Charlize Theron has been the face of Dior for nearly two decades — something that she admits her children find to be “embarrassing” when they encounter glam images of her out in public.

“In their heads, they’re like, ‘We know you work, but we’re not 100 per cent sure what you do,'” Theron quipped in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“My younger one goes, ‘Oh my God, Mom, it feels like you can’t hold a job.’ And my older one, she’s a pre-teen now, so there are moments, like, we’re walking through an airport and [she sees me on a Dior billboard] and she’s just like, ‘Oh my God, you’re on a f**king wall with no shirt, Mom. This is so embarrassing. Put a shirt on!’ And I’m like, ‘That will pay for your college!'” she added with a laugh. “But deep down, like every mother, I just want to f**king impress them.”

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According to Theron, her first time on a billboard, in which her lingerie-clad self appeared in posters for the 1996 crime thriller “2 Days in the Valley”, remains something of a cautionary tale for her.

“It was a lot,” she recalled. “I remember standing on Sunset Boulevard, like, ‘Oh my God.’ And the way I was raised was very body positive, so it wasn’t so much, ‘Oh, I’m in lingerie.’ I didn’t make the connection of how wrong that was until way later.”

After that, she held a much tighter rein on what she would and would not agree to do.

“We’re having such a conversation now around opportunities, and it’s a really tricky one to have, but I think that actors, instinctively, know that they want to challenge themselves… for me, back then, it was a feeling of, ‘I don’t want to be in white lingerie again. I want to do something completely different,'” Theron explained.

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“I had a manager at the time who was like, ‘You have an offer to do ‘Naked Gun and a Half II’ or something, and I was like, ‘Yeah, no, I don’t want to do that.’ He was all, ‘You’ll never work again. Who do you think you are?’ And I was like, ‘You’re right. I am nobody. But something tells me I shouldn’t do that,'” she added. “And I like those movies, but I didn’t want to have to go home in four years and run my mom’s construction company. I was constantly thinking about, ‘How do I make this last?’ And if you can keep surprising audiences, you might get the job.”