Kristen Bell Says She Was Told She Wasn’t “Pretty Enough” When She Began Her Acting Career

It still feels ridiculous that appearances play such a significant role in Hollywood—and especially that someone like Kristen Bell kept hearing the same line in the beginning of her career: “you’re not pretty enough.”

In a video interview with Vanity Fair, Bell, 39, explained that her initial auditions were discouraging because of all the attention on her looks.

“I would get feedback from an audition like, ‘Well you’re not pretty enough to play like, the pretty girl, but you’re not, like, quirky enough or weird enough to play the weird girl,'” Bell said.

“And I was like, ‘OK, does that just mean I can’t be an actor? Like, what does that mean?’ That was what I was getting feedback on on every single audition.”

The Good Place, Frozen, and Veronica Mars actress added that she was actually kind of “weird” and “quirky” growing up and used that part of her personality to form the character of her Frozen character, Anna.

“Because I was involved since its inception…I think that I was really able to shape that role into a love letter to my 11-year-old self,” Bell said. “Most ‘princesses’ that you see on screen or at least the ones that I did when I was 11, they weren’t nearly as clumsy as I was. They didn’t talk too much, they didn’t wear their heart on their sleeve as much as I did. And they just weren’t as weird or quirky and I really wanted to represent all the little weirdos out there.”

As Bell continued to work in the film industry, she says she’s thankfully noticed things changing for the better.

“It’s like this huge gray area now of all these beautiful stories that you can tell that have dimensional people that don’t have to be one thing,” she said.

“I’m really grateful for that. I think it opens up a lot of opportunities for everyone to play and pretend, which is the most fun part.”