There’s something about actress Jessica Chastain you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on while watching her on the big screen or gracing red carpets.
She’s shy. (Like really, truly shy.)
“I’m almost having a breakdown right now,” she admitted to James Lipton recently during an interview on “Inside the Actors Studio.”
“You’re still shy?” he asked her.
“Yes, I’m so shy,” she answered.
To her biggest fans, her shyness may not be news. She’s talked publicly about it before.
As Chastain explained to Chelsea Handler on “Chelsea” earlier this year (emphasis added):
“[Being on a movie set] is less intimidating to me than social circumstances. This weekend, I went to a party — it was Katy Perry’s party — and I was just like, ‘Why am I at this party? I’m not as cool as these people, and at some point they’re going to realize that I shouldn’t be here.’ But I feel like, on a film set, ‘OK, I have a reason to be here.’“
Chastain’s shyness may be surprising for a couple reasons.
For one, she doesn’t seem like someone who’s shy. She’s an Academy Award-nominated actress who’s owned the silver screen in blockbusters like “The Martian” and had us cracking up in “The Help.” How can such a Hollywood A-lister be shy?
She’s also wildly successful. And shyness isn’t something we necessarily associate with successful people.
But maybe we should.
As Chastain’s career proves, being shy isn’t a death sentence for ambitions. In fact, it could be just the opposite.
While shyness may be a hinderance to a person’s success in some ways — like feeling nervous about meeting new people at a networking event, for instance — people who are shy tend to have other strengths in their corner.
Shy people tend to be great listeners and, thus, total rockstars when it comes to observing the world around them. As Greatist points out, research suggests people are more productive and creative when they’re able to work privately — often a preference for shy and introverted folks (introversion and shyness are different, by the way). And on the more personal side, shy people are more likely to report having a “rich, complex inner life” too.
Whoever said shyness is a weakness clearly wasn’t paying close enough attention.
There are many reasons to feel quite all right with being shy. But, according to Chastain, that should never stop you from living your life out loud.
“You don’t know if you just don’t do it,” she told Handler. “If you’re feeling shy or feeling whatever, just throw yourself out there. And maybe it actually changes who you are.”