Winona Ryder: I Was Told I Wasn't Pretty Enough to Be in Movies

Entertainment May. 8, 2013 AT 7:45AM
Winona Ryder: I Was Told I Wasn't Pretty Enough to Be in Movies Credit: Craig McDean

With age comes wisdom -- and beauty! Winona Ryder, 41, covers the latest issue of Interview magazine, and not only does she offer great insights into what it was like to come of age in Hollywood and how the business of fame has changed since the early '90s, she also looks drop-dead gorgeous. Speaking of the time when she and Reality Bites costar Ethan Hawke were Tinseltown's brightest young things, the actress said, "We were just at that age, and everyone was telling us how great we were all the time, so we were sort of buying into it a little bit. But then you get older and you kind of . . . I'm not saying you cringe, but you're like, 'Oh, god.' "

Ryder has great empathy for current young starlets like Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence. "I have to say, I really wonder if I would become an actress if I was their age now. I've only seen part of Twilight [2008], but I've seen their other work and they're both super-talented. I don't know how they do it, though, in just trying to maintain some degree of a personal life and privacy," said Ryder, who bought her first iPhone not long ago.

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The actress, whose waifish look and serious acting chops first attracted notice in cult hits like Lucas and Heathers, also revealed that she lost more than a few roles because she was "not pretty enough." "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 was very blunt -- I honestly think that she thought she was doing me a favor."

Winona Ryder poses for Interview Magazine
Winona Ryder poses for Interview Magazine
Credit: Craig McDean

"I was around 15 or 16. 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," Ryder continued.

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That sentiment wasn't always shared by the people who handled her. "I know that the agent I had at the time told me that if I did Heathers, I would never work again. It was so offensive. But I know so many actors with similar stories. I mean, thank god that River [Phoenix] and Keanu [Reeves] did My Own Private Idaho [1991]. Thank god that Johnny [Depp] did Cry-Baby [1990]," Ryder said of her former flame.

The actress is currently getting terrific reviews for her performance as a hitman's wife in The Iceman.

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