Natalie Portman delivered a speech at Harvard University commencement to graduating students on Class Day, giving wise and heartfelt advice on the importance of taking risks, and sharing her own experiences. Watch the full video, which quickly has gone viral.
The 33-year-old Oscar-winning actress graduated from Harvard in 2003. In returning to the school to speak to the graduating seniors, Natalie Portman cited an example from her own life, to encourage students to embrace risks.
She spoke of how unprepared she was prior to portraying the ballerina in ‘Black Swan,’ the role for which she received her Best Actress Oscar. And yet, she did not know just how unprepared she really was to take on the challenging choreography.
She said, “People told me ‘Black Swan’ was an artistic risk, but it didn’t feel like courage or daring to do it. I was so oblivious to my own limitations.” She continued, saying, “The point is, if I had known my own limitations, I never would have taken the risk. And the risk led to one of my greatest personal and professional achievements.”
Summing up, Portman said, “Make use of the fact that you don’t doubt yourself too much right now because, as we get older, we get more realistic. Accept your lack of knowledge and use it as your asset.”
She also spoke about her own experience at Harvard, where she began as a freshman in 1999. She said, “I got in only because I was famous. This is how others viewed me and how I viewed myself.”
And now, years later, returning to the school, advising students, Portman herself is obviously taking her own advice on risk taking. She’s on quite a zenith these days, having just returned from Cannes the movie, ‘The Tale of Love and Darkness,’ which marks her directorial debut had its world premiere; she was also the co-writer and the co-star. And if that were not enough, numbering among future roles for her is none other than Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in “On the Basis of Sex.”
The speech, as the video reveals, was quite well received. Who knows how many are among the graduating class listening as unknowns today, and quite famous in the years to come, having heeded her risk-taking advice.
Watch in its entirety Natalie Portman’s speech at Harvard University Class Day below!