Elisha Cuthbert Recalls Pressure to Pose for Men's Magazines: 'There Was Really No Option Back Then'

Elisha Cuthbert
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'There was really no option back then,' she said.

Elisha Cuthbert is opening up about the pressure she's faced as an actress. In an interview on the Broad Ideas With Rachel Bilson podcast, the 39-year-old actress recalled being pressured to pose for men's magazines such as MaximComplex and FHM as far back as 2003.

"I've been pretty vocal about my sort of, I don't want to say disappointment about being in that whole circus. But there was really no option back then, though," she said. "You were out promoting something. That’s what the [film] studio wanted you to do."

"We kind of ended up in a space at the time where that was really happening," Cuthbert added. "I mean, Halle Berry was doing it, for God’s sake. Jennifer Aniston was doing it... We were probably too young to be subjected to that, and feeling pressured to do that."

Cuthbert noted that studios pushed for young actresses like her to appear in those publications for a reason.

"Those magazines were viewed by 30 million people," she said. "There was no arguing that it was a way to be seen and to promote anything that you were doing at the time."

Over the years, Cuthbert was featured on lists ranking the "Sexiest Women in the World" and the like, culminating with being named TV's Most Beautiful Woman by Maxim in 2013.

"The lists would kind of come out on a sidebar and you'd get a message from your publicist like, 'Oh, you're number three,'" she recalled. "... What was that list? Nowadays that would never be allowed, right?"

Back then, though, it was allowed, meaning that the photos are out there forever. "This is what I have to explain to my kids," Cuthbert said. "This bizarre outfit and hair extensions."

"Even when someone reads my bio, those things come up," she said. "They actually don’t mean anything in regards to me as a person or my career. It's not like I won an Olympic medal. It was some list some random magazine decided to create."

Cuthbert noted that she's all for women being proud of and showing off their body if they so choose, but thinks there are better ways to go about it than appearing in men's magazines.

"The better version of that is Shape magazine or Women's Health. I feel like that's the better avenue to go," she said. "... I feel like there's better ways to filter that than sort of that time of the FHMs. That was so crazy... Living up to these ridiculous standards, it's not reality."