As a rising star in Hollywood, Blake Lively worried that she would be labeled a “diva” just for speaking out in her own interests.
“I think that sometimes you’re not encouraged to stand up for yourself,” the actress, 30, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.
“It doesn’t even mean in really dramatic ways,” she added. “That just means that if you’re working too many hours, or you aren’t being paid what someone else at your work level is being paid, or if you’re being treated differently than someone else on the crew, or whoever.”
While Lively says she was always “passionate” about “standing up” for others, when it came to her own problems, she sometimes remained quiet.
“I didn’t feel like I could fight for myself in the same way, because I was afraid of coming across as a diva or difficult or demanding,” she explains.
“As a woman, you’re afraid of a label you may acquire by demanding fair treatment for yourself that you know that you’ve earned,” she added.
RELATED VIDEO: Blake Lively Reveals She Was Sexually Harassed by a Makeup Artist Who Filmed Her While She Slept
Lively got her start in the business at age 10, starring in the 1998 film Sandman, which was directed by her father. She next appeared in 2005’s The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants before nabbing the lead role in Gossip Girl (2007-2012), which made her a household name.
If she could give her younger self any advice, Lively says, “I’d encourage myself to love myself and fight for myself, as hard as I fought for other people.”
Lively’s new film All I See Is You hits theaters Oct. 27.