Looking back at the early 2000s, Elisha says she felt like she had no choice when it came to things like posing for men’s magazine — and wishes things had been different.
“I’ve been pretty vocal about my sort of, I don’t want to say disappointment about being in that whole circus. But there was really no option back then, though,” she said on the Broad Ideas With Rachel Bilson podcast.
She continued, “You were out promoting something. That’s what the [film] studio wanted you to do.”
And while taking part in suggestive photoshoots was uncomfortable, Elisha says she understands the studio’s motives considering the magazines were viewed by “30 million people” at the time.
“There was no arguing that it was a way to be seen and to promote anything that you were doing at the time,” adding that major celebrities were also getting in front of the camera.
“I mean, Halle Berry was doing it, for God’s sake. Jennifer Aniston was doing it…We were probably too young to be subjected to that, and feeling pressured to do that,” she shared.
Elisha was also featured on lists that often pitted women against each other, like rankings of the “Sexiest Women in the World” — and was ultimately named “TV’s Most Beautiful Woman” by Maxim in 2013.
“They actually don’t mean anything in regards to me as a person or my career. It’s not like I won an Olympic medal. It was some list some random magazine decided to create,” Elisha said, noting that it would “never be allowed” nowadays.
Despite the pressure, Elisha says she didn’t struggle with any serious issues — but she does wish she had been “kinder” to herself.
“I definitely got caught up in that wanting to live up to what everyone was expecting of us, which is [to be] the ‘hottest woman in the world.’ It’s like what? I’m an actress. I’m not Gisele [Bündchen], what in the world? I’m 5’2″ with little legs and height. It was kind of ridiculous,” Elisha admitted.
Ultimately, Elisha doesn’t want others to feel like they have to live up to “ridiculous standards” she faced.
In the end, she says that those magazines with the airbrushing and “bizarre outfit and hair extensions” were “just not reality.”