Olivia Munn Opens Up About Struggling With 'Perception vs. Reality' in Hollywood (Exclusive)

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Olivia Munn
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Olivia Munn is getting candid about the struggles of "perception vs. reality" in Hollywood.

The actress has had her fair share of time in the spotlight and knows how easy it is to get caught up in the industry and not look after oneself.

"What I have probably struggled with more is perception versus reality," Munn, 41, tells ET's Matt Cohen while promoting her new film, The Gateway. "There's a lot of people who see you one way and no matter how much good you try to do in the world, or no matter who you are or what your friends know of you, there is a perception that is put onto you and that does become your reality in some ways."

As for self-care and healing, she tries her best to protect herself from what other people think of her.

"The mental health aspect is probably the most important because we think about getting your facials or getting your hair done," she continues, explaining that during tough times her friends will suggest a spa day. "And yeah it does make you feel better, but truly what really needs a lot of care is how do you take care of your own heart and your mind?"

"That's something you have to constantly do over and over. But when you have a really strong sense of self you really try to lean on that, allow that to take over and any doubt that is cast on you from anything in the world," she adds, noting that the opposite is also true. "Sometimes when people say too many good things about you, you feel like you can’t live up to that too…Just being in this business in general, it's not for the faint of heart."

Munn, meanwhile, takes on a whole new reality as a single mother in The Gateway. The drama stars Shea Whigham as Parker, a tortured social worker who finds himself fighting to protect a client, Dahlia (Munn), after her husband, Mike, is released on parole. Returning to work for a powerful crime boss (Frank Grillo), Mike hatches a plan to steal a drug stash that puts the lives of Dahlia and their young daughter in danger.

While she didn't ask her mother for advice when taking on the role, Munn admits, "I probably should have because my mom is very tough and very strong."

"My mother is an immigrant and she came here the day the war ended in Vietnam," she explains. "Watching her growing up, I know that she had a lot of anxiety and stress. But a big part of living and surviving was keeping up appearances. She had a lot of children and had to make sure that we were fed, go to school, do our homework all that stuff and she was so secondary…When you look back on The Gateway and see what was going on with Dahlia, there was kind of a same fear and anxiety that was going on in her life and having to keep up appearances so her daughter was not taken away…This film is watching somebody struggle so much. But I try so hard to appear like she's not."

As for working alongside Whigham, Munn couldn't have asked for a better co-star, expressing, "Shea and I, it's like we were family right away. And he was such a great captain too. He carries this movie."

"But we put so much love into this movie and we love the director so much and we all want to show up to support it," she adds. "When we finish filming that is not the end of the movie, you know. We want people to see it, we want people to enjoy, we want that hard work to just be witnessed by people."

The Gateway is now in select theaters and digital on Sept. 3.

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