Celebs Who Were Apparently 'Too Ugly' For Hollywood

As if Hollywood didn't give non-celebrities enough of a beauty complex, even talented stars have been shamed in the entertainment industry because of their looks. It may be hard to imagine, but some of the most successful actresses in showbiz were once told they weren't attractive enough to make it in Tinsel Town. Here are a few celebs who proved all their haters wrong.

Meryl Streep

She's the most Oscar-nominated actor of all time, but there was a time when Meryl Streep couldn't turn every head in the room. On The Graham Norton Show, the star of Sophie's Choice recalled a 1976 audition for King Kong. Producer Dino De Laurentiis asked his son in Italian, "Why did you bring me this ugly thing?" Sassy Streep responded back, in perfect Italian, "I'm sorry I'm not pretty enough to be in King Kong."

Sarah Jessica Parker

Sarah Jessica Parker will forever be known as fashionista love columnist Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, but even with a well established acting career, Parker has continued to endure harsh criticism about her looks. Maxim even named her its "Unsexiest Woman Alive" in 2008, which makes us think someone should definitely publish an "Unsexiest Maxim Employees" list.

Lea Michele

She encouraged young girls all over the world by unapologetically playing the unpopular girl on Glee. It seems Lea Michele may have been able to relate to her character's struggles because at age 13, a Hollywood manager told her she needed a nose job as soon as possible. "Obviously, I didn't get it done," Michele told talk show host Chelsea Handler in 2014. As for the manager? "Wherever she is, she can go f— herself," she said.

Chrissy Teigen

Supermodel Chrissy Teigen was once kicked out of a photo shoot for being too fat. She told DuJour that employees at Forever 21 hired her directly, but changed their mind after seeing her in person. The clothing store reportedly 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 highly-coveted Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue,  marry Grammy-winning musician John Legend, and start a family, but she still hasn't forgotten that mall store dig. "I hate you, Forever 21," she told DuJour. "...Honestly, you're the worst."

Mindy Kaling

The Mindy Project is one of the best comedies on television, and it's all thanks to Mindy Kaling's portrayal of the lovable, beautiful, and clever Dr. Mindy Lahiri. The hit show is created, written, and produced by Kaling, but guess what? Prior to the Project, Kaling told The Guardian that another network once offered her a sketch comedy show, made her audition for the part of herself, and then wouldn't cast her because she wasn't pretty enough. Kaling clearly got the last laugh. "I feel like karmically, I was vindicated, but at the time it felt terrible," she said.

Minka Kelly

Imagine this: You're a 19-year-old aspiring actress, and a former Playboy Playmate says she can help you. The catch: you have to spend a few weeks with a plastic surgeon to create a more voluptuous body. It sounds like being asked to take candy from a stranger, but this is the true story of actress Minka Kelly, as told to late night host David Letterman. Kelly turned down the bunny and hopped on over to the hit series Friday Night Lights instead.

Jessica Chastain

She may be one of the most beautiful and talented actresses in Hollywood today, but once upon a time, Jessica Chastain's looks were actually preventing her from getting parts. "Only in the past five years have people been telling me I'm attractive," she told The Telegraph (via Just Jared) in 2015. "Before then, I wasn't getting parts because people kept telling me I wasn't pretty enough."

Like many actresses before her, the star of Zero Dark Thirty was told to change appearance in order to nab auditions. On the list of suggested improvements: her now-signature red hair. "People would tell me to dye my hair blonde when I first started auditioning," Chastain said. "Funny how defined we are by how we present ourselves."

Winona Ryder

When you think back to all the beautiful actresses from the '80s and '90s, one person who continually comes to mind is Winona Ryder, but even she had a rough time landing parts in Hollywood, especially when she was starting out.

"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 told Interview magazine. "She was very blunt—I honestly think that she thought she was doing me a favor."

Ryder said the casting director's words would have crushed her had it not been for her parents. "I was around 15 or 16 [when it happened]," she said. "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."

Reese Witherspoon

If you ever wondered how Reese Witherspoon channeled Elle Woods' courage and conviction in Legally Blonde, it might have come from past experience. Yep, even this Southern belle was told her looks couldn't cut it in Hollywood.

"You have to be focused and tough because it takes a tenacious personality to deal with rejection," Witherspoon told the Daily Mail in 2011. "When I first came here (to LA), all I heard was, 'No, not right–not tall enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough.'"

How'd she get through it? By simply not giving a you-know-what. "I didn't really care about their opinions," she admitted. "I'm stubborn." Well, thank God for that.

Nia Vardalos

Of all the showbiz A-listers out there, few had a tougher road to success than My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos. "Years ago, I could not get a job if you paid me," she told More magazine in 2012. "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.'"

Vardalos—whose hit movie and sequel have grossed more than $300 million—said she took those criticisms and channeled them into success. "I drove home and thought if being Greek was the problem, I am going to make it the solution," she said. "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 rest, as you know, is history.

Lizzy Caplan

Speaking to Los Angeles Confidential in 2014, Mean Girls star Lizzy Caplan revealed she experienced a few "you can't sit with us!" moments while trying to land roles on television early in her career. "I've always felt like the underdog—partly because I've been told that I'm the underdog, pretty explicitly, on many occasions," she said. Case in point: the time she and actress friend Lindsay Sloane were told they weren't pretty enough for the The WB television network. The girls later joked about making T-shirts that said, "I AM WB PRETTY."

Things obviously worked out for Caplan in the end. Not only did she co-star in Mean Girls, but she also earned an Emmy nomination for her work on Masters of Sex. "In retrospect, I'm so grateful it took as long as it did [to become successful], because I've been able to slowly acclimate to these changes instead of an overnight success story," she told Los Angeles Confidential.

Kat Dennings

A 2012 profile for The New York Times revealed that Kat Dennings was told to fix just about everything about her look when she was starting out in the business: "tighten up your teeth, dye your hair, lose weight, get a tan," were just some of the recommendations she heard. Dennings proved as stubborn as her character on 2 Broke Girls and didn't change a thing. She's now making millions, as is.