Hollywood and the world of modeling have their own beauty standards to which newcomers are expected to adhere to, but those expectations often go out the window when someone special comes to town. Here are twenty-four people who were given the industry’s usual putdown about not being attractive, slim or talented enough, before they became some of the most successful people in the business.
1. Lea Michele
“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,'” the Bronx-born actress revealed. Fortunately, she decided not to follow up on that advice.
Source: Instagram | @leamichele
The singer’s mother claimed that Kesha was once instructed to lose 15 pounds in one month. “I’ll be unavailable for the next 30 days, seeking treatment for my eating disorder,” Kesha later posted.
Source: Instagram | @iiswhoiis
3. Winona Ryder
A casting director once supposedly told Ryder, “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.”
4. Mindy Kaling
A network once offered the comedian a sketch show and then proceeded to reject her for the part of herself. “We were not considered attractive or funny enough to play ourselves,” the actress said.
Source: Instagram | @mindykaling
5. Taylor Lautner
The 25-year-old was told he needed to bulk up considerably in order to play Jacob in the Twilight series.
“I just weighed myself today; I’ve put on 19 pounds. I’m guaranteeing director Weitz 10 more by filming,” he said at the time.
Source: Instagram | @taylorlautner
6. Reese Witherspoon
The actress has spoken about how she didn’t find it easy when she moved to Hollywood from Louisiana. “When I first came here, all I heard was, ‘No, not right — not tall enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough.’ But I didn’t really care about their opinions. I’m stubborn.” Good on you for persisting, Reese!
Source: Instagram | @reesewitherspoon
7. Kat Dennings
The 2 Broke Girls star has revealed how during the early days of her career, casting agents told her to tighten up her teeth, dye her hair, lose weight, and get a tan.
Source: Instagram | @katdenningsss
8. Kate Winslet
The English actress revealed how when she was a teenager, she was regularly dismissed for stage roles due to being “too fat” or because of her feet being “the wrong size.” Not much later, she won an Oscar.
Source: Instagram | @winslet0r_
9. Jessica Chastain
“Only in the past five years have people been telling me I’m attractive,” the Californian actress explained. “Before then, I wasn’t getting parts because people kept telling me I wasn’t pretty enough.”
Source: Instagram | @jessicachastain
10. Chrissy Teigen
The in-demand model revealed how she was once fired from a Forever 21 photoshoot for being “too fat.”
They told her, “You need to leave right now. They just said that you are fat and you need to get your measurements taken.”
Source: Instagram | @chrissyteigen
11. Jennifer Lawrence
“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,” the 26-year-old Oscar winner who is currently the world’s highest-paid actress revealed.
12. Minka Kelly
The actress admitted how when she was 19, a potential agent said “that she could get me a job at this doctor’s office in return for plastic surgery which I would need to be a Playboy Playmate.”
Source: Instagram | @minkakelly
13. Judi Dench
When she was starting out as an actress, one director told the Academy Award winner, “I’m sorry, you won’t ever make a film because your face is wrongly arranged.”
Source: Instagram | @judi_daily
14. Amy Adams
The Italian-born actress explained, “Based on the roles that I was getting called in for, people were responding to certain types of characters with me as a blonde and the minute I went red, it was quirky and fun instead of flirtatious and dumb.”
Source: Reddit | [deleted]
15. Benedict Cumberbatch
“You promised us a sexy Sherlock, not him,” some parts of the public and the media commented when Benedict was cast as Sherlock Holmes. Four series later, hardly anyone can imagine someone else embodying the London detective.
Source: Instagram | @cumberstevens
16. Ashley Benson
The star of Pretty Little Liars revealed how her weight has “come up a few times in the last few years, like, ‘You’re too fat for this.’ And I’m just sitting here like, ‘Wait, what? Do you want a skeleton?'”
Source: Instagram | @ashleybenson
17. Kelly Clarkson
When journalist Katie Hopkins unleashed a series of cruel tweets about the singer’s weight, Kelly responded: “I’ve just never cared what people think. It’s more if I’m happy and I’m confident and feeling good, that’s always been my thing.”
Source: Instagram | @kellyclarkson
18. Tyra Banks
The supermodel revealed that when she was 22 years old, her agency requested that she lose 10 pounds. She also disclosed how her agency gave her a printed out a list of designers that wouldn’t book her due to the size of her hips.
Source: Instagram | @tyrabanks
19. Ashley Graham
“I had agencies telling me that I had to lose weight,” the Nebraska-born model admitted. “I had one that waved money in my face and said, ‘If you lose more ‘lb’s’ — pounds — you can make a lot more of this.'”
Source: Instagram | @theashleygraham
20. Karlie Kloss
The model revealed, “I was called both too fat and too thin by a casting agent on the same day.” She later explained, “I don’t want to please anyone but myself.” Perhaps that’s the only attitude that leads to success.
Source: Instagram | @karliekloss
21. Jennifer Lopez
When an agent told the singer/actress to lose weight, she fired him immediately. “I was like: ‘No, this is who I am and this is the type of woman that I grew up with and it’s beautiful,'” the New Yorker replied.
Source: Instagram | @jlo
22. Kate Beckinsale
The London-born actress revealed how Pearl Harbour director Michael Bay instructed she lose weight. “I’d just had my daughter and had lost weight but was told that if I got the part I’d have to work out and I just didn’t understand why a 1940s nurse would do that,” she said.
Source: Instagram | @katebeckinsale
23. Cara Delevingne
“It’s horrible living in a world where I’ll get a call from someone saying, ‘So-and-so says you were partying a lot and you were looking this way and you need to lose weight.’ It makes me so angry,” the popular model/actress once stated.
Source: Instagram | @caradelevingne
24. Nina Agdal
The model candidly admitted, “There have been times when people have told me to lose weight or tone up certain areas. It hurts no matter who you are and how skinny you are or how big you are. If somebody tells you to lose weight, it is like a punch in the face.”