Well, this is depressing.
Meryl Streep spoke at a benefit event in New Jersey over the weekend, where she touched on her early career insecurities, the reasons why she “related” to Lady Gaga’s character in A Star is Born, and what it apparently takes to break into the acting these days.
Speaking to Late Show host Stephen Colbert at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Dec. 1, the Oscar-winning actress shared some bleak news she recently heard from a casting director, per NJArts.net:
I recently talked to a very wonderful casting director, and he said that he was casting the second iteration of Spring Awakening, which is a very young cast, and that they had been asked not to see anybody who didn’t have more than 5,000 followers on their Twitter site… In my day, the way you would break in (to acting) is to be seen in a play. You’d do anything. You’d wait on tables, sleep on the floor of your friend’s apartment. Now, apparently, if you want to be in a play, you, I guess, do something on YouTube that makes people want to look at you. This is a world that I don’t understand.
Woof. This totally applies to digital news media, too. I sometimes joke that I use Twitter to convince editors I’m hot and/or funny enough to be deemed worthy of reporting assignments that have nothing to do with being either hot or funny, and then I laugh and laugh and throw myself down the stairs.
Anyway! Meryl also reflected back on her early days in the business, Page Six reports, and how insecure she used to be about the way she looks. She said that Lady Gaga’s character in A Star is Born—an aspiring singer-songwriter who’s been told by record label execs that she’ll never succeed because her nose is too big—really spoke to her because she, too, used to think that her “nose was too big” to make it as a film actor. She said that she regrets giving those insecurities any weight, considering how her male contemporaries almost certainly weren’t racked with anxiety over the way that they looked.
[Even today,] I’ll come upon a movie, and I’m in it, and I’m really young and very beautiful, and I’ll think, ‘I was so unhappy.’ I thought my nose was too big, I thought I was fat…and I’ll think, ‘What was I thinking?’
…Every woman in this room thinks about her weight. ‘If only it were 10 pounds less…’ We are so judged by how we look… We inevitably allow ourselves to be the object of ‘What should I wear tonight?’ ‘Is my hair clean?’ You think about these things. Men do not think about these things.