Mischa Barton has opened up about being sexualized as a young actress and how her roles impacted the way she viewed her virginity.
The O.C. actress – who famously played Marissa Cooper – spoke candidly about her first time in a candid essay for Harper’s Bazaar UK as she recalled some of the downfalls of her rise to fame.
The 35-year-old began: ‘My film debut, “Lawn Dogs”, explored themes of child molestation, and – while the crew did everything to ensure that I wasn’t exposed to the realities of what all that meant – when I did press for the film, it became clear that it was very mature content.
‘Two years later, I did “Pups” with Burt Reynolds. Lead roles in coming-of-age films are always directly tied to sex and sexuality, and this was a prime example.’
‘It was for “Pups” that I had my first kiss on screen and in real life, in front of an entire crew,’ she recalled. ‘My character had her first period in one scene, something I hadn’t even experienced in life yet. The movie blew up in Asia, and I became a strange sex symbol over there. I was 13.’
Mischa then opened up about the pressure she later felt to have sex for the first time after finding fame on The OC.
She explained: ‘Even being a virgin at the time in that context made me feel like a fraud. Here, I was playing a confident character [in The O.C.] who was fast and loose and yet I was still a virgin.
‘The kids in the show were quintessential rich, privileged American teenagers drinking, taking drugs, and of course having sex. I knew it was important to get this thing – my virginity – that was looming over me, the elephant in the room if you will, out of the way.’
The Hills: New Beginning star continued: ‘I started to really worry that I couldn’t play this character if I didn’t hurry up and mature a little.
‘Did I ever feel pressured to have sex with someone? Well, after being pursued by older men in their 30s, I eventually did the deed.’
Mischa’s essay comes after she revealed her ‘complicated’ exit from the show was allegedly because she was bullied behind the scenes.
The OC ran for four seasons from 2003 until 2007.Original article published here.