With famous actor and director Ron Howard as a father, one might assume Bryce Dallas Howard grew up spoiled in Hollywood. Fortunately though, Bryce’s mother went to somewhat “extreme” measures to ensure her children became hard workers.
“My mom grew up in poverty and was terrified that her privileged children were not going to be contributing members of society,” Bryce, who is now 37 and the mother of two children, recently shared with Redbook.
“I realize now, as a parent, that some of the things she did to follow through on teachable moments were a bit extreme. But other things, like we don’t have trust funds and were told, ‘you’re 14 — you need to get a job,’ I’m so grateful for. I started working at a restaurant when I was 14, and I’d be like, I just got yelled at by a customer. OK, I survived. Those moments made me feel like a capable person, and a lot of kids I knew growing up didn’t.”
Though she’s widely recognized today thanks to roles in The Help, Black Mirror, and more, Bryce Dallas Howard still isn’t living lavishly.
“I’m not a spender,” she went on to explain. “I live in a three-bedroom house — in fact, we just downsized.”
“I know that we’re privileged; we don’t have to worry about paying our rent or our medical bills. But I wish people knew that this is what the life of most successful female celebrities is. What we get paid is totally, completely, astronomically different than what male celebrities get paid. And for women of color, it’s a hundred times worse. Even my dad has been shocked at how expensive it is to be a woman in the industry. You’re told that it’s important to have a manager as well as an agent, and for a guy that’s not as important. That’s 20% out of your paycheck rather than 10%.”
Illustrating the point, Bryce recalled this story: “As a young actress, I was told the studio would pay for me to have a stylist. Amazing. Then the stylist buys a lot of clothes because I was a size 6, not [a sample] size 2 [which could be borrowed from designers]. I assumed they were part of the budget until I get a bill for $45,000. I remember standing there shaking, like, I don’t think I have this in the bank.”
It isn’t always easy to feel sympathy for the “rich and famous,” but I appreciate hearing these words from Bryce Dallas Howard. I’ve often wondered how many “celebrities” out there aren’t anywhere near as well off as the public presumes. If you’re not an A-list star and able to demand top dollar the inconsistency and expense of the industry seems daunting. I find it rather refreshing this star and her two children live in a three-bedroom house just like my family does.
Trust funds aren’t something we have to navigate not spoiling our two boys with, but all the same I wonder about when they’ll get their first jobs. My eldest is 13, and hearing Bryce started at 14 has me feeling like go time is right around the corner.
I started working filing papers for a real estate agent friend of my father’s at age 16 for $5 an hour. I distinctly remember getting my first paycheck and feeling relatively rich but also defeated at how fast the dollars would disappear. I can’t say I’m happy my sons will soon experience the sometimes harsh reality of making a living, but I believe it’s incredibly important.
Images by SilverHub/REX/Shutterstock, Rob Latour/Variety/REX/Shutterstock