Many celebrities make success look easy - almost as if it happened to them overnight. What we don't get to always see is how long a journey they took to get where they are today. Hollywood is obsessed with good looks and stars of today have to be youthful, thin and of flawless beauty. If you don't tick all three of these boxes then you are likely to be booted off a casting couch before your career has even begun.
Unbelievable as it sounds, these following stars were all once told they weren't going to make it because they were either: too ugly, too fat or just not hot enough. We can't imagine how tough it must be to comeback with confidence after such cruel taunts.
Next time you feel like you're not good enough, or someone has tried to bring you down with their mean words, just remember these following stunning celebs were all told they didn't have the looks to make it and they came back bigger than ever.
16 Khloe Kardashian
31-year-old Khloe Kardashian revealed this week that many top stylists refused to work with her because she was "too fat" and on photo shoots they would bluntly tell her, "I just can't work with you."
The reality star revealed to Harper's Bazaar: "I definitely think the fashion industry, and people in general, look at me more now that I've lost weight. Even on shoots, I would never have options for clothing. There would always be this attention on my sisters Kourtney and Kim, but I was too much work for (stylists) or they had nothing in my size. I wasn't even that crazy big!"
Now Khloe has lost 40lbs through a strict workout regime, which involved intense cardio five days a week, she plans to tell those who didn't want to work with her before exactly what the new her thinks. She revealed, "(Now when they approach me) I'm just like, 'F**k you. I'm not going to reward your bad behaviour.'"
Kesha has had some traumatic moments throughout her career and it all stemmed from the beginning when her manager David Sonenberg told her to lose weight. He reportedly demanded from her: "You need to lose weight. I don’t care what you do, take drugs, not eat, stick your finger down your throat."
Kesha's own mother also backed up the claims when she revealed: "He’d say it in certain ways, like ‘Why don’t you try running?’ She was doing everything and not getting thin fast enough, and that’s when she first became bulimic." In January 2014, Kesha was admitted to Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, a rehab facility in Illinois for an eating disorder treatment, after it was confirmed she was suffering with bulimia nervosa. She completed treatment after two months.
Kesha revealed her eating disorder to the press after tabloids accused the star of attending rehab for alcohol dependency. She told Vogue magazine, "I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. It’s been quite a journey. I went to a dark place. There was a lot of not eating—and I started to think being hungry to the point of feeling almost faint was a positive thing." She also added: "The worse it got, the more positive feedback I was getting. Inside I was really unhappy, but outside, people were like, "Wow, you look great.'"
14 Sarah Jessica Parker
Sarah Jessica Parker was labelled by men's magazine Maxim as the "No. 1 Unsexiest Woman Alive." They also claimed she was the "least sexy woman in a group of very unsexy women." Quite often a top actress like Parker, who has a reported net worth of $90 million, would usually shrug off hateful comments but this one really hit home.
She told Grazia magazine that she found the attack "brutal" revealing: "Do I have big fake boobs, Botox and big lips? No. Do I fit some ideals and standards of some men writing in a men's magazine? Maybe not. Am I really the unsexiest woman in the world? Wow! It's kind of shocking when men... It's so brutal in a way, so filled with rage and anger."
The 51-year-old also revealed that the vicious article did not go down well with her husband of 21 years, actor Matthew Broderick. She said: "It upset him because it has to do with his judgement too. It's condemnation, it's insane. What can I do? I guess you can't please all people."
13 Benedict Cumberbatch
Millions of fans fall at the feet of BBC's Sherlock star 39-year-old British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. But this almost wasn't the case as he was once told he didn't have the good looks it required to make it as a star. The executive producer of the show told press at Hay Literature Festival that when it came to casting the role of the world's most famous fictional detective: "With Benedict Cumberbatch, we were told ‘You promised us a sexy Sherlock, not him.'"
Since Sherlock first aired in 2010, he has since starred in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy as Smaug the dragon. In 2013, he featured in blockbuster movies Star Trek into Darkness and 12 Years a Slave. Then in 2014, shortly after the Oscar buzz following his role in The Imitation Game and GQ naming him actor of the year - the world hit optimum Cumberbatch frenzy. For an actor who was once "not sexy enough" - he sure is proving all the doubters wrong.
12 Viola Davis
Viola Davis is killing it right now with ABC's show How To Get Away With Murder as she takes the lead role as Professor Annalise Keating - a high-profile defense attorney who teaches a class at Middleton University. One critic from Los Angeles Times wrote about her performance: "...all eyes are on Davis, Tony winner and Oscar nominee. Magnetic and intimidating, Davis creates an implacable surface beneath which shimmers all manner of fleet and startled emotions."
However, there were some other critics who weren't as favourable. New York Times congratulated Viola on her performance despite her being "less classically beautiful" than other black actresses. In an instant backlash, thousands took to Twitter to start the hashtag: "Lessclassicallybeautiful." Many posted photos of either themselves or their children who they believed didn't fit with the New York Times standard of "beauty."
Viola told The View: "'Classically not beautiful' is a fancy term of saying ugly, and denouncing you, erasing you. Now it worked when I was younger; it no longer works for me now. Because really at the end of the day, you define you."
