Beauty & Brain: Natalie Portman

Her real surname is Hershlag and she is the 2011 Oscar’s Best Actress for her lead role in the psychological thriller film, Black Swan. She appeared in a number of romantic-comedy films and played Amidala in Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. She also held a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Harvard University.

Who is this beautiful girl? It’s none other than Natalie Portman.

Born on the ninth of July 1981 at Jerusalem Israel, Portman and her family moved to the United States and became a dual citizen years after. Avner, her father, is a fertility expert while her mother, Shelley, is a housewife but also works as an agent for her husband.

Portman has learned to speak Hebrew upon attending an elementary school for the Jews. A good and smart student at heart, she chose to reduce her acting offers for four years to give more attention in her studies. She completed her degree in psychology in 2003.

“I’m going to college. I don’t care if it ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”

During her college days, she co-authored and able to publish various research papers. Two of her notable works were a critical essay about Isrealis and Palestinians and a comprehensive study on memory “Frontal Lobe Activation During Object Permanence.”

While studying, Portman still played minor roles in Zoolander and Cold Mountain. She still accepted the Amidala-role for Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones in 2002. This was the only film where she played a major role.

Portman gave priority in making independent films in 2004. In fact, her performance as Alice Ayres in Closer earned her a win and a nomination for Supporting Actress in Golden Globe and Academy Award, respectively. In 2005, Portman became a part of a highest grossing film as Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith finished a gross revenue of more than $380 million in US alone.

“I would never say someone else is bad because they do something, but for myself, I’m kind of conservative. I’ve never tried smoking, I don’t drink, I’ve never tried any drugs. I don’t condemn people who do; I’ve just never wanted to. I don’t really like high-school parties. My closest friends are very straight, compared with a lot of other kids. It’s definitely odd”

V for Vendetta showed a different side of Portman as she took a role of a young and controversial woman. The story of the movie was heavy and it required her to shave her head. Gifted with the drive and motivation to achieve something so valuable, Portman also fulfilled her ambition to direct a short movie, which entitled Eve.

A couple of years after that, Portman took a role of an emotionally-disturbed ballerina, which is highly-applauded by the critics worldwide. The movie is entitled Black Swan and it is directed by Darren Aronofsky.

Portman was never denied of a Best Actress win in numerous award ceremonies as she received a total of 23 trophies for the said role including Oscars, Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe. During the production of Black Swan, Portman began dating the film’s choreographer (Benjamin Millepied). They are now expecting their first child due in summer of 2011.

“When you get older, you realize it’s a lot less about your place in the world but your place in you. It’s not how everyone views you, but how you view yourself”

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One thought on “Beauty & Brain: Natalie Portman

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