10 Celebrities Who Were Once Told They Weren’t ‘Pretty Enough’ to Succeed

Rachel Krause
10 Celebrities Who Were Once Told They Weren’t ‘Pretty Enough’ to Succeed
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We don’t want to live in a world where women like Gigi Hadid and Jessica Chastain are considered unattractive—but, as far as Hollywood’s concerned, that’s the world we live in. The industry has a long, storied history of telling gorgeous, talented women that they just don’t have what it takes.

Needless to say, they did have what it takes, and they’re doing just fine. (It’s their naysayers that are probably suffering.) These 10 gorgeous models and actresses spent the beginning of their careers being told they just weren’t pretty enough to achieve their goals. False.

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Gigi Hadid
She may be one of the most formidable names in modeling—and pop culture—right now, but Gigi was rejected from Victoria's Secret twice before landing the gig and was told by multiple agencies that she was too big to be a mainstream model. "When I first went to visit different agencies in New York, a lot of them were like, 'You have to lose a lot of weight," she told the Daily Mail.

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Gwyneth Paltrow
Paltrow played Audrey Hepburn in an ad campaign for Max Factor cosmetics—and despite being crowned the Most Beautiful Woman Alive by People in 2013, critics still said she "wasn't pretty enough" to be styled after the beloved actress and humanitarian.

Photo: Jeff Vespa/Getty Images

Jessica Chastain
Chastain told the Telegraph, "Trust me, it’s only been in the past five years that people have been telling me I’m attractive. Before then, I wasn’t getting parts because people kept telling me I wasn’t pretty enough."

Photo: Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images

Kat Dennings
The 2 Broke Girls star told the New York Times that, early on in her career, casting agents told her to "tighten up her teeth, dye her hair, lose weight, and get a tan." She did none of those things … and turned out fine.

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Maggie Gyllenhaal
Despite her established career, Gyllenhaal told the Hollywood Reporter that she still is told she's "not sexy enough" for certain roles.

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Meryl Streep
In a January 2015 episode of The Graham Norton Show, Streep recalled her 1976 audition for King Kong with producer Dino De Laurentiis. De Laurentiis turned to his son, who had seen Meryl in a play and brought her in for the audition, and asked him in Italian, "Why do you bring me this ugly thing?" Streep, who speaks Italian, responded, "I'm sorry I'm not beautiful enough to be in King Kong."

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Mindy Kaling
When Kaling first pitched a sketch show to a major network, she weathered a "humiliating" experience: They offered her the show but then made her audition for the role of herself. She was rejected. She told the Guardian, "We were not considered attractive or funny enough to play ourselves."

Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Minka Kelly
Kelly told David Letterman back in 2011 that she was approached by a former Playboy Playmate at the beginning of her career. "I was 19. She was very seductive and said that she wanted to manage me and that I had a lot of potential," Kelly said. "She 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." All she needed, apparently, was "lip, fake breasts, a few veneers, and all kinds of stuff." She took the job for about a month before accepting that plastic surgery just wasn't for her. "When I told her that I didn't want that, she said I would never be Playmate of the Year, and I said, 'I think that's okay. I'm okay with that.'"

Photo: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

Viola Davis
This one is seriously gross: An article in the New York Times—written by a woman, no less—openly called Davis "less classically beautiful" than Kerry Washington. Naturally, the talented leading lady addressed the situation during an appearance on The View, saying, "Being a dark-skinned Black woman, you heard it from the womb. And ‘classically not beautiful’ is a fancy term for saying ugly. And denouncing you. And erasing you."

Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Winona Ryder
Before she was a '90s icon and one of our favorite grunge-era It-girls, Ryder was just an upstart actress—who was told she wasn't pretty enough for Hollywood. She shared in an Interview magazine spread from 2013, "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.'" Luckily, she added, "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."

Photo: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

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