Hollywood is known as the land of dreams, but in reality, it’s a very cruel place magically disguised with its over the top glitz and glamour. With an industry that has an incredibly large emphasis on looks, it’s really no surprise that those trying to make it big have faced severe criticism and scrutiny based on their appearance. Many have tried and failed, but others have trudged on despite being told they don’t have what it takes to become a big star. It may be a little hard to believe now, but you better believe it. That said, here are 12 super famous celebs that were told they were too ugly for Hollywood.
12. Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet starred opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in one of the most well known romance films of all time, Titanic. The gorgeous actress has always been curvier and has been praised for her figure, but not by everyone. The Oscar-winning actress has been candid about her struggle prior to fame, saying that she was passed over for roles as a teenager because she was deemed “too fat”. Winslet even faced severe criticism for her curves after starring in Titanic. None of this criticism has phased her, as she has gone on to star in dozens of films since then.
11. Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker will always be remembered as our stylish love columnist Carrie Bradshaw, from HBO’s Sex and the City. Despite her successful career, Parker has continued to face harsh criticism about her looks. In 2008, Maxim went as far as to name her its ‘Unsexiest Woman Alive’. Ouch! And completely ridiculous! This awful title did nothing to slow down her career as she went on to star in two Sex and the City films and I Don’t Know How She Does It, among others. In addition to her successful film career, Parker launched her very own shoe collection, SJP for Nordstrom.
10. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is the most Oscar-nominated actor of all time; however, there was a time when she wasn’t the stunning example of Hollywood royalty. While being interviewed on The Graham Norton Show, the star recalled a 1976 audition for the film King Kong. Film producer Dino De Laurentiis, reportedly asked his son in Italian, “Why did you bring me this ugly thing?”. Without missing a beat, Streep responded back in perfect Italian, “I’m sorry I’m not pretty enough to be in King Kong.”
9. Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen (John Legend‘s wife) is known for her good looks and banging bod, but there was a time the supermodel was kicked out of a photoshoot for being too fat. In an interview with DuJour magazine, Teigen recalled a shoot she was hired for. Employees at Forever 21 hired her directly, but changed their mind after seeing her in person. Reportedly, the clothing store asked to take her picture and then sent it to her agency with a message that she was too heavy. Teigen went on to grace the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, marry John Legend, become a host of a daytime talk show, and start a family. Teigen has yet to forget the awful incident telling DuJour, “I hate you, Forever 21. Honestly, you’re the worst.”
8. Minka Kelly
Minka Kelly, best known for her roles in the televisions shows Friday Night Lights and Parenthood, was once an aspiring actress trying to get her big break in Hollywood. Although, Kelly was never told she was too ugly for Hollywood, she was told by a manager that she needed some fine tuning (i.e., plastic surgery) to make her more voluptuous. Kelly opted not to get plastic surgery and a short time later, caught her big break with the hit series Friday Night Lights.
7. Lea Michele
It’s obvious that Glee star Lea Michele, is a beautiful and talented young actresses, but not everyone seems to agree. In an interview with Allure magazine in 2011, Michele revealed, “When I was 15, my mother and I went to meet a manager who said, ‘You have to get a nose job in order for me to work with you.'” Despite the criticism, she stuck with acting and didn’t take the advice of the manager. By the age of 23, she was starring as Rachel Berry in Fox’s hit television show Glee.
6. Kat Dennings
Star of the hit television show 2 Broke Girls, Kat Dennings is considered one of the most gorgeous women in Hollywood. With her curvy figure, full curly hair, and unique look, Dennings broke the typical Hollywood mold. However, prior to making it big she was told over and over again by multiple casting agents that she needed to make some physical changes like, “fix her teeth, dye her hair, lose weight, get a tan,” – so basically, change everything about herself. Dennings opted to not change a single thing and now, look at her. We think she made the right choice.
5. Jessica Chastain
There’s no arguing that actress Jessica Chastain is one of the most beautiful and talented A-list actresses in Hollywood today; however, at one point many contested with this notion. Chastain told The Telegraph in 2015, “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.” Her now-signature red hair was one thing she was always told to change, telling The Telegraph, “People would tell me to dye my hair blonde when I first started auditioning. Funny how defined we are by how we present ourselves.” Chastain proved them all wrong and went on to star in Zero Dark Thirty, The Martian and The Huntsman: Winter’s War, along with a number of other blockbuster films.
4. Winona Ryder
Winona Ryder is perhaps one of the most beautiful and talented actresses of the ’80s and ’90s. Although her roles these days are few and far between, she is still considered a Hollywood icon. There was a time prior to making it big in Hollywood where she had a difficult time landing parts and getting her big break. She told Interview magazine, “I remember one time in particular. I was in the middle of auditioning, and I was mid-sentence when the casting director said, ‘Listen, kid. You should not be an actress. You are not pretty enough. You should go back to wherever you came from and you should go to school. You don’t have it.’ She was very blunt—I honestly think that she thought she was doing me a favor.” Ryder said that if wasn’t for her parents, the casting director’s harsh criticism would have destroyer her. “I was around 15 or 16 [when it happened]. But it’s funny—and this is a testament to my parents and how they raised me—I wasn’t crushed. They had always instilled in me that it was way cooler to be an individual and to be unique and that you don’t want to blend in.” We agree.
3. Mindy Kaling
The Mindy Project is arguably one of the best comedies on television and without Mindy Kaling, it wouldn’t even be possible. The hit show is created, written, produced and stars Kaling, and her portrayal of the clever and funny Dr. Mindy Lahiri is what makes the show so great. However, prior to the Project, Kaling told The Guardian that another network once offered to pick up the show, made her audition for the part of herself, and then refused to cast her because she wasn’t pretty enough. Kaling got the last laugh telling The Guardian, “I feel like karmically, I was vindicated, but at the time it felt terrible.”
2. Nia Vardalos
Nia Vardalos had such an incredibly tough time breaking into Hollywood that she decided to pave the way to success and stardom herself. Vardalos told More magazine in 2012, “Years ago, I could not get a job if you paid me. This agent I was once working with said, ‘You are not fat enough to be a character actress, and you’re not pretty enough to be a leading lady. Plus, there are no Greek roles. So I can no longer represent you.’ I drove home and thought if being Greek was the problem, I am going to make it the solution. I immediately started writing by taking all of the stories I tell at parties and putting them all on a list. From there I said, I am going to write a Greek movie, cast them with Greek characters, and I will play a bridesmaid.” The hit movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding and the sequel to it grossed more than $300 million and starred none other than Nia Vardalos.
1. Reese Witherspoon
A-list actress Reese Witherspoon, is clearly one of Hollywood’s most beautiful starlets and America’s sweetheart. She captured our hearts when she played the role of Elle Wood’s in Legally Blonde, proving on-screen and off-screen that a girl can be both beautiful and intelligent. Witherspoon talked about the rejections she faced in Hollywood in an interview with Daily Mail in 2011, “You have to be focused and tough because it takes a tenacious personality to deal with rejection. When I first came here (to LA), all I heard was, ‘No, not right–not tall enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough.'” She admitted, “I didn’t really care about their opinions. I’m stubborn.” Elle Woods would be proud of Reese.