Natalie Portman also known as נטלי הרשלג burst into the scene opposite French superstar Jean Reno in the surprise hit “Leon” (also sold in other countries as “The Professional”). No one can forget how the young 13-year-old Natalie Portman played the character of young girl who somehow exuded sensuality and a keen sense of the world beyond her age. From this debut movie, the world waited for Natalie to become the gorgeous lady and extremely successful actress that she is today.
You have seen Portman as Padme Amidala, the mother of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leah of the Star Wars franchise. She recently mesmerized moviegoers as the “Black Swan”, which won her an Academy Award for Best Actress. But what do you really know about this extremely lovely actress?
Her real name is Natalie Hershlad and she is a citizen of both the United States and Israel. Born in Jerusalem, Israel on June 9, 1981, Natalie is of Russian, Austrian, Polish, Romanian and Jewish descent. Her great grandmother served the British army as a spy in World War II.
Natalie was still in high school when she filmed “Star Wars: Episode 1”. She did not attend the movie premier because she was too busy studying for her final exams in school. She went to the Syosset High School in Syosset, Long Island.
This successful Hollywood star believes that her education is more important that her acting career. She once told the New York Post, “I don’t care if (college) ruins my career. I’d rather be smart than a movie star.”
Portman went to Harvard College and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2003. The next year she took graduate courses at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. In 2006, she spoke about terrorism and counter-terrorism at Columbia University.
In high school, she co-authored a paper on “A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar”, which was chosen as a semifinalist in the Inter Science Talent Search. At Harvard, she contributed on a research called “Frontal Lobe Activation during Object Permanence: Data from Near-Infrared Spectroscopy”. Portman knows French, German, Arabic and Japanese, and speaks Hebrew fluently.
Portman turned vegetarian when she was a child and now she actively advocates animal rights. She became a vegan in 2009, and since then has not owned or worn any fur, feather or leather. She said, “All of my shoes are from Target and Stella McCartney”.
She is also an advocate of the environment and has gone to Africa to film a documentary about the preservation of gorillas. As a young child, she joined an environment-friendly song and dance group called the World Patrol Kids. She is now a member of the One Voice Movement.
In 2004 and 2005, Natalie Portman traveled to Uganda, Ecuador and Guatemala to join anti-poverty activities. She is an Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International, which stands for Foundation for International Community Assistance. In 2010, she was nominated at VH1’s “Do Something Awards”, which honors people who do good for other people and the environment.