This 2007 cover of Rolling Stone drove dearly Rose McGowan out of the entertainment business.

“I just had this bouffant hairdo, this big bubble hairdo, this weird Photoshopped forehead that they gave me ... and this dark fake tan, and I’m chest-to-chest with Rosario Dawson and an ammo belt around my hip was the only clothing I had on,” McGowan told TheWrap. "And I was like, Who is that?”

McGowan, 41, said she had no idea that selling her sexuality would be such a big part of her job as an actress.

“It’s always part and parcel of it, you’re expected as a woman, this is what you trade off of, this is how you sell tickets to the movies, this is your part of it,” she said. “Your job as a promoter is this: They’re not sticking a guy on the cover doing it, unless it’s like Seth Rogen doing a joke. So as a woman I’m expected to sell myself, my body, my image, my sexuality, in order to get your ticket sales up."

So McGowan pulled back, took fewer roles, and started to pursue directing, which led to her new short film, "Dawn."

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"It was a four-day shoot, but pro-rated, if it was a full feature, it probably would have been about 30," she said. "Budget-wise, it was a big undertaking."

And "Dawn" is already leading to more directing bites -- this time for feature films.

"I’m in negotiations for two right now. One’s a big one, and one is a more indie one," she said. "This is what I love, I’ve finally really, really, really found my passion, more than anything."