Haley Lu Richardson Talks Sexism In Hollywood & Her Powerful Advice For Young Girls

If you're a woman who is trying to make it as an actress, chances are high that at some point, you've faced sexist behavior — or if you haven't, that you will. It's an unfortunate byproduct of wanting to star on the big and small screen, and despite some improvements, women have been experiencing Hollywood's rampant sexism and misogyny for far too long. From Kristen Stewart to Mindy Kaling to Emma Thompson, many actresses continue to come forward about the double standards throughout the entertainment industry in hopes of changing their profession for themselves and future talents. Now, there's another name to add to that list: 20-year-old Haley Lu Richardson, star of August's The Last Survivors .

"[Sexism] is a dirty world and people are cruel," says Richardson, speaking with Bustle. "I have faced [it], and it's sad."

The actress, known for her work in the Pretty Little Liars spin-off Ravenswood and now starring in this month's survival drama The Last Survivors, says she was disappointed when she faced gender discrimination for the first time.

"That's something that I never wanted to face and accept, because I'm a very hopeful person and I hope for the best of every single person I meet and every single situation that I get involved with," Richardson says. "But, especially in this industry, and in the world in general, there are amazing people, there are creative people, there are wonderful people, and then there are scum."

Unfortunately, the disrespect Richardson experienced wasn't a one-time experience.

"I have been in situations, especially as a young woman, where I felt like people were treating me differently because I was a young woman," she says.

"Sometimes you feel uncomfortable," Richardson (above in The Last Survivors) continues. "Sometimes you feel like a puppet. Sometimes you feel like you're being taken advantage of ... people try to manipulate you because you're a young woman and you look innocent and you look like prey."

Despite these unfortunate experiences, the actress says that she refuses to let anyone dictate her life or dreams. She wants others, especially young girls just starting out in Hollywood, to know that they can make their own decisions — and to be smart about who they surround themselves with each day.

Says Richardson, "Just be you and surround yourself with people who aren't like that and respect you for being a hardworking, motivated woman."

Continues the star,

A big thing for me is just to remember at the end of the day that your plan and your future and your dreams are your decision. You're going to meet a lot of people that will tell you "do this, do that, this is where you're going to be, this is what you have to do." You can listen to that and you can absorb that and take advice, but at the end of the day you make your decisions. That's what's gonna, in the end, lead you to where you're supposed to be and where you feel good.
It's sound advice, and it's reassuring to know that Richardson is so adamant on helping others follow their dreams and changing industry attitudes. She may be young and just making it big herself, but that's not stopping the star from voicing her opinions and standing up for what matters.

The Last Survivors will be released on Aug. 4 on VOD and Blu-Ray. Check out the trailer below:

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Image: Federighi Films/Dark Sky Films