How Evan Rachel Wood’s “Westworld” Character Inspired Her to Seek Trauma Therapy
Evan Rachel Wood is a fabulously fearless woman. She’s not afraid to take on Hollywood heavyweights (including director Bernardo Bertolucci and even Ben Affleck) regarding important issues, and she’s brave enough to open up about her own struggles and self-care, including the fact that she recently sought out trauma therapy — in part because of her Westworld character.
Taking the stage at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Boston this week, the Emmy-nominated actress revealed that her portrayal of Dolores on HBO’s Westworld resulted in an incredibly important IRL change. “She’s been abused for about 30 years,” Wood said of her character, a robot meant to entertain guests at a Wild West amusement park. Dolores’ life is undeniably traumatic, but the actress who plays her thinks that she’s a “survivor” who is “not broken,” despite what she’s been through.
“She even has pity on her abusers,” Wood said, adding, “She rises above it, and that gave me strength in real life, and actually helped me come to terms with a lot of my trauma and my repressed memories. It got me to go to trauma therapy and actually deal with things that I hadn’t dealt with at all. So, she’s really changed my life.”
Wood has been open in the past about her mental health struggles. In a speech at the 2017 Human Rights Campaign North Carolina Gala earlier this year, she said she felt “broken and unlovable” before coming out as bisexual. She also opened up to Rolling Stone about her attempted suicide at age 22.
“My biggest challenge I’ve ever overcome was myself,” she said at the Forbes summit. “Nobody held me back more than me, and nobody was meaner to me. I shouldn’t even be here, and I tried not to be a couple of times… [I]t’s really hard to get help, the right kind of help. And it’s hard to even admit to yourself that you need help. And people are so terrified to ask for help.”
She added that her self-care is now focused on self-love, saying, “[I]t was learning how to love myself in all my messy glory — the great things about myself, but also my imperfections, and [to] know that no one’s perfect; we’re always learning, and that’s a good thing. When you make mistakes, it’s just proof you’re trying. It’s like, what are you going to do with the mistake? Are you going to learn from it? How are you going to grow from this? What’s the lesson here? Keep asking yourself questions.”
Has a fictional character ever inspired you to change your life? Let us know @BritandCo.
(Photo via Frazer Harrison/Getty Images + John P. Johnson/HBO)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. These offers are available for a limited time only, so be sure to take advantage of all this goodness while supplies last. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.