According to US Weekly, the humble thespian spoke about her "vein" profession while accepting an honorary doctorate from Indiana University on April 16.
Streep confessed that early on in her career she worried her looks would hold her back from Hollywood success.
"I thought I was too ugly to be an actress. Glasses weren't fabulous then," the 64-year-old told an audience of graduates. "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.”
Streep’s modest recollection of her youth is surprising when you consider that most would have considered her strikingly beautiful in her breakthrough films like The Deer Hunter and Sophie's Choice.
The admission is not what you would expect to hear from somebody nominated for a record 18 Academy Awards – more than any other actor. The Yale School of Drama graduate (1975) has spent so much time at the top of the acting world that a recent study found that contemporary Oscar winners are more likely reference Streep in their speech than God.
However, after nearly four decades in showbiz the Kramer vs. Kramer star said she had managed to make sense of her self-doubt.
"For young women, I would say, don't worry so much about your weight," Streep wisely advised. "Girls spend way too much time thinking about that, and there are better things."
Perhaps the mother-of-four summed up her message most succinctly when she urged people to embrace their individuality and worry less about conformity.
"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."
- PuzzlesThe Australian Women's Weekly June Issue Online Entry
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