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Scarlett Johansson talks being 'hyper-sexualized': 'I kind of became objectified and pigeonholed'

Scarlett Johansson spoke candidly about being perceived as older than she really was on the "Armchair Expert" podcast with Dax Shepard, saying she was "pigeonholed" and "hyper-sexualized"

She has what the host of "Armchair Expert," Dax Shepard, calls ‘The X Factor' - an inherent likability that cannot be explicitly described.

Scarlett Johansson is flattered by the assertion, but explains that the perception of her by the public is often misconstrued. 

"I kind of became objectified and pigeonholed in this way where I felt like I wasn’t getting offers for work for things that I wanted to do," she told Shepard. "But I remember thinking to myself, 'I think people think I'm like, 40 years old.'"

Now 37, "The Outset" skincare founder described that being categorized as older "stopped being something that was desirable and something that I was fighting against."


Appearing in her first movie at just the age of nine, Johansson recalls growing up and immediately being exposed to things that did not feel appropriate. 

The actress says she "definitely was in different situations that were not age appropriate," but that her "mom was really good about protecting" her while she was under the age of 18.

"Now it's like I see younger actors who are in their twenties - it feels like they’re allowed to be all these different things, like they can play all different things…we're not even allowed to really pigeonhole actors anymore, thankfully, she said."

Shepard suggested a modern-day example would be former Disney Channel-turned-"Euphoria" star Zendaya, to which Johansson said, "That's a great example."

However, she expanded and noted that Florence Pugh is another example. "She works in all different genres, and you see all these different colors in her paint box."

Johansson says her situation was different. "I think everybody thought I was older and that I'd been doing it [acting] for a long time, and then I got kind of pigeonholed into this weird hyper-sexualized thing. I felt like it was over, kind of….That's the kind of career you have, these are the roles you've played, and I was like, ‘This is it.’"


Johansson, who is now married to "Saturday Night Live's" Colin Jost, also attributed her grown-up appearance to being married at a young age, and having had experienced a lot of life up to that point. 

"I got married when I was 23, so I got married when I was really young, and by that point, I felt like I was 33."

The Oscar-nominated actress has been married three times. Her first marriage was to actor Ryan Reynolds from 2008 through 2011, followed by Romain Dauriac, with whom she shares her daughter Rose. In 2020, she married Jost and they have a son named Cosmo together

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