of, and I have high hopes for her. I just hope her rebound, Kelly, is short term. She needs to be herself, by herself, first.

  3. jferber says:

    I agree with your opening paragraph. Yes, all these things can be true at once. She does look fantastic and I hope she’s enjoying her young lover and being a mom to her three adorable little boys.

  4. S says:

    I enjoyed her documentary series. She came off well in it and it was interesting over all.

  5. Katie says:

    I’ve been reading news about her since Transformers, she was in fact continually misrepresented, I could not understand why people kept saying she was dumb or said something wrong if when you look at the context it was fine. I remember she once talked about the press not getting her sarcastic comments, like she said something that was a joke and they just ran with it. she’s not a great actor or the smartest person, but she’s a solid average, she just got the short end of the stick for some reason, maybe because she fit the stereotype of the red hot sex-crazed girl and that stereotype had to be dumb, make dumb choices, and be all over the place, cause otherwise the fantasy of any guy possibly being with her would be ruined – a somewhat smart girl would be too picky to fit that image. just imho

    • Redder says:

      Completely agree. She’s actually pretty articulate, and was inaccurately Misrepresented in the majority of her interviews. She got the short end of the stick because she was phased out by executives for speaking up, and her male audience didn’t care what happened to her, she was just a face/body to look at. Women hated her for being attractive and sexual, and speaking out about Hollywood issues, which sounded “ungrateful”. Misogyny and internalized misogyny were such huge factors for her career failure. I think she’s hilarious and I’m glad she’s finding her footing again.

  6. Chris says:

    I think men in Hollywood chewed her up and spit her back out at a young age and it did some damage. She was young when she started dating Brian Austin green. MichaeI bay really exploited her. She can definitely be an imperfect victim who internalized misogyny, but come on, the media and general public also exploited her as the “dumb hot chick” stereotype. A lot of actors aren’t that bright and eloquent in the traditional sense, they don’t need to be. Isn’t there a clip of a late night host laughing at her story of her creepy audition for Michael bay when she was underage? The idea that we weren’t all somewhat complicit is rewriting history. Jennifer Lawrence is probably the more modern equivalent and while some people are still gross about her, we’re a little more self aware as a society. She’s not treated how megan was and I wouldn’t call her bright (honestly not a slam against her).

    I really like Jennifer’s Body and thought she did well in it. She’s a more compelling actress than we give her credit for and she’s at least better than most of nepotism Hollywood actors right now.

    This comes off as me being a big megan stan, but other than looking how our pop culture mistreated her in retrospect, I barely pay attention to her now.

    • emu says:

      Yes everyone is complicit. It was a different time in the long long ago, 2009. Actors, the media, late night, wokeness.. almost everything was different. And basically the same story was put on all the young stars – lots of pressure to be sexpots.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Definitely, and that’s true about the treatment of so many women and underage girls. It’s always easier to frame patriarchy as something the young bad girls are internalizing, because that’s how we’re encouraged to have ‘self-respect’. It can also help us justify things that shouldn’t have happened, and should not still be happening to anyone.

      It’s harder and can even be painful for us more Wholesome liberals to acknowledge how we internalize and play up patriarchy for another kind of attention (‘respect’ or profit), or to put other girls/women in their place. It’s not always easy to apologize for our treatment of society’s ‘fast girls’. We sometimes get stuck on seeing ourselves as a sort of happy medium between them and the conservatives, and expect nothing but gratitude. But we’re all somewhat complicit, and it’s important to be able to acknowledge that because it’s the only way we can really do better. It was kind of touching to see random places like Grazia daily and Highsnobiety sincerely apologize for their misogyny last month after Emily Ratajkowski exposed the man who sexually assaulted her. It’s not really about trying to destroy someone over a mistake, contrary to popular anti-pc belief.

  7. Lemons says:

    I haven’t followed Megan that closely, but when I did read about her, I did get Emily Rtazljwski vibes. Smug. She said some negative things about her past films, the films that put her on the map which I thought was a dumb move since it wasn’t like she was getting picked up for any other blockbusters or genres.

    • Lowrider says:

      Smug is the right word. I like her but she she comes off kind of self righteous.

    • Jenn says:

      I really recommend Emily Ratajkowski’s essay that was published in New York Magazine last month. It’s a self-portrait of sorts, but it’s also about young women being denied “narrative autonomy” as well as physical autonomy. (Ratajkowski is a veeeery skilled writer, it turns out.)

      • Jules says:

        And I recommend reading Haley Nahman’s thought piece about Emily’s essay, it’s much more nuanced and requires some deeper critical thinking.

    • Sigmund says:

      I mean, she’s a wealthy white woman. I’m not surprised she’s smug. She can still be a victim of misogyny. Not justifying her smugness or saying it’s okay, just putting it out there that victims don’t always fit one neat category.

