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Kirsten Dunst: ‘I didn’t even think to ask for equal pay’

Kirsten Dunst: 'I didn't even think to ask for equal pay'

Her comments come after Olivia Coleman and Taraji P. Henson both called out pay disparities in the industry.

Kirsten Dunst is the latest famous woman to speak up about Hollywood's gender pay gap – and let's just say this conversation is well overdue.

In an interview with BBC News, Kirsten described growing up in a time with “major pay disparity” between herself and her male co-stars – despite having more box office success with films like Jumanji (1995) and Bring It On (2000).

She added, “I was very young, and it just felt like at the time, what do you do? […] I was 17; I was still learning my taste in film. I didn't even think to ask.”

It's not the first time she's called out pay disparities in the entertainment industry. Back in 2021, she told The Independent, “The pay disparity between me and Spider-Man was very extreme,” adding, “I didn’t even think about it. I was just like, ‘Oh yeah, Tobey [Maguire] is playing Spider-Man.’ But you know who was on the cover of the second Spider-Man poster? Spider-Man and ME.”

Kirsten Dunst: 'I didn't even think to ask for equal pay'

Kirsten Dunst plays a war photographer in her new film, Civil War

Murray Close

Her comments come after Olivia Coleman spoke out about ongoing pay disparities for women in Hollywood. During an appearance on The Amanpour Hour, Olivia said, “I’m very aware that if I was Oliver Colman, I’d be earning a fuck of a lot more than I am.”

She added, "Don’t get me started on the pay disparity, but male actors get paid more because they used to say they drew in the audiences.

“And actually, that hasn’t been true for decades, but they still like to use that as a reason to not pay women as much as their male counterparts […] I know of one pay disparity, which is a 12,000% difference.”

Actor Taraji P. Henson has also been vocal on the issue, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I’ve been getting paid, and I’ve been fighting tooth and nail every project to get that same freaking quote [fee].

Kirsten Dunst: 'I didn't even think to ask for equal pay'

Gareth Cattermole

Kirsten Dunst: 'I didn't even think to ask for equal pay'

Michael Buckner

“And it’s a slap in the face when people go, ‘Oh girl, you work all the time. You always working.’ Well, goddam—t, I have to. It’s not because I wish I could do two movies a year and that’s that. I have to work because the math ain’t mathing. And I have bills.”

She further referenced how the gender pay gap specifically harms Black actors. "I’ve been doing this for two decades and sometimes I get tired of fighting because I know what I do is bigger than me. I know that the legacy I leave will affect somebody coming up behind me. My prayer is that I don’t want these Black girls to have the same fights that me and Viola [Davis], Octavia [Spencer], we out here thugging it out.

Otherwise, why am I doing this? For my own vanity? There’s no blessing in that. I’ve tried twice to walk away [from the business]. But I can’t, because if I do, how does that help the ones coming up behind me?”

Kirsten Dunst reflected on her journey, noting that, “Hopefully, the way I carved my path will help other actresses.”

And for those of us who aren't Hollywood actresses, the take-home message is the same: If he does the same job as you, ask him his salary.

For more from Glamour UK's Lucy Morgan, follow her on Instagram @lucyalexxandra.