Having been in the public eye for decades, Scarlett Johansson seemingly knows a thing or two about what it’s like to have all eyes on her. But the 37-year-old admits she hasn’t always been extremely comfortable in her own skin during a candid new interview with The Cut.
“We’re all so critical of ourselves,” she told the publication. “And it seems even more so now because everybody’s always constantly looking at photographs of themselves, which is a phenomenon that’s maybe ten years old,” she continued, referring to the current selfie and social media culture.
“Now, you can take a picture of yourself and zoom in and analyze it,” she explained. “It’s difficult to not be overly critical of ourselves and others.” (See: Bethenny Frankel Just Made an Important Point About Filtered Photos On Instagram)
That same obsession caused by the ability to see yourself in almost too much detail in digital images goes hand-in-hand with Johansson’s biggest beauty regret, as she revealed to The Cut. “I wish I didn’t pick my skin so much when I was younger, I could’ve avoided so much scarring and drama,” she said in the recent interview. “It was really challenging for me to get over that compulsive need to touch my face a lot or pick my skin.”
Even though it might be a natural urge to pick at a zit or a scab from time to time, for some people, a compulsive skin-picking habit can become a serious long-term struggle. Dermatillomania (aka excoriation or skin-picking disorder) is a recognized mental disorder similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and it can cause “significant distress” to those who suffer, according to the International OCD Foundation. It involves “repeated picking at one’s own skin, resulting in skin blemishes, scars, or lesions,” Terri Bacow, Ph.D., New York City-based psychologist and author of Goodbye Anxiety, previously told Shape.
Although the Black Widow star didn’t specify whether or not she struggled with dermatillomania specifically, she did share what helped her kick her skin-picking habit. It took a little tough love from her older sister, she explained. “Finally, my sister told me to throw away the magnifying mirror,” recalled Johansson.
She remarked, ‘No one is scrutinizing your pores to such a degree, and it poses a risk.’ It constituted the most straightforward guidance but sincerely resonated with me, particularly since I tend to become fixated on my skin.
Johansson appears to have made significant progress in her ability to feel self-assured, both in private and in the public eye. “I don’t believe [being photographed in public is] ever going to be something I’m completely comfortable with, but I’ve improved at it as I’ve matured,” she shared. “I used to experience intense terror on the red carpet. I felt as though I was having a cardiac arrest.”
Another area in which she has developed over the years? “As I’ve grown older, I attempt to be more lenient towards the way I perceive myself,” she informed the publication. Now, she perceives the “abstract” concept of beauty as something deeper than appearing attractive in a photograph or magnifying mirror. “Beauty is this elusive attribute that arises from being at ease in your own skin,” she concluded.
While most individuals may never find themselves under the glaring spotlight of a red carpet like Johansson, many can certainly relate to the desire to closely examine and obsess over perceived “imperfections.” Hopefully, admirers can take inspiration from the actress and be a little gentler with themselves, even during the challenging moments.
Thanks for your feedback!