Jennifer Aniston is done caring about other people’s opinions—and she wishes she’d stopped being so concerned with what people think much earlier on in her journey to Hollywood icon status.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday, Aniston discussed her decades-long career as an actress and producer.
Asked what the one lesson she wished she had learned earlier in her career, the Friends star responded: “Not to give a sh*t about what people think.”
“People love to think a lot of things about me,” she added.
Aniston told the WSJ that worrying about other people’s perceptions of her used to influence the way she would advocate for herself.
“There was a time in my world, my career, where I realized it’s not being aggressive or combative or bitchy or emotional to stand up for what you deserve and what you want,” she said. “It’s a tough muscle to build. And also be loved and respected. It’s hard to achieve.”
Aniston’s battle in a male-dominated world
Back in 2001, Aniston co-founded production company Plan B Entertainment with her then-husband Brad Pitt and producers Kristin Hahn and Brad Grey. Aniston parted ways with the firm—whose credits include The Departed, World War Z and Moonlight—after her divorce from Pitt in 2005.
During her time there, she said she had to fight to be taken seriously in a male-dominated environment.
“Talk about a male-female situation,” she told the WSJ. “It was a male-dominated sort of environment, and it was like, ‘Oh, aren’t you two cute?’”
Pitt went on to sell a majority stake of Plan B to French media conglomerate Mediawan, in a deal that reportedly valued the company at hundreds of millions of dollars. Aniston, meanwhile, launched Echo Films with Hahn in 2008, which has produced films including Cake, The Switch, and Netflix hit Murder Mystery 2.
“I feel like I am a self-made woman,” she told the WSJ in Tuesday’s interview. “And I’m really proud of that.”
On her journey to becoming a self-made woman—which has seen her accumulate a series of business ventures including her LolaVie haircare line, endorsement deals with the likes of Aveeno skin care and a partnership with Vital Proteins—Aniston said she had learned another valuable lesson: be careful who you work with.
“Make sure you’re getting in bed with people you’re going to be happy to wake up with in the morning,” she told the WSJ.
She added that she was very particular about who would, or wouldn’t, be chosen to join a project she was producing.
“It was one of our big rules up front,” Aniston said. “No a**holes.”