It seems like ideal casting (the Oscar winner is a financial backer of the trendy Spin table tennis nightspots) but the 67-year-old tells PEOPLE that when she was a teen, she was "kind of dorky," too.
"I was very awkward," she says. "Not cool at all." Years later, at her first high school reunion, she asked a former classmate why no one would ask her out for a date. "He said, 'Well everyone knew you weren't going to put out," she recounts. "And they were right. Probably. I was pretty shy."
Sarandon wishes there had been something like her classic film The Rocky Horror Picture Show for her generation of geeky kids to bond over. "Too bad [it] wasn't around until later because I probably could have found like-minded souls there," she says. "I don't know if anything existed that would have helped me through but I'm glad I could provide help." Looking back, she says, "It's a miracle I survived without being too messed up."
Still, she admits there were benefits to blossoming a few years later. "I think a lot of kids peak in high school," she says, "but then where do you go?"
She's now completely comfortable in her skin – and totally candid. The actress admitted last December on Andy Cohen's Watch What Happens Live that she'd often smoked weed before red carpet events, except at the Oscars.
"That whole thing of going stoned to every awards show, I wish that could have been possible," says Sarandon, "but no, that was an exaggeration." Still, she admits there was only one negative: "The only down side I can think of with weed is the munchies," she says, "And I don't handle them, I munch."
"Awards show are four hours long," she explains. "So by the time you even get through the red carpet, unfortunately, you're not high anymore. But your blood sugar drops and they would do very well to pass out munchies. I remember one time sitting in front of Seal at a very long show and he was passing out little snacks, which was very helpful."
To read more from Susan Sarandon, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.