Mena Suvari told to look ‘sexy’ at first photoshoot aged 12

·2-min read

Mena Suvari was told to look “sexy” at her first photoshoot aged 12.
The ‘American Beauty’ actress, 43, added she was also treated like an adult at the session – which came the same year she was raped.
She told The Guardian: "Everyone was raving about how I looked 18. But I was 12.
“What was communicated to me was that I was an adult, therefore I can act like an adult.”
Mena, who shares one-year-old son Christopher with set designer Michael Hope, has previously told how a friend of one of her older brothers wrote her love letters, before raping her several times at his house when she was 12.
Around the time of the rape, she was signed by a big modelling agency in their children’s division.
The following summer she was going to casting calls in New York and the following year spent summer holidays in Los Angeles.
When she was cast in a commercial, the agency suggested Mena moved to the city permanently to get her career going, so her parents came with her to a small apartment.
She added she was told if she looked “sexy” at her first shoot it would make it better.
Mena endured a pattern of older men preying on her.
A twentysomething photographer snapped her nude and alone at his home when she was aged 15.
One of her business advisers, in his mid-30s, started having sex with her when she was 16.
She said: “I didn’t have anyone telling me, ‘That’s not right, that person shouldn’t be doing that with you.”
Mena added because her school grades were solid and she was turning up at auditions and had a blossoming career “to my own detriment, no one noticed”.
She told of her rape ordeal in her memoir ‘The Great Peace’, adding to The Guardian on Wednesday (27.07.22): “That sucked the life out of me. I think that was just excessive confirmation that no one was going to save me, no one was going to do anything for me.”
When she was treated for a bladder infection as a result of the rapes, the doctor put her on contraception instead of asking what was happening to the rising child star.

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