The Struggle Florence Pugh Faced Early In Her Career

Long before the "Don't Worry Darling" drama gripped fans as much as any good thriller or horror-mystery could, British actor Florence Pugh discovered the allure of telling a good fictional story in front of a live audience. "This may scream alarm bells, but I love the power of being on stage," she told The Last Magazine. But her career path would quickly veer from where she expected it to go when an open casting call scored her a role in the 2014 film, "The Falling." She was 17 when she traded the stage for the screen, and just two years later, she landed the lead in "Lady Macbeth." Thus, began her meteoric rise, which included the chilling horror film "Midsommar," Greta Gerwig's take on "Little Women," and a visit to the MCU in "Black Widow."

Pugh has earned a reputation for portraying complex female characters who often have a fierceness about them, whether she's conquering opponents in the wrestling ring in "Fighting with My Family" or using her cunning to ruthlessly outwit the men around her as a confined woman with limited means in "Lady Macbeth." Pugh told ShortList of the latter, "She's a strong female who wants to have an active role in changing her circumstances, and correctly believes she deserves better." This could also describe Pugh's early experience in Hollywood, but the actor found a far less diabolical way to get what she deserves. 

Florence Pugh was pressured to change her appearance

Before Florence Pugh got the opportunity to exact her vengeance on the patriarchy as the villainous Katherine in "Lady Macbeth," she headed to Hollywood to try her luck during pilot season and was cast as a pop star in a series titled "Studio City." She couldn't believe her luck — but things started falling apart when she discovered how mercilessly superficial Hollywood can be. "All the things that they were trying to change about me — whether it was my weight, my look, the shape of my face, the shape of my eyebrows — that was so not what I wanted to do, or the industry I wanted to work in," Pugh told The Telegraph.

In an interview with Vogue, Pugh confessed that she felt relief when the pilot didn't get picked up, but the experience left her questioning whether she wanted to work in Hollywood. She credited "Lady Macbeth" with renewing her faith in the film industry.

But, just like Katherine, she's had to develop a thick skin. When Pugh clapped back at critics of her decision to wear a pink tulle dress with a sheer bodice and nothing underneath it, her response could have been directed at those "Studio City" execs. She wrote on Instagram, "It has always been my mission in this industry to say 'f*** it and f*** that' whenever anyone expects my body to morph into an opinion of what's hot or sexually attractive."