11 Minka Kelly
American actress Minka Kelly is best known for her TV roles in Friday Night Lights, Parenthood and Charlie's Angels. She also appeared in 2013 film The Butler as Jackie Kennedy and in the Fox's crime drama Almost Human. Her stunning looks come from her French and Irish ancestry, but she was once told to change everything through surgery.
In an interview on The Late Show With David Letterman she revealed the advice she was given to "make-it" in Hollywood. The 35-year-old star told Letterman: "I was 19. She (a Hollywood agent) was very seductive and said that she wanted to manage me and that I had a lot of potential. She said that she could get me a job at this doctor's office in return for plastic surgery which I would need to be a Playboy Playmate."
The unnamed woman gave Letterman a list of improvements the star needed. Minka recalled: "(She said) all I needed was lipo, fake breasts, a few veneers and all kinds of stuff." The actress then took a job at a plastic surgeon's office in a bid to make all the work cheaper. Thankfully when it came to the crunch she decided against going under the knife.
10 Gwyneth Paltrow
Despite being crowned the Most Beautiful Woman In The World by People magazine in 2013, Gwyneth Paltrow had a lot of haters who labelled her "not pretty enough." In 2014, the 5ft 7" beauty launched a beauty campaign with cosmetics giant Max Factor in which she copied the style of Audrey Hepburn's classic look in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
The Twitter comments were not pleasant. The Daily Mail reported Twitter users wrote: "Worst casting ever! Gwyneth could never play Audrey...", "She's not pretty enough to be Audrey!" and "She's not even half the woman Audrey Hepburn was."
In an interview with Glamour magazine, Gwyneth said of her haters: "I’m like, ‘If you want to f**k with me, bring your A-game." Before the Academy Award winner added: "Once in a while, if I’m exhausted and overwhelmed, I’ll be like, ‘Ugh, that bugs me,’ or, ‘That hurt my feelings.’ But very rarely. I don’t lose sleep over it. I don’t care what anybody else thinks…. Maybe when I was 25 that would have been different. But I’m 43 years old, and I know who I am, and I own my mistakes. And when somebody who doesn’t know me has an opinion, it’s none of my business."
9 Kat Dennings
2 Broke Girls actress Kat Dennings scored millions of fans worldwide after bringing in audiences of around 13 million per episode for the CBS show. Executive director Brent Poer said of the star: "Kat is incredibly interesting because she’s the ironic indie girl succeeding in a big, broad comedy. You talk to the other networks, and they all say, ‘I wish I had that show,’ and Kat is a big reason why."
The 30-year-old actress pulls off the indie, natural look like nobody else. Shockingly she might not have been so succesful had she of listened to the critics earlier on in her career. The Telegraph reported in 2012: "Ms. Dennings, pretty with a playful touch of Goth style, points out that she has never followed the early advice casting agents gave her: tighten up your teeth, dye your hair, lose weight, get a tan."
Thankfully Kat went the other way and stayed true to herself because fans couldn't imagine her any other way.
8 Kate Winslet
During a speech at British children's theatre Starmaker, Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet revealed she never gave up on her dreams despite being told she was "too fat" and her "feet were the wrong size."
The Steve Jobs actress also claimed when she picked up her BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress: "When I was 14, I was told by a drama teacher that I might do OK if I was happy to settle for the fat girl parts." She added: "So what I always feel in these moments is that any young woman who has ever been put down by a teacher, by a friend, by even a parent, just don’t listen to any of it, because that’s what I did – I kept on going and I overcame my fears and got over my insecurities."
June Rose who taught Kate Winslet at drama school told The Telegraph: "She did not have what you might call a dancer's body and, because she and the other girls spent most of the time in leotards, she could not help but be aware of it. Her weight used to go up and down like a yo-yo." In a previous interview she said: "She wasn't fabulously good-looking, but we always thought she was an extremely good actress. We made her head girl because she was a natural leader, and sensible."
7 Lea Michele
Glee actress Lea Michele was told at a young age that if she wanted to make it big in Hollywood she would need to get a nose job. In an interview with Allure magazine, she revealed: "When I was 15, my mother and I went to meet a manager who said, ‘You have to get a nose job in order for me to work with you. My mother would say to me, ‘Barbra Streisand never got a nose job. You’re not getting a nose job.’ And this was before I really even knew who Barbra was. I just knew that she was, like, the messiah for girls like me."
At the age of 20-years-old, Lea landed a starring role on Broadway (that also required a nude scene) for the play Spring Awakening. Soon after in 2009, she was snapped up for the role of Rachel Berry in the hit series Glee and the rest is showbiz history.
The Bronx-born beauty was under scrutiny again in 2010 when pictures emerged of her looking slightly underweight and fans blamed her strict vegan diet. Lea laughed off the suggestions she wasn't eating well and joked with Allure magazine: "People get confused, like, you know, I just eat grass. I’m half Italian. I can eat some b****es under the table.”
