“At eight, I had men putting dimes in my hands saying, ‘Call me. It’d be so great to f*ck when you’re older.'”
This is the kind of harassment and “horrible stuff” Jewel Kilcher has endured her whole life, even before her rise to international fame.
In a new interview, the Hands singer reveals she’s had men hitting on her since she was a child — and it all came to a head when she was a fledgling singer-songwriter trying to break into the music industry.
At just 15, she was fired from a cafe job in San Diego for refusing to have sex with her boss. The lack of income eventually led to her living in her car, which was then stolen.
It was the most vulnerable moment of her life, and there was plenty of businessmen eager to take advantage of it.
“It was almost like they were sharks that could smell blood, like of vulnerability. I’d go back to my car, writing songs, and men would literally come up and proposition me. They would be like, ‘Hey, do you need rent money?’ you know and things like that,” the now 41-year-old tells The Hollywood Reporter. Watch TV host David Koch discussing the status of women in the media industry with Mia Freedman. (Post continues after video.)
“It was pretty wild. I never took anybody up on it, but it was interesting to see this side of men that basically would prey on somebody vulnerable.”
Jewel, whose 1995 album Pieces of You went 15 times platinum, believes these eye-opening experiences gave her the awareness to identify and resist the temptation to compromise her values as her hugely successful career took off.
“The music industry is a very male-dominated business. I never slept my way to the top, ever. There was never one time I’ve ever compromised anything. I was always willing to walk away," she recalls.
"I learned to keep my energy to myself, where there’s nothing about me that seemed approachable. And as men did approach me, I got very good at handling men in a way that sort of didn’t anger them."
Have you ever experienced sexual harassment? Do you think enough is done to prevent it?