11/02/1998 AT 12:00 AM EST
Whether it's because she plays a whistle-blower in her new movie, "Erin Brockovich," or simply because she's a star, Julia Roberts takes no guff. During a New York press conference Friday to promote "Erin," in which she plays a feisty legal secretary who brings down a big industrial pollutant (shades of "Silkwood"), Roberts, 32, told PEOPLE Online that the biggest misconception about her is, "That I'm a bitch." And why is that? "Because I'm tall and I'm really smart. I have lots of ideas and I'm willing to share them. But I think that when you're energetic and aggressive about things, it can be intimidating to people who are not very smart themselves." As for living under a constant spotlight because of her fame: "Would I be a dental hygienist and have no one say bad things about me? No."