6 Taylor Lautner
Taylor Lautner's breakout role as Jacob Black in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight movie adaption did not come easy for him. He originally starred in the first edition of the saga as Jacob Black the close friend of Bella Swan who was played by Kristen Stewart. Then for the sequel, New Moon, director Chris Weitz wanted to recast someone new in the role of Jacob Black. The character increases massively in size as he transforms into a werewolf and nobody believed he would look sexy enough for the role.
To prove himself, Taylor weight-trained extensively everyday and gained around 30 pounds of muscle. His personal trainer Nathan Mellalieu, who trained the star in Canada, told Men's Fitness they would also replace one weight training session a week with a circuit of five pull-ups, ten press-ups, and fifteen bodyweight squats. They would then compete to see who could do the most circuits in 20 minutes. His transformation shocked co-star Robert Pattinson so much that he told NBC: "I saw him and thought 'Jesus, I'm going to get fired.'"
Since the movie premiered, the 24-year-old has become an international sex symbol. He landed second place on Glamour's "The 50 Sexiest Men of 2010" list, and fourth on People's "Most Amazing Bodies" list. In 2011, he was named the highest-paid teenage actor in Hollywood - making all that extra time in the gym worth it.
5 Mindy Kaling
Mindy Kaling is a comedy genius. She has proven her hilarious abilities on her shows The Mindy Project, where she serves as star, executive producer and writer for the show. Kailing played the role of Kelly Kapoor on the NBC sitcom The Office, where she also the served as executive producer, writer and director.
Considering she is now one of the most successful comedians in the world it is a shock to believe she was once told she couldn't even play herself. Mindy told The Guardian she endured a "humiliating" experience when she was offered her own sketch show, but the network made her audition and then rejected her. She revealed she was: "Not considered attractive or funny enough to play (herself)". But the funny woman got the last laugh as she added: "That network is no longer on the air, and The Office went on to be one of NBC's biggest shows in years. I feel like karmically, I was vindicated, but at the time it felt terrible."
Mindy considers herself to a be role model and takes her public role seriously. She said: "I get angry with people in the public eye who say they're not a role model, and they don't want people to look up to them. Because it's incorrect. It's important for me to be someone people look up to – most directly, minority girls who want to do what I do. Maybe it's narcissistic, but I think it's important."
4 Winona Ryder
In 1990, actress Winona Ryder earned a Golden Globe nomination for her praised role in Tim Burton's dark fairy-tale Edward Scissorhands, where she starred alongside Jonny Depp. Although if she had listened to earlier critics, she may not have had the confidence to achieve such an amazing career.
She told Interview magazine: "I remember one time in particular. 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.'"
Thankfully her parents had always taught her to be true to herself. She added: "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." Well they were right as Winona became a cult figure and hero for girls all over the world.
3 Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon has always lead a very down-to-earth lifestyle. Born in Nashville, she told The Daily Mail: "I thought I was going to be a doctor. But I started becoming more successful as an actress." The Legally Blonde star then went to college to pursue acting full time. She revealed, "You have to be focused and tough because it takes a tenacious personality to deal with rejection. When I first came here (to LA), all I heard was, 'No, not right – not tall enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough.' But I didn’t really care about their opinions. I’m stubborn."
Her stubbornness paid off when she landed her first leading role in Pleasantville followed by critically acclaimed parts in Cruel Intentions, Sweet Home Alabama, Vanity Fair and Just Like Heaven. Her proudest moment of her acting career was winning an Academy Award for her portrayal of Johnny Cash's second wife, June Carter Cash, in the 2005 movie Walk the Line.
She claimed she always uses her fame for great good and has since become the Global Ambassador for the cosmetic company Avon, and helps campaign to stop violence against women.
2 Chrissy Teigan
Don't talk to Chrissy Teigan about fashion label Forever 21 because when she first started her career they weren't very nice to her at all. The wife of singer John Legend and host of Lip Sync Battle told Sports Illustrated, "Forever 21 booked me directly when I was much younger. And I showed up on set, and they asked me if they could take a photo. And they shoot that photo off to my agency, who then calls me as I'm sitting in the makeup chair. And they say, 'You need to leave right now. They just said you are fat, and you need to come get your measurements taken.'"
Has she forgiven the retailers for being so cruel to her? Not at all - as she ranted in the interview: "I hate you, Forever 21. I hate you so much. Honestly, you're the worst." Chrissy has won over millions of adoring fans worldwide with her witty comebacks on Twitter to trolls. She told Self magazine: "If I’m passionate about something, I’ll say it and deal with the consequences later."
Adele is one of the most successful artists in the world with sales of over 100 million she has gone platinum many times over. Her voice is recognized almost everywhere and she can sell out world tours in a matter of minutes. Yet one person who doesn't have a nice word to say about her is Chanel's creative director Karl Lagerfeld. In an interview with British newspaper Metro, he stated, "The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat."
Not one to take such a horrible dig, Adele hit back during an interview with People magazine. The Someone Like You singer said, "I've never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I'm very proud of that."
She also added on air with Anderson Cooper during his show: "I don't want to be some skinny mini with my t*** out. I really don't want to do it and I don't want people confusing what it is that I'm about." Fans of Adele were proud that she didn't backdown to the remarks and that she continues to be her wonderful self.