  8. Sorella says:

    I thought she also lost jobs because she altered her looks so much and looked like a blow up doll at one point. She was good in New Girl and I think that is the direction she should go in – a good TV show. At 34 she is aging out of Hollywood blockbusters and there are way to many actresses in her age group with better acting chops and even many of them are going to TV.

    I also think she changes the narrative to suit her – but many in Hollyweird do that!.

    • emu says:

      Once you look too Hollywood it’s hard to get roles when you’re supposed to look like a normal person!

  9. Ni says:

    She’s believes in some woo nonsense but that doesn’t negate her trailblazing the #metoo movement by outing Michael Bay. We treated her badly. She didnt deserve it. In retrospect, she was courageous. She really was mocked by everybody. How dare she be stunning and also want control.over her own body? The audacity to want to be treated well after turning everybody on. We were jealous and mean and misogynistic. I’m glad that it has turned around for her and that we have moved forward as a society enough to recognize that she was right on this one.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      “We treated her badly. She didnt deserve it. In retrospect, she was courageous….How dare she be stunning and also want control.over her own body? The audacity to want to be treated well after turning everybody on.”

      +1000. A lot of times that is the attitude toward girls. I don’t remember much of what Megan Fox said during that era. Some of it probably was not great. But it’s also a little hard to believe that it’s always a case of immodest women being self-righteous and smug. How much of it is them being truly smug, and how much of it is the fact that both men and women dislike the idea of being told, “Watch how you treat me,” by some th*ts? Could the truth be somewhere in between? Regardless of a woman’s socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or anything else, it’s been decided that a female has already forfited her right to basic respect right there, just by not wanting to be the wholesome modest girl. This doesn’t mean some of them can’t ever really be smug or other things. But they’re already seen as asking for something they don’t deserve- something that’s supposed to be reserved only for (especially male) survivors of homophobia and ‘classy’ survivors of misogyny. This can affect the standards we hold them to, and how quick we are to tone-police them.

  10. Stef says:

    I’ve always liked her and enjoy her acting. She was great on New Girl and This is 40. She’s stunningly beautiful and an interesting person. I just hope she allows herself to age gracefully and not tweak her gorgeous face.

    I hope she gets the career comeback she deserves.

  11. emu says:

    Haha you know, I would dislike her in person probably, but I enjoy the talk of sending the vibrations out there and trying at least to pretend to be introspective. Best advice for sure is don’t live on social media.

  12. candy says:

    I’m around her age I am not informed on what happened to her back in 2009 and I avoided the transformers like the plague. I am sure she was victimized, but the internalized patriarchy with her was quite obvious and uninspiring to me at that time. I remember how she was being compared to Angelina Jolie, which I disagreed with. She’d had so much obvious work done to me it seemed she wasn’t trying to be a serious actress. You need to be able to have varied and unique facial expressions and she looks like a doll made of plastic. Between her divorce and parading around with that strung out looking rocker dude, her life seems too messy to stage a come back.

    • Jules says:

      Agreed. Sounds like she got sold out AND she sold herself out too. Both things can be true, we really need to stop with the victimization pity party.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        If a person isn’t careful though, their reactions to discussions about a need to treat people better become pity parties themselves. Sometimes, we’re not actually all that funny, or above the mainstream media, or ‘deconditioned’, or cynical, or nuanced, or just too critical and logical a thinker, or other flattering adjectives we might use to excuse things said by ourselves or others. We just feel victimized the minute it seems like we can’t always act like the Perez Hiltons or Piers Morgans of the world, even if we’ve criticized these people at some point. There can be bitterness about where the concern is going.

      • Mette says:

        @otaku fairy your performative feminism Is exhausting and is going out with the rest of 2020

      • Otaku fairy says:

        Yep. 💤

  13. LandoLando says:

    I’ve always liked Megan and never thought she was dumb. She doesn’t speak like she has a strong academic background but she seems intelligent and street wise. Her Ancient Aliens and other quirky stuff she’s said just makes me like her a bit more as I agree we’re totally being visited!

    • Jules says:

      Oh no, please don’t use Ancient Aliens as a credible source. Yes it’s ridiculous to believe we are the only intelligent beings out there, but there are way more legit and credible sources of info than her trashy show.

      • LandoLando says:

        Um, please go “oh no, please” yourself! You just assumed I haven’t read / been exposed to everything from Leslie Kean, Budd Hopkins, and John Mack to Richard Dolan and The Disclosure Project?! Total UAP nerd here. Megan is a fan of AA; I’m not but I find her openness about being a fan of the show funny and honest.

      • Jules says:

        AA mixes truth with lies, you need to keep digging for more legit sources.