Meryl Streep: I Thought I Was Too Ugly to Be an Actress

Meryl Streep
Three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep said she thought she "was too ugly to be an actress" while accepting her honorary doctorate degree from Indiana University on Wednesday, April 16 -- see what else she had to say 

Gasp! Meryl Streep is widely considered the greatest actress in Hollywood, but according to the three-time Oscar winner, becoming a film star seemed very daunting at first — and for an unthinkable reason.

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“I think I was probably like every other girl who puts on a princess dress and expects everyone to pay full and total attention. And most of us grow out of that. I was always in plays, but I thought it was vain to be an actress,” the 64-year-old said while accepting an honorary doctorate from Indiana University on April 16. “Plus, I thought I was too ugly to be an actress. Glasses weren’t fabulous then.”

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“For young women, I would say, don’t worry so much about your weight,” continued the graduate of Vassar College and the Yale School of Drama. “Girls spend way too much time thinking about that, and there are better things.”

Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry Kramer vs Kramer
1979 Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry embrace outdoors in the film ‘Kramer vs Kramer’, directed by Robert Benton. Express/Getty Images

Added Streep, who most would call strikingly beautiful in early films like The Deer Hunter and Sophie’s Choice: “For young men, and women, too, what makes you different or weird, that’s your strength. Everyone tries to look a cookie-cutter kind of way and actually the people who look different are the ones who get picked up. I used to hate my nose. Now I don’t. It’s okay.”

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Streep went on to reveal that she once scheduled a law bar exam, but slept through her alarm. “The rest,” she said, “is history.”

Indeed, since graduating from Yale School of Drama in 1975, the mother of four has racked up 18 Oscar nominations and three wins. (Her first win for Best Supporting Actress in 1979’s Kramer vs. Kramer.) In total, she’s taken home an astounding 119 awards and 172 nominations.

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