Hollywood can be a pretty harsh place. Stars constantly feel the pressure to look perfect, because their jobs depend on it. Celebrities, especially women, are often getting surgery to alter their look, electing to have procedures like breast augmentation, rhinoplasty and facelifts. Both men and women in Hollywood are criticized when they gain what society deems “too much weight,” and some celebs are ridiculed for being too skinny. It seems that as soon as a person is exposed to the public eye, the scrutiny about every part of their appearance begins. The criticism likely continues for years.
Casting agents and record executives are also pretty heartless when it comes to a star’s looks. It’s often challenging for a celebrity to come up with a signature look while still being classically beautiful (whatever that means). In addition to surgeries, celebrities often spend hours getting their hair done, hiring professional makeup artists and undergoing intense spa treatments to look flawless each time they step out of their homes. That alone is a full time job. Surprisingly, there are a few of your favorite celebs who were once told they didn’t look good enough to be in Hollywood. Here are 10 stories that may surprise you.
10. Lea Michele
Lea Michele is what many would consider to be a Mediterranean beauty. She’s got gorgeous brown locks, full lips and medium brown eyes. What’s not to like? However, there was a time when Lea, who is known for her work on the Fox show Glee (and for dating her co-star, the late Cory Monteith), was told she wasn’t pretty enough. In a 2011 Allure interview, Lea Michele shared that one of her perspective managers told her that if she didn’t get a nose job, she should just leave Hollywood altogether. She was just 13 at the time, and starting her career in show business. That’s some pretty tough criticism for a teenager, but she didn’t take the “advice” and still became a star.
9. Whitney Cummings
Comedienne, actress and producer, Whitney Cummings was once told that she wasn’t pretty enough to be a leading lady in Hollywood. Her former agent even told her that she’d likely always be the “quirky sidekick” in movies and television shows. Needless to say, Cummings had to get rid of the said agent. The funny woman, who made several appearances on Chelsea Lately when the show was on the air, had her own sitcom Whitney, which lasted from 2011 to 2013. She’s also the co-creator of the CBS sitcom Two Broke Girls. Not too bad for a woman who was told she wasn’t good looking enough to make a name for herself in Hollywood.
8. Britney Spears
For the most part, people think that pop star Britney Spears is pretty hot. She’s a great dancer, has long blonde hair (most of the time), and is often seen wearing some pretty revealing outfits when she’s performing. However, Maxim placed Spears at number 5 on one of their Unsexiest Woman Alive lists because she gained weight. How terrible. It’s not like she couldn’t lose the weight, and it’s not hard to see that the assessment was pretty chauvinistic. Britney Spears, who has been through a series of difficulties, including a nervous breakdown, certainly didn’t need the Maxim rating to make her feel worse. However, she got her body back in shape and is currently headlining in Vegas.
7. Minka Kelly
Even if she’s “not your type”, you can’t exactly call Minka Kelly ugly. The actress is known for her work on the shows Parenthood and Friday Night Lights, and she also starred in Charlie’s Angels. Kelly has also been romantically linked to baseball great Derek Jeter and actor Chris Evans. When Kelly was around 19, her manager told her it was a good idea for her to take a job at a plastic surgery clinic, so she could get some free surgery. The manager suggested she get a boob job and rhinoplasty. This is just further proof of how critical Hollywood can be. Minka took the job (who turns down money?) but she said ‘no’ to the surgeries. Good for her.
6. Mindy Kaling
The fabulous and hilarious Mindy Kaling, who once acted on The Office and then went on to write and star in Fox’s The Mindy Project, was told that she wasn’t pretty enough to play herself—on her own show! An undisclosed network previously offered Mindy the show as a writer, but the executives told her that she’d need to hold auditions for who was going to portray her on TV. The network even denied her the role! The network told Kaling pretty directly that she wasn’t attractive enough for viewers to want to watch her every week. We’re guessing the unnamed network regrets those statements now.
Kesha has long had a fiery personality and a determined nature. Remember when she trespassed onto Prince’s property so she could give him her demo tape? Kesha has enjoyed a pretty successful music career, but her manager, David Sonenberg, allegedly told her that she needed to do what she had to do in order to lose some weight. We’re not quite sure what he was thinking, since Kesha wasn’t exactly fat when she made her music debut. The pressure of trying to be thinner caused the singer to develop an eating disorder. Kesha went to rehab to deal with the problem and is currently trying to take more control of her image in every way.
4. Kat Dennings
You probably recognize Kat Dennings as one of the hilarious and sarcastic stars of 2 Broke Girls, which was co-created by Whitney Cummings, another beautiful women on this list. When Kat got into the business, she was told that she basically had to change all the things that made her look unique. It was strongly suggested that she get a tan to alter the look of her naturally pale skin. Managers also told her that she’d need to get her teeth fixed. Thankfully, she didn’t listen to this bad advice, and she’s still a pretty big star. Dennings is currently dating crooner Josh Groban, who apparently has no problem with her looks.
3. Gwenyth Paltrow
Gwenyth Paltrow is the daughter of veteran actress (and beautiful woman) Blythe Danner, so it’s no surprise that she’s gorgeous. Well, at least to most people. Paltrow was actually the Most Beautiful Woman Alive according to People Magazine in 2013. However, the following year, she was deemed “not pretty enough” to portray the late actress Audrey Hepburn in an ad campaign. While Hollywood managers didn’t exactly give Paltrow this disheartening news, the executives in Tinseltown listened to the criticisms of Hepburn fans who took to Twitter to voice their disapproval. Sure, Paltrow has said some pretty insensitive things about being rich and eating better than pretty much everyone, but saying she’s ugly is a bit of a stretch.
2. Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon is known for her roles in the Legally Blonde movies and for her film debut in Cruel Intentions. The bright-eyed actress said that she heard several times that she wasn’t tall enough or pretty enough for the roles she was auditioning for. This happened when she first arrived in Hollywood, but she decided to push the criticisms aside and pursue a lucrative career. Witherspoon is also still respected for her role as June Carter Cash, in the Johnny Cash biopic Walk The Line. We think she looks pretty great, especially for a woman with a daughter who is old enough to drive.
1. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker is still seen as a fashion icon for her stunning outfits in Sex and The City, and on the red carpet. She also has gorgeous hair and smoldering eyes. However, Maxim didn’t seem to think so. The magazine, which has been accused of being sexist, actually named Parker the “Unsexiest Woman Alive” in 2007. That’s just downright mean. Fortunately, this didn’t stop Sarah from being sought after in other Hollywood sectors. She starred in both Sex and The City movies, as well as I Don’t Know How She Does It. Sarah Jessica Parker also graced the world with more of her fashion expertise with her SJP shoe line, sold at Nordstrom.