During a Roundtable with the Hollywood Reporter, the actor said, "My agent called me and was like, 'I’m so embarrassed to make this call, but there’s a big movie, and they’re going to offer it to you. They really love your work on [Shameless]. But the director wants you to come into his office in a bikini. There’s no audition. That’s all you have to do.' He wanted to know if I was fat now. That was basically the question. And I actually had this moment like, 'Well, how good is the part?' For a second, I was like, 'Would I do it? Send me the script. Maybe the character is in a bikini in the movie.' [She’s] not in a bikini in the movie."
During a 2020 interview with Variety, the actor shared that a casting person once requested that she "be more like Hello Kitty." Lana recalled, 'I just was like, 'I don’t know what you mean.' I straight up — you kind of have to call that out. Also, Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth. [So, as] a woman, I’m like, 'You want me to be more like Hello Kitty, but she doesn’t have a voice.' That’s so insulting to me."
During an interview with Vulture, the actor shared one of the reasons she turned down the opportunity to join Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz in Charlie's Angels. "One of the biggest movies I didn’t end up doing was because the director said to me, 'I can’t wait for this. The first shot is going to be…You’re going to think it’s, like, yellow lines down a road, and you pull back, and you realize it’s the stitching, because the denim is so tight on your ass it’s going to look like tarmac.' I was like, 'Oh, I don’t think we’re going to go down this road together.'"
During a 2015 interview with the Wrap, she said, "There are things that are really disappointing about being an actress in Hollywood that surprise me all the time. I’m 37, and I was told recently I was too old to play the lover of a man who was 55. It was astonishing to me. It made me feel bad, and then it made me feel angry, and then it made me laugh."
On an episode of The Graham Norton Show, the actor said, "I don’t think I fit the type of actress Michael Bay — the director — had met before. I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head, and I wasn’t blonde. I'd just had my daughter and had lost weight, but was told that if I got the part, I'd have to work out, and I just didn't understand why a 1940s nurse would do that."
"When we were promoting [Pearl Harbor], Michael was asked why he had chosen Ben [Affleck] and Josh [Hartnett], and he said, 'I have worked with Ben before, and I love him, and Josh is so manly and a wonderful actor.' Then, when he was asked about me, he’d say, 'Kate wasn’t so attractive that she would alienate the female audience.' He kept saying it everywhere we went, and we went to a lot of places."
6.Kelly Marie Tran
After making history as the first woman of color to land a leading role in Star Wars, the actor was bombarded with sexist and racist comments online, leading her to quit social media. During a 2021 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, she said, "If someone doesn’t understand me or my experience, it shouldn’t be my place to have to internalize their misogyny or racism or all of the above. Maybe they just don’t have the imagination to understand that there are different types of people living in the world."
In 2015, the actor told the Evening Standard, "There are a lot of roles that come in that are 'the girlfriend' or 'the hot piece' in a movie or TV series. That’s something I’ve seen first-hand and read all the time. It will say 'Derek: intelligent, good with kids, funny, really good at this,' and then it will say 'Sandra: hot in a sort of cute way' — and that’s all you get. That’s the way your character is described, so going into an audition, you are channeling 'hot,' which isn’t, like, a person, that’s not who a person is."
During a Roundtable with the Hollywood Reporter, the actor said, "I’ve always been fascinated by how much more well-behaved we have to be than men. I got a moniker of being 'the diva,' which I never felt I deserved — which I don’t deserve — because I’ve always been a hard worker, on time, professional, and getting that label because you reach a certain amount of success…I was always fascinated by how I could see [a man] being late or being belligerent to a crew and it being totally acceptable; meanwhile, I would show up 15 minutes late and be berated."
During a Women in the World speech, the actor discussed how the gender pay gap in Hollywood is even wider for Black women. "A lot of the women who've stepped forward — and I stand in solidarity with them, okay? — what they're getting paid, which is half of what a man is getting paid, well, we get probably a tenth of what a Caucasian woman gets. And I'm number one on the call sheet. And then, I have to go in and hustle for my worth."
Nowadays, the actor is known around the world for her action and martial arts roles. But back in the beginning of her career, the stunt trainers doubted her abilities. Last year, Michelle told the Guardian, "They literally folded their arms, stood back, and watched me. 'This little thing wants to do all this?' But I followed them move for move. I was in that gym 8:30 a.m. until sundown every day."
She also faced sexism from her male costars. When asked if it was true that Jackie Chan thought women belonged in the kitchen rather than in action movies, she replied, "He used to. Until I kicked his butt."
During a 2016 interview with Allure, the actor shared, "A producer said, 'I hired you to look good in your underwear holding a gun.' I was told walking into this project that they really wanted me for the part, and that any input or ideas I had to please share them. That’s what I was doing, and this producer was so bothered by the fact that he had to disrupt his vacation to call me and tell me to stop being a difficult bitch. I thought, 'Wow, it’s real. It really happens.'"
The actor told Insider that she once costarred in a Bollywood movie where she was paid significantly less than her male counterpart. "A producer-director said to me, 'Well, you know how it is in these big tentpole movies with the big boys. This is the budget for the girl, and we can't move beyond that,' which was a measly 5% of what [the male lead] was getting."
During a 2017 interview with Porter, the actor said, "I was talking about [being a woman in the industry] with another actress, and I said, 'Do you find that you have to say the same things seven times, whereas a man says it once and everyone listens?' Male counterparts can say the same thing [I just did], and everyone’s like, 'Oh, that’s a great idea,' and I’m like, 'I just said that 19 times, but you chose not to listen or take it on board.'"
During a 2015 Roundtable with the Hollywood Reporter, the actor said, "I was up for a role and auditioned in character. They’re like, 'We love her. But can she come back in with a tight black dress?' I said, 'That doesn’t make any sense for the character.' They were like, 'We need to know if you’re pretty enough to be on the cover of a magazine.'"
During a 2019 interview with Glamour UK, the actor said that she was asked sexist questions about aging that her male colleagues didn't face during their Captain Marvel press tour. "Discussions around aging have been a way of controlling women, making women feel insecure about ourselves, and as if they aren’t adequate," she said. "We need to change things, especially in the beauty industry. The aging process is going to happen to all of us — how are we going to deal with it? I think 'anti-aging' is a prehistoric term."
During the 2017 Women at Sundance brunch, the actor recalled how ABC was praised for "taking a risk" by casting a Black woman as the lead of a TV show. "Black people consume content more than anybody else in this country, and women are 51 percent of the population, and so, why do we allow the myth of risk to exist?" she asked.
17.And finally, Mila Kunis
In an open letter on A Plus, the actor wrote, "'You’ll never work in this town again.' A cliché to be sure, but also what a producer threatened when I refused to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote our film. I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naïve compromise that I had previously been willing to. 'I will never work in this town again?' I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career, I said no."
"It’s what we are conditioned to believe — that if we speak up, our livelihoods will be threatened; that standing our ground will lead to our demise. We don’t want to be kicked out of the sandbox for being a 'bitch.' So, we compromise our integrity for the sake of maintaining the status quo and hope that change is coming."
Any other celebs who've opened up about the sexism they faced in Hollywood? LMK in the comments below.
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