Natalie Portman reveals how Hollywood can be 'isolating' for women -- and how Time's Up is helping to solve the problem

Inch by inch, the curtain is being pulled back on Hollywood revealing the truths that lie beyond the smoke and mirrors. 

In a panel discussion at the 2018 MAKERS Conference on Monday, amid the fervent #MeToo movement, Natalie Portman shed more light on being a female actress -- and how the industry operates in a way that systematically "isolates" and "endangers" women. 

"I think something that we've realized was that we're usually the only woman at work. Like many industries, we walk onto a nearly all-male set, and we're usually alone, and we rarely get to interact with each other. I think Rashida [Jones] is my only close actress friend ... until now," Portman said.

This is a departure from the chummy, small-town environment people often project on the film industry. Even Ava Duvernay, who moderated the Time's Up panel, quipped, "We think you all hang out together."

The "Jackie" star was joined on stage by Jill Soloway, Rashida Jones, Maha Dakhil, Melina Matsoukas, Nina Shaw and Tina Tchen -- all integral drivers of the powerful Time's Up movement that has been on full display since a trail of sexual harassment and assault revelations shook the industry. 

Time's Up, which was announced on January 1 ahead of the Golden Globes, includes a legal defense fund to help less privileged victims of sexual misconduct and an aim for legislation to penalize companies complicit in harassment. But Portman says it also helps close the gap of isolation and empowers women to learn from and speak up about shared experiences.

"Farm workers are told no one cares about you, you're in the shadows, your voice doesn't matter. And the women in the spotlight are told you're the elite, no one cares about you, stop whining, stay silent. And the uniformity is just like shut up, no one cares. And all of our voices matter. Our voices don't matter more, our voices don't matter less. We all have stories to tell and need to stop being silent about injustice," she said.

Tina Tchen, Michelle Obama's former chief of staff, also announced on Monday that since launching in the beginning of the year, the Time's Up movement has raised $20 million for its legal defense fund and received more than 1,000 requests for legal aid from people across several industries, includiing farm workers, hotel workers, steelworkers and more.

Watch the full panel discussion led by Ava Duvernay below:

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