Maggie Gyllenhaal has always been told ‘You’re not pretty or sexy enough’

THR actresses

The Hollywood Reporter has been doing “roundtable” discussions with various actors ahead of the Emmy nominations announcement (July 16th). Last week, some of the presumptive Emmy contenders for men in dramas got their roundtable, and this week, it’s the women in drama. The roundtable consisted of Taraji P. Henson, Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jessica Lange, Lizzy Caplan and Ruth Wilson. Just a word on Lizzy Caplan: Masters of Sex killed it in their first season but the second season was AWFUL and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the hype around the show at this point was non-existent. Anyway, you can read the THR piece here. I just wanted to highlight a few comments from Maggie and Viola, because I’m sure people will be talking about them:

Maggie Gyllenhaal on “not being pretty enough”: “When I was starting out, I used to hear “no” a lot and still do. And, “You’re not sexy enough. You’re not pretty enough.” When I was really young, I auditioned for this really bad movie with vampires. I wore a dress to the audition that I thought was really hot. Then I was told I wasn’t hot enough. My manager at the time said, “Would you go back and sex it up a little bit?” So I put on leather pants, a pink leopard skinny camisole and did the audition again and still didn’t get the part. After that, I was like, “OK, f— this!”

Viola on feeling like she was