Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most in-demand, well-liked stars in Hollywood. But her life hasn't always been as easy breezy as it appears to be now. In a new interview with French magazine Madame Figaro, the 23-year-old "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" actress opens up about her childhood struggle with social anxiety.
"My nickname was 'Nitro,' as in nitroglycerin," she tells the mag (translated from French). "I was hyperactive, curious about everything. When my mother told me about my childhood, she always told me there was like a light in me, a spark that inspired me constantly. When I entered school, the light went out. We never knew what it was, a kind of social anxiety. But I had friends."
At one point, the Oscar winner says, she sought help from a therapist -- to no avail. "I went to see a shrink," she explains. "Nothing worked."
That is, until she discovered acting. "One day, I begged my parents to take me to a casting," the actress tells the mag. "We went to New York, and that's where I started acting. Just on stage, my mother saw the change that was taking place in me. She saw my anxieties disappear. She found her daughter, the one who had this light and joy before school."
Lawrence, in turn, found her passion. "I finally found a way [to] open the door to a universe that I understood, that was good for me and made me happy, because I felt capable, whereas before I felt worthless," she says.
The "Silver Linings Playbook" star is more than just capable. But she doesn't let her success go to her head. "I want my life as normal as possible," she tells Madame Figaro. "One of the dangers in the film industry is that things are too fast ... I want to keep it simple."
One thing that helps? Her best friend. "At the end of a day of shooting, I can go home and hang out with her," she says, "do what we do ... and not share time with someone who works for me."
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