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Oprah: How did you like modeling?

Charlize: Not my thing. I like to talk.

Oprah: I grew up idolizing beautiful girls. I'd think, "What would it be like to look like that?" Now that I'm older, I realize that would be the most boring thing in the world.

Charlize: There's definitely something artistic about modeling. It just wasn't artistically satisfying for me because I like to say what's on my mind. And in that business...

Oprah: Nobody cares what you have to say. Bottom line is, "Take the picture and keep your mouth shut. Turn to the left. You're beautiful, dahling!"

Charlize: Even in acting, you show up to play a character, but if the director will allow it, there's a creativity you're part of. That doesn't exist in modeling. You might have a passion for clothes, but you stand there while they put what they want on you, like it or not. Here's the other thing: I missed discipline. I was a ballerina, and ballet is something you have to work hard at. I couldn't figure out what I had to work hard at to be good at modeling—other than losing five pounds.

Oprah: At moments, does dancing feel like flying?

Charlize: For me dancing is similar to acting. I wasn't the greatest dancer in terms of technique. But when I went onstage as a dying swan, I became that swan. It was the storytelling aspect that I loved. But I had to stop dancing because my knees were so bad.

Oprah: After you packed up to go to California, you were so naive that when you got a ticket that read "Los Angeles"...

Charlize: I said, "Wrong place! I want to go to Hollywood!" Oh, I'm a smart one.

Oprah: Funny! When you got here, did you have a vision?

Charlize: I did have a dream—but I knew I had to survive as well. I began waitressing so I could pay rent. I also found a modeling agency. I was very marketable in Germany, where there are these big catalog jobs that pay three grand a day. They were crappy jobs that no model wanted to do because the clothes and photographs were so ugly. But I didn't care. I told the agency, "Look, I'm not trying to be a supermodel, and I don't want to be in magazines. I need three grand a day for the next six months." Then I got my role in...

Oprah: Children of the Corn III?

Charlize: Yes. I was one of the 500 kids running through a field. I actually had my own murder scene in it. I got dragged into the earth, kicking and screaming.

Oprah: Woo!

Charlize: Exactly. And they didn't even use my voice. I was dubbed.

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