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Actor Winona Ryder had a strong start in Hollywood. But the scripts that came her way when she was younger weren’t very flattering to the superstar.

Winona Ryder once shared all of her characters were written as the ‘ugly girl’ earlier in her career

Winona Ryder posing at a screening of 'Reality Bites'.
Winona Ryder | Gary Gershoff/WireImage

There were certain times where Ryder’s looks worked against the Hollywood film star. Some filmmakers in the industry didn’t view Ryder as conventionally attractive as other actors at the time. When Ryder first started auditioning for roles, a casting director told her that she wouldn’t make it in Hollywood because of this.

“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.’ She was very blunt—I honestly think that she thought she was doing me a favor,” Ryder once said on Interview.

But even after succeeding as an actor, these kinds of judgments would follow Ryder throughout her career.

“It’d start as, ‘She’s not right.’ ‘Well, why not?’ ‘She’s just not pretty enough,’” Ryder recalled.

In a resurfaced interview with W Magazine, Ryder confided that the film roles she did receive were for more unattractive characters.

“If I showed you scripts from my first few movies, the descriptions of the characters all said ‘the ugly girl.’ Starting with the character I played in Lucas; she was described as homely, unattractive. Beetlejuice was like, ‘Enter Lydia, a freak who looks like an Edward Gorey character,’” Ryder remembered.

Winona Ryder once felt she was considered pretty after doing these 2 movies

Ryder’s reputation for playing strange and bizarre characters even followed her through school. Her role in Beetlejuice caused her to be relentlessly teased by her peers. This was the opposite reaction she thought she’d receive for the feature.

“I was going to public school when it came out, and you’d think that maybe the kids would be like, ‘Wow, you are in the number-one movie in America!’ But they were like, ‘You witch, you’re that freak!’ They threw Cheetos and cafeteria food at me,” she said.

There were a couple of other films, however, that she felt changed the public’s perception about her looks.

“But I’ve always sort of assumed that it wasn’t until Mermaids or Dracula that people thought I was pretty. Although, in Heathers, if you think about it, I am playing pretty. I’m one of the clique. I just had to convince them that I could do it,” she said.

Winona Ryder felt director Tim Burton helped her deal with people saying she wasn’t pretty enough

Ryder found a lot of support from director Tim Burton. Apart from Beetlejuice, she also collaborated with the filmmaker on the 1990 feature Edward Scissorhands, where she played the close friend and love interest of Johnny Depp’s character.

Burton was one of the reasons why Ryder had little issue with being seen as not pretty enough. Similarly to her parents, Burton helped the actor embrace what was different and unique about her back then.

“I don’t actually think of that time as hard. But I have to credit Tim Burton with that enormously. Not just in getting to work with him as a director, but in getting to know him as a person, as a friend—I kind of went from feeling a little bit weird to feeling very special,” she said. “That, combined with my parents being the way they were, made me feel like what I was doing was actually kind of cool and exciting.”