Sarah Michelle Gellar says it wasn’t easy being a young woman in the entertainment industry, but “victim blaming and shaming” keeps her from sharing those stories publicly.
The Buffy the Vampire Slayer alum, 45, resumes acting after multi-year hiatus in the wake of the madmen co-star Robin Williams’ death to be present for her family with Freddie Prinze Jr. She has a role as headmaster in the high school dark comedy take revenge, out now on Netflix, and is in production acting and executive producing Teen Wolf spin-off wolf pack for Paramount+. She tells the New York Times she feels she’s now in her “adult career” – and it’s a world away from where she started.
As for where she started – and what she’s been through along the way – it’s been a journey. Asked by the outlet if she had generally good experiences as a teen and young woman in the industry, Gellar – who won a Daytime Emmy at age 18 for All my children – replied, “No. It was really hard. There weren’t any great female roles when I came on. It was the girlfriend part, the wife part. That’s why Buffy was so spectacular, because she really had something to do, and when we had I know what you did, where it was the women to sort things out. That was all a new twist.”
That was just one part. The other was inappropriate behind-the-scenes behavior, which she talked about but made it clear she wouldn’t go into details.
“There’s the other side of being a young girl in the business,” she continued. “Growing up in New York, I had a bit of a street feel to get into, which is convenient. But no, it wasn’t easy. And I’ve had quite a few experiences, I just chose not to. telling my stories emotionally for me. I watch people tell their stories, and I’m so impressed. But in this world where people are being torn apart, and victims are blaming and shaming, I just keep my stories here.”
Of course, while buffy – which ran from 1997 to 2003 – was spectacular in her role, we now know that some women on the set felt threatened by the creator of the show and EP Joss Whedon. Whedon was charged with misconduct in 2021 by former students Charisma Carpenter, Michelle Trachtenberg and Amber Benson. Gellar stood by the victims at the time and said she was “proud of them for speaking out.”
Whedon broke his silence on the… buffy set claims — and other allegations of misconduct — earlier this year. Two days later, Gellar shared a post on social media that said, “I can’t take back the past, but I can fight for the future.” In her NYT interview, she was asked to elaborate and spoke of her efforts to create “a safe space” for young performers on the sets where she finds herself in the wake of what she has learned and experienced.
“Especially now I go to my projects as an executive producer,” she said. “wolf pack, for example. I have these two young girls and two young boys [acting] am working on it. I’ve made it very clear from day 1 that if there are things the production wants to talk to them about, I want them to go through me. Because I’ve been there. And I want [the performers] to always have a safe place.”
Gellar also spoke about the wedding to Prinze with the couple recently celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary.
“I think we currently live in a very disposable world,” she said. “When I was a kid, if your TV broke, you took it to the repair shop and had your TV fixed. Now, if your TV breaks, you go buy a new one. I think we sometimes look at relationships like that. You have to be willing to do the work. That’s something we’ve always wanted to do. You have ups and downs, but you don’t run away.”
Gellar also spoke about her role in take revenge and how her character in the comedy film is modeled after her famous cruel intentions character, Kathryn Merteuil. Although she was the young star in so many projects, she is the advisory headmaster of the teens played by stars like Camila Mendes and Maya Hawke.
“I wouldn’t want to be 17 for gold anymore,” Gellar said. “Thirty-two maybe, but not 17.”
This week, Gellar took her 12-year-old daughter Charlotte Prinze to a Hollywood screening of the film. The couple’s children – including son Rocky, 10 – are rarely seen, with Gellar usually hiding their faces when posting photos of them on social media.