Top 10 Stars Who Were Told They Weren't Pretty Enough for Hollywood

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Top 10 Stars Who Were Told They Weren't Pretty Enough for Hollywood

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
These film, tv and music stars were told they weren't pretty enough for Hollywood! Talk about a shallow industry...For this list, we'll be looking at incredibly famous celebrities who, at some point or another, were told they would never make it in the entertainment business because they weren't conventionally beautiful enough. From Mindy Kaling, to Lady Gaga, join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Stars Who Were Told They Weren't Pretty Enough for Hollywood.
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Top 10 Stars Who Were Told They Weren't Pretty Enough for Hollywood


Talk about a shallow industry. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top ten stars who were told they weren’t pretty enough for Hollywood.


For this list, we’ll be looking at incredibly famous celebrities who, at some point or another, were told they would never make it in the entertainment business because they weren’t conventionally beautiful enough.

#10: Kate Winslet

While appearing as a speaker at We Day UK, Winslet told the audience that she was relentlessly bullied as a child and teenager for her weight and big feet, and that she was often called Blubber by her classmates. She was also allegedly told that she wasn’t attractive and that she would only make it as an actor “as long as she was happy to settle for the fat girl parts.” Despite the roadblocks, she appeared in BBC’s “Dark Season” at age 15 and subsequently won her first BAFTA at 20 for her performance as Marianne in “Sense and Sensibility.” And where are her bullies now?

#9: Pink

Pink always comes across as an incredibly confident person, despite the fact that she’s apparently never felt conventionally attractive. While talking to Redbook, Pink said she was criticized from day one and told that she was never going to make magazine covers because she wasn’t pretty enough. Ever the badass, Pink took those harsh words and rolled with them. She told the magazine (the cover of which she adorned) that she was perfectly comfortable with not being conventionally beautiful and that she has always put more focus into other aspects of her life, such as her happiness, family, and health.

#8: Kat Dennings


Despite having starred in a hit CBS series, Kat Dennings apparently does not consider herself a conventional “Hollywood” star. According to a New York Times report, Dennings calls herself “socially weird” and hates attending Hollywood parties. The co-creator of “2 Broke Girls,” Michael Patrick King, also stated that Dennings tended to stay in her apartment on weekends. Part of this non-Hollywood lifestyle is refusing to listen to advice. She has stated that previous casting agents have told her to fix her teeth, dye her hair, and lose weight, all of which she has refused to do. And now she’s a millionaire, so... phooey to them.

#7: Nia Vardalos

Nia Vardalos takes great pride in her Greek heritage and leveraged her lineage to create her most prominent role, that of Toula Portokalos in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” And her agent never saw it coming. When Vardalos was first starting out, her acting agent quit after telling her that she wasn’t pretty enough to be a leading lady and that no one was writing Greek roles. Vardalos channeled her frustration and wrote a one-woman play about a Greek wedding, which was fortuitously seen by Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks. They then helped produce the movie adaptation through Hanks’ company Playtone, and the rest is history.

#6: Mindy Kaling

After leaving college, Mindy Kaling moved to New York and co-wrote a play about Ben Affleck and Matt Damon called “Matt & Ben.” She then moved to Los Angeles and landed a writing gig on “The Office,” where she gradually became one of the show’s most prominent supporting characters. Around this time, she was offered a sketch show at an unnamed and now-defunct network, but hear this: after being personally offered the show, she was forced to audition. For the role of herself. And she didn’t get it because she wasn’t considered attractive enough. For playing herself. Yeah, wrap your head around that one. Suffice it to say, Kaling flourished in spite of the experience.

#5: Viola Davis

In the 2014 article “Wrought in Rhimes’s Image” by Alessandra Stanley, the journalist wrote, “[Davis] doesn’t look at all like the typical star of a network drama”. She then went on to call her “less classically beautiful” than Kerry Washington, another leading lady of a Shonda Rhimes show. Davis responded on “The View,” saying “being a dark-skinned black woman, you hear it from the time you get out of the womb.” She also stated that “classically not beautiful” is a euphemism for being ugly, and that hearing it used to greatly affect her as a child. Classy and eloquent as always, Davis’ response was a poignant and empowering one, and was unsurprisingly praised by many.


#4: Winona Ryder

Winona Ryder attributes her success to playing non-conventional characters. In an interview with, uh, Interview, Ryder says that her first five or six movie roles, including that of Rina in “Lucas,” were specifically written as being non-attractive in the scripts. And, calling herself “unusual looking,” she took to these roles that eventually granted her access to bigger and better things. Ryder also told a story of when she was 15 or 16 and a casting director stopped her mid-sentence to bluntly state that she wasn’t pretty enough for Hollywood and that she should go back to school. Ryder obviously didn’t heed her advice, and it led to a decades-long career in show business.

#3: Lady Gaga

Gaga is quite the glamorous celebrity, so it’s a little weird to hear that people thought she wasn’t pretty enough to make it big. And to think, this was before she started wearing meat to work! An old friend of Gaga’s recently told People that Gaga faced an incredible uphill battle while trying to make it in the music biz. Not only was she not being taken seriously, but she was also being told, without subtlety or tact, that she wasn’t pretty enough to be a mainstream pop artist. She clearly channeled a lot of that frustration into her role as Ally in “A Star Is Born,” a role which has earned her heaps of praise.

#2: Barbra Streisand

It’s no secret that Barbra Streisand has a prominent nose. It’s long-been one of her defining characteristics, and it’s been endlessly parodied and referenced in popular culture over the years. But the fact that she has attained a level of popularity worthy of parody speaks volumes. When Streisand was first starting out, she was often called “too Jewish-looking” and was relentlessly bullied for the size of her nose. She was told, in no uncertain terms, that she would never make it in showbiz because of it, but she refused to get plastic surgery. Her angelic voice and natural ability quickly shut the critics up, proving that talent can take you further than rhinoplasty any day.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

Sarah Jessica Parker

Lea Michele

#1: Meryl Streep

Just imagine being the person who once criticized Meryl Streep! Back in the late ‘70s, Streep was looking to branch out of theater and into film. One of her first auditions was for the 1976 remake of “King Kong” - the one that time has largely forgotten. According to Streep, the producer turned to his son and asked him why he brought in such an ugly woman. Streep in turn scornfully apologized for not being “as beautiful as [she] should be.” Clearly, Streep wasn’t pretty enough for a “King Kong” remake, but she’s now arguably the most admired actress of all time, so really, who came out on top here?
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