Florence Pugh’s appearance was “ripped apart” by Hollywood executives when she went to Los Angeles for the first time.
The British actress made her film debut as a teenager in Carol Morley’s 2014 indie drama The Falling and was subsequently cast in a Hollywood TV pilot called Studio City, alongside Heather Graham and Eric McCormack, two years later.
Florence soon realised that her experience on The Falling, in which the actresses were made to “feel completely comfortable in our own skins”, was not the industry standard.
“I went from being on this little feature where women were praised for looking the way they were and not knowing or caring about our best angles,” she told Britain’s ES magazine. “Suddenly everything I was, everything Carol loved me for — my looks, who I am as a person — was getting ripped apart.”
The pilot never made it to air and the Little Women star went home, vowing to never return to L.A. until she had a better sense of who she was.
“When you go out there as a baby-face, fresh thing who is eager to please, they will make you into whatever they need to make you sell, essentially,” the 24-year-old explained. “You need to know exactly what you are representing when you go into meetings so if someone says, ‘That’s really cool you don’t pluck your eyebrows,’ that you don’t f**king, like, die and whimper… No, I don’t want you to cut my hair. No, I don’t want you to wax my upper lip. I have a face and hair grows out of it. Please leave me alone.”
Florence bounced back from that failure by playing leading lady Katherine in the 2016 period drama Lady Macbeth, in which she spends a lot of time nude, and the part helped her regain her confidence in her appearance.
“Katherine changed everything. I loved the fact she was naked all the time. At that point in my life, I had been made to feel s**t about what I looked like and that film was perfect, there was no room for me to feel insecure,” she stated.
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