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What Anne Hathaway learned from her haters

HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Actress Anne Hathaway attends The Hollywood Walk Of Fame ceremony for Matthew McConaughey on November 17, 2014 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - NOVEMBER 17: Actress Anne Hathaway attends The Hollywood Walk Of Fame ceremony for Matthew McConaughey on November 17, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

When earnest theater child Anne Hathaway won her Oscar in 2012, it represented one of the ugliest days in American pop culture. In the months leading up to the awards show, the vitriol against her snowballed to the point where her detractors were given their own name, "Hathahaters." And piece after piece after piece was written about how much people hated the actress, ostensibly fueling the beast to the point where the only conversation about Hathaway being had was about hating her.

The focus of this collective vitriol on one person was decidedly odd.

After that day, Hathaway all but disappeared from the spotlight before popping up this year in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. The hate that consumed a nation in 2012 has fallen off, but that doesn't mean it was silly or inconsequential. As Hathaway told The New York Times in an interview, being on the receiving end of that kind of loathing changes you, and you find out what you're made of. She explained the lesson we can all take from what she went through:

There was a strong, negative reaction after you won your Oscar. In a recent interview for Elle U.K., you said, "As with anything difficult, eventually its purpose revealed itself, and I found it ultimately very liberating." What was its purpose?

Self-acceptance. If you’re not someone who has a natural and effortless love for yourself, it’s hard to let go of your desire to please other people, and that’s really not an ingredient for a happy life.

What do you suppose was behind all the vitriol?

Oh, I think you can’t answer that and be a self-respecting person.