osario Dawson is thankful that she was a late bloomer, says Stephen Rebello in Playboy. The 29-year-old actress grew up in an extremely poor section of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, across the street from a crack house and surrounded by crime and despair. For many of her friends and relatives, sexual promiscuity was one of the few escapes. “Young girls were always getting pregnant,” she says—including her own mother. “When my mom got pregnant with me at 16, she was just another Puerto Rican who didn’t have a husband. She almost aborted me.” Dawson felt tremendous peer pressure to go down a similar route. “At 12 or 13, we would put on our bathing suits and take pictures of ourselves in sexy poses, thinking we were grown women. At 14 and 15, I noticed my friends becoming sexually active, totally different people. They said, ‘You know, my man doesn’t like to wear condoms’ or ‘Oh yeah, we do it raw.’” Dawson now believes she managed to avoid early promiscuity and perhaps even unwed motherhood for the simple reason that she started developing long after most of her friends. As a result, the guys weren’t interested in her. “Everybody used to call me a boy. That traumatized me. But later I realized how awful it must have been for the girls who blossomed at 11. I was such a late bloomer that I saw all that very clearly, without being part of it.”
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