Natalie Portman cradles daughter at LA Ladies's March

Eva Longoria Constance Wu and Natalie Portman speak onstage at 2018 Women's March Los Angeles at Pershing Square

In a stirring speech Saturday at the Women's March in Los Angeles, Natalie Portman opened up about how she was overtly sexualized after the release of her first film.

Portman recalled how her breakout role at age 12 in the 1994 film "The Professional" led to an uncomfortable focus being put on her sexuality, including receiving a "fan mail" letter that described a rape fantasy, film reviewers discussing her breast size and a radio station doing a public countdown to her 18th birthday when an adult could legally have sex with her. She said that she understood very quickly that if she expresses herself sexually she would feel unsafe even as a 13-year-old. "I wanted to cover my body and to restrain my appearance and my work so as to send my own particular message to the world that I'm somebody deserving of security and regard. The response to my expression, from small comments about my body to more threatening deliberate statements, served to control my behavior through an environment of sexual terrorism".

Portman, 36, said she rejected movie roles including a kissing scene, began to dress in an "elegant" style, and built a reputation as a "prudish, conservative, nerdy, serious" young woman "in an attempt to feel that my body was safe and that my voice would be listened to".

The marches were held one year after thousands of women donning pink hats, hit the streets of Washington to protest against President Donald Trump whose outlook on women enraged the fraternity and whose policies were feared to undermine women's rights.

Also in November, she told the Vulture Festival LA that she has had "discrimination or harassment on nearly everything I've ever worked on in some way".

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Ms Portman applauded the marchers who attended the protest as she opened the event while Eva Longoria and Constance Wu stood by her side.

Viola Davis, another strong voice behind the need to change said: "I'm here today saying that no one and nothing can be great unless it cost you something". You told the world that time's up on silence. Several marches were held during the weekend in various cities.

Meanwhile, Trump on Saturday tweeted that it was a "perfect day" for women to march to celebrate the "economic success and wealth creation" that's happened during his first year in office.

Also at the LA rally were Scarlett Johansson, Lesley Ann Warren, Francesca Eastwood with her mother Frances Fisher and Marcia Gay Harden. "It gives me hope that we are moving toward a place where our sense of equality can truly come from within ourselves".

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