Feel Unpretty: Celebrities Who Were Told They Weren’t Pretty Enough For Hollywood

January 28, 2015  |  
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If these A-list stars had listened to the haters they never would have made it. Check out the celebrities who were told they weren’t attractive enough for Hollywood but didn’t listen.

Jessica Chastain

Actress Jessica Chastain starred in four films this year and received a Golden Globe nomination. But the Zero Dark Thirty star said she wasn’t always a casting favorite. She told Telegraph magazine,

“Only in the past five years have people been telling me I’m attractive. Before then, I wasn’t getting parts because people kept telling me I wasn’t pretty enough.”

Meryl Streep

When Meryl Streep went to audition for the 1976 classic King Kong, producer Dino de Laurentis asked in Italian, “Why do you bring me this ugly thing?”

Unfortunately for Dino, Meryl speaks Italian. She fired back, “I’m sorry I’m not beautiful enough to be in King Kong?”

Meryl didn’t get the role but she did go on to be the most Oscar-nominated actor of all time.

Lea Michele

When the Glee star was just 15, her manager told her to get a nose job. Luckily Michele’s mother intervened by showing Lea how far Barbara Streisand accomplished with her natural beauty. Thanks to her mom’s pep talk, Lea opted not to go under the knife.

Chrissy Teigen

Even model Chrissy Teigen hasn’t always felt pretty enough. She recently dished about the time that she went on a modeling job and was asked to leave when they didn’t like the way she looked:

“They shoot that photo off to my agency, who then calls me as I’m sitting in the make-up chair, and they say, ‘You need to leave right now. They just said that you are fat and you need to come get your measurements taken.’ And I hate you, Forever 21. I hate you so much. Honestly, you’re the worst.”


Pink told Redbook, “A ‘girl like me’ is someone who doesn’t rest on her looks, who has had people tell me from day one, ‘You’re never going to get magazine covers because you are not pretty enough.”

We’re glad she didn’t listen.

Kerry Washington

When Michelle Obama is singing your praises, you’ve officially made it. The First Lady shared Kerry’s early struggles with a D.C. high school:

“Kerry got a lot of rejections. She spent a lot of time developing her craft. She spent a lot of time practicing and working and trying out for things and having people tell her. ‘No,’ ‘No thank you,’ ‘You’re not good enough,’ ‘You’re not pretty enough.’

Could you imagine somebody telling Kerry that she wasn’t pretty enough, she wasn’t tall enough, she was too short? That’s all performing is, is rejection. … But when you work hard and you invest thousands of hours in anything, you get better.”

Winona Ryder

A casting director in young Winona Ryder’s career tried to derail her acting ambition before it even started.

Winona says that she was told, “Listen, kid. You should not be an actress. You are not pretty enough. You should go back to where you came from and you should go to school. You don’t have it.”


Mindy Kaling

Talk about adding insult to injury.

After a TV station bought the sketch comedy that Mindy Kaling wrote, they refused to cast her in the role that she wrote for herself — even after she auditioned for it.

When they insisted on going with a “prettier” actress, Mindy turned down the deal and moved on to The Mindy Project. We bet those producers are kicking themselves now.

Minka Kelly

The Friday Night Lights star’s former manager told her to start her acting career with a job in a plastic surgeon’s office — so she could get some free surgery.

Minka was just 19 at the time, but still had enough self-confidence to ignore that shady advice and pursue her acting career au natural.

Viola Davis

Sometimes the shade comes even after you’re a star. One New York Times article had the nerve to call the How To Get Away With Murder “less classically beautiful” than other black actresses like Kerry Washington.

Nia Vardalos

Fans of My Big Fat Greek Wedding have Nia Vardalos’ early rejections to thank.

When Nia first started auditioning, she was repeatedly told that she wasn’t pretty enough to play a leading lady and that there were no roles for Greek-American actresses.

So Nia solved both of her “problems” by writing the script for her first leading role — and it’s now the second most profitable film of all time…

Tyra Banks

When the tabloids trashed a photo of Tyra in a bathing suit and called her “fat.” Tyra was quick to turn the tables. She put the bathing suit back on during her talk show and told the haters they could kiss her “fat a–.”

Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey Sidibe says Hollywood expected her to fade away after Precious because she didn’t fit the “type.”

But Gabourey says being told she wasn’t pretty enough just made her stronger:

“I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. … If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable.”

Jennifer Lawrence

Hollywood is hard on everyone.

The Hunger Games star told Harper’s Bazaar that she almost got fired from an acting job because of her weight:

“Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight. They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet. It was just that.”

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