UGH.

Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Mary J. Blige, and Saoirse Ronan All Accidentally Said “Ugh” at the Same Time While Discussing Sexism in Hollywood

The actresses got together for a roundtable on everything from scrutinizing their on-screen acne to dealing with the wage gap.


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Roundtables and any group interviews in general, really, are often disaster zones of people talking over each other. Even in the Harvey Weinstein era, which has repeatedly proven that speaking out can really create real change—especially when the voices have strength in number and star power—by increasingly opening the floodgates for women (and men) to finally tell their stories of experiencing abuse at the hands of powerful men, speaking out all at once doesn’t seem like the most effective option.

But when Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone, Mary J. Blige,, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, and Saoirse Ronan all got together for a roundtable with the Hollywood Reporter that centered on sexism in Hollywood, it was that very chaos that in fact created quite a happy accident: All of the actresses issued a collective, powerful “ugh” in response to Chastain detailing one of her many experiences encountering the industry’s systemic wage gap—summing up in one exhaled breath what it’s been like to read the news or simply be a woman over the past month and a half.

That sentiment, of course, is not foreign to anyone who isn’t a white man in power—it’s simply grown more pronounced and public as of late. Chastain’s “ugh”-eliciting story actually dates back to 2012, when even after she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for a Best Actress Academy Award for her role in Zero Dark Thirty, she “was sent a lot of scripts where it was a female protagonist, and they wouldn’t do my deal until they knew who the male actor was because they needed to do his deal first and then see what was left over” to offer for her salary.

Those types of battles are still being fought; even Stone, who’s said that her male co-stars have taken pay cuts for her, agreed with Lawrence that she’s been called “difficult” when Lawrence detailed instances in which she “finally made the decision to stand up for myself, and then I went to go to the bathroom at work and one of the producers stopped me and was like, ‘You know, we can hear you on the microphone, you’ve been really unruly.’ Which was not true, but basically my job was threatened because the director said something f—ed up to me and I said, ‘That’s sick, you can’t talk to me like that, and then I was punished, and I got afraid that I wasn’t going to be hired again.”

Jennifer Lawrence’s Style Evolution, From Teen Star to Dior Darling

As a Hollywood newbie, Jennifer Lawrence first proved that she has style by wearing a strapless silver mermaid-styled gown with intricate pleating detail to the 65th Venice Film Festival closing ceremony.

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Wearing her hair in loose waves, the actress looked youthful and flirty as she showed off her killer shape in a fitted strapless midi dress while attending Nylon Magazine’s TV issue launch party in West Hollywood.

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In Beverly Hills at the premiere of The Burning Plain Lawrence opted for a metallic one-shoulder dress, black satin pumps and a bold red lip for a bit of edge.

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Lawrence wore a bold coral shift dress and snakeskin pumps to spice up her style at a beauty launch in New York.

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The actress arrived to the 14th annual Hollywood Awards Gala in Beverly Hills, California, looking fresh-faced in a Grecian-style Thakoon gown.

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Wearing a fitted ombre sequin midi dress, Lawrence looked feminine and sexy while at the 2011 Critics Choice Movie Awards in Los Angeles, California.

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At the 2011 Screen Actor’s Guild Awards in Los Angeles, California, Lawrence wowed the crowd as she showed off her figure in a vivid pink Oscar De La Renta gown.

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An edgier side of Lawrence emerged as she attended the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles wearing a daring Viktor and Rolf dress with mesh cutouts and wave designs.

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She dressed the part of Hollywood’s new Golden Girl at the Los Angeles premiere of The Hunger Games wearing a gold Prabal Gurung gown with side cutouts.

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Lawrence channeled a modern princess in that infamous Dior Couture gown for the 2013 Oscars, where she won Best Actress (and tripped on her way up the stairs to collect the award).

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The superstar’s style took a sexy ans sophisticated turn when she opted for Lanvin’s interpretation of the LBD with side cutouts and an embellished halter neckline at the 2013 Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica, California.

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Lawrence arrived to the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles, California, rocking her stylish new pixie cut and wearing a stunning strapless white-and-black Dior confection.

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At the 2014 Oscars in Hollywood, California, the actress topped best-dressed lists thanks to this red peplum Dior gown.

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Baring side-boob in a Dior couture gown with embellished cutouts, the actress attended The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 UK premiere in London.

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Lawrence strayed away from Dior in a sheer, black Schiaparelli dress to the final premiere of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 in New York.

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The actress emitted classic Hollywood glamour in a red formfitting Dior gown paired with Chopard jewelry at the 73rd Annual Gold Globes in Beverly Hills, California.

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Debuting her new platinum blonde bob, Lawrence looked sensational in a Dior sheer lace gown with a plunging neckline and feather-adorned waistline for the 88th annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California.

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Jennifer Lawrence attends the “Passengers” Paris Photocall at Hotel George V on November 29, 2016 in Paris, France.

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Jennifer Lawrence attends a photocall for their film “Passengers” at Claridge’s Hotel on December 1, 2016 in London, England.

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Jennifer Lawrence poses at the photo call for Columbia Pictures’ “Passengers” at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on December 9, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.

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Jennifer Lawrence arrives at the premiere of Columbia Pictures’ ‘Passengers’ at Regency Village Theatre on December 14, 2016 in Westwood, California.

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Jennifer Lawrence attends the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2017 in Paris, France.

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Jennifer Lawrence attends the ‘mother!’ photo call during the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival at TIFF Bell Lightbox on September 10, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Walter McBride/FilmMagic)

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Jennifer Lawrence attends the ‘Mother!’ UK premiere at Odeon Leicester Square on September 6, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage)

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Jennifer Lawrence attends the French Premiere of “mother!” at Cinema UGC Normandie on September 7, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

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Jennifer Lawrence attends the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival premiere of ‘mother!’ at Princess of Wales Theatre on September 10, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures)

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Jennifer Lawrence attends ‘mother!’ New York Premiere at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)

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It’s important to keep in mind here that even Lawrence, the world’s highest-paid actress in 2015 and 2016, one who can afford not to look at her male co-star’s salary, was subject to being called “difficult and a nightmare”; imagine, then, what it might be like for those who aren’t A-listers to even think of standing up for themselves. “I think a lot of people aren’t coming forward because they’re afraid they’re not going to work again. You need to be able to say, ‘This is wrong’ and have somebody do something about it instead of saying, ‘Oh, it’s wrong? Well, you’re fired,'” Lawrence continued.

Stone didn’t get specific about her experiences, describing herself as someone “who holds in a lot and gets really nervous to speak” and pointing out that “we have to recognize that there are so many who haven’t told their stories yet, who aren’t comfortable to share.” (Case in point: Gwyneth Paltrow was repeatedly criticized for not calling out Weinstein, before she came out with her own story of going through the trauma of his abuse.) But Stone, who recently starred as the feminist sports hero Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes, did say that it was “very tough” to realize how “depressingly relevant” the 44-year-old facts in the film were—though she did concede that some strides have been made.

“Women can get their own credit card without a male signing for it, which you couldn’t in 1973. And so obviously we have our own credit cards now, which is great, and we’re really, really thankful,” she said with a laugh.

Strength of a Woman: Mary J. Blige Photographed By Carrie Mae Weems

Mary J. Blige wears an Alberta Ferretti cape; Joseph coat; Djula earrings; vintage crown from Early Halloween, New York.

Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco.

Mary J. Blige wears an Alberta Ferretti cape; Joseph coat; Djula earrings; vintage crown from Early Halloween, New York.

Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco.

Pologeorgis coat; Gucci jacket; Fred Leighton tiara and necklace; stylist’s own earrings.

Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco. Hair by Kim Kimble for Kimble Hair Care Systems at 
SixK.LA; makeup by D’Andre Michael for U.G.L.Y. Girl 
Cosmetics. Set design by Kadu Lennox at Frank Reps. Produced by Carly Day at Rosco Production; Production Coordinator: Marie Robinson at Rosco Production; retouching by silhouette studio; Lighting Director: Rob Kassabian at Honey Artists; Photography Assistants: James Wang, Pamela Vander Zwan, Adger Cowans; Lighting Assistant: David Schinman; Gaffer: Armando Reyes; Fashion Assistants: EJ Briones, nicholas eftaxias; Tailor: Christy Rilling; Set Design Coordinator: Joanna Seitz; Production Assistants: Will Foster, Alejandro Armas, Carl Miller; Special thanks to Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter, Skylight Studios, Pier59 Locations.

Balmain dress; Jacob & Co. earrings; Munnu the Gem Palace ring.

Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco.

Oscar de la Renta dress; Djula earrings; (right hand, top) Vhernier ring; David Webb rings. Carrie Mae Weems wears her own clothing and jewelry.

First column from top: Alberta Ferretti cape; Joseph coat. Balmain dress. Third column: Oscar de la Renta dress. Tom Ford dress. Fifth column: Oscar de la Renta dress. Oscar de la Renta dress; Tom Ford coat.

Photographs by Carrie Mae Weems; Styled by Styled by Paul Cavaco.
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As this photo of Selena Gomez and Adam Sandler at a premiere will forever illustrate, the industry has also presented women with the hurdle of heightened expectations for their appearances—another thing that the group could also unfortunately agree on. (Though the conversation centered around their appearances onscreen, Chastain took care to add that she doesn’t “love the way I look normally.”) “It’s so hard because the first time I watch anything, I’m just watching my double chin and my acne, and I’m bloated,” Lawrence said, to which Chastain responded, “Are you crazy?”

“Am I the only one?” Lawrence asked. “No, I’m the same way,” Janney responded. “For I, Tonya, I got to do this old-age makeup, and I was like three hours in this makeup, and then I saw myself and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is fan­tastic. I don’t have to worry about my jowls.’ It was so freeing to go and work on a part that I didn’t care what I looked like. Even seeing it, I was like, ‘Oh, god, I can watch myself because I look so awful.'”

The conversation also got to sexual assault, of course, as it’s become clearer and clearer that women are systemically abused in Hollywood, which seems not to have been news to any members of the roundtable. Mary J. Blige said she in fact started dressing as a tomboy when she started her career to shield herself from the abuse she faced when she was younger. And while the rest seemed to have begrudgingly accepted sexism as a fact, it seems like no mistake that Ronan, who’s the youngest of the bunch at 23, appeared to have the rawest outrage: “The really disappointing thing about all this is that [journalists and others in Hollywood] had all of this s— on all of these men and women for the last few years, but they hadn’t done anything with it. It’s just been swept under the carpet,” she said.

In fact, it’s the least famous, youngest, and therefore perhaps least jaded woman in the story who puts it best. Chastain recalled how Aaron Sorkin, who’s directing her upcoming film Molly’s Game, told her that he told his 16-year-old daughter, Roxy, “Listen, when you go into the workforce, if a guy grabs you or does something with you, you can scream, you can fight back.” In response, Chastain continued, Roxy “turned to him and said, ‘Dad, why are you teaching me to defend myself and not teaching those guys not to be creeps?'”

“The onus isn’t on women,” Chastain added. “Society has a way of blaming victims: You didn’t come out soon enough or you’re not asking for enough money. But the onus is on others not to abuse their power.”

Related: Mary J. Blige and Carrie Mae Weems in Conversation: On Race, Women, Music and the Future

Emma Stone on How She Sucked Her Thumb Until She Was 11 Years Old: