Kirsten Dunst knows a thing or two about the Hollywood biz.
After beginning her career in Tinseltown at the age of three—and making the tough transition from child star to professional actress—the 32-year-old thesp has a unique and firsthand perspective on the often cutthroat entertainment world.
"There are great female roles out there [but] there's only so much out there for all of us," she explains in a new interview with Flaunt magazine. "Everyone has to audition when it comes to certain parts, and women have to the most. I still think it's a boys' club in a lot of ways. And to be a strong female in this industry, you have to be really in touch with your masculine side, too. You have to be a pretty strong lady to survive it. You have to be very confident in yourself."
While Dunst admits she "never leaves The Valley" and tries to avoid the spotlight as much as possible, the actress says it can be hard to separate her personal life from her professional work due to the nature of her job.
"It's hard to keep the professional separate, because it's a very intermixed thing," she confesses. "You do use your life when you're acting; you use everything that you can. But when I'm not working, I stay out of the industry as much as possible."
The Spider-Man star, who is one of the lucky few who discovered her passion at an early age, also takes pride in her lengthy Hollywood career and believes that she truly found her key profession.
"That transition [from a child actor] doesn't happen to many of us. When it does, I think that you're really meant to be doing this," she says. "A lot of people stop or it's too hard to transition. But people don't want to see you as an adult. I'm 32 now—that transition was done for me with [Sofia Coppola's] The Virgin Suicides. That movie helped me go from a little girl to ‘growing up.'"
Perhaps Dunst's nearly 30 years in Tinseltown—and distaste for the spotlight—has what made her so incredibly down-to-Earth. "I think I'm very open and honest," she reveals. "I don't have my acting persona and my normal life. I don't feel like I need to hide anything. Of course things are written about you, you don't have any control over that, that's fine—it's part of being an actor."
Dunst recently found herself on the receiving end of criticism after she shared her thoughts on the subject of gender roles in an interview Harper's Bazaar U.K.
"I feel like the feminine has been a little undervalued," she said. "We all have to get our own jobs and make our own money, but staying at home, nurturing, being the mother, cooking—it's a valuable thing my mom created."
Garrett Hedlund's girlfriend added, "And sometimes, you need your knight in shining armor. I'm sorry. You need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman. That's why relationships work."
No surprise, her remarks were misconstrued and like a pro, Dunst laughed off the criticism.
"I was talking about my mother—obviously I'm a feminist," she clarifies to Flaunt. "It's ridiculous that anyone would think other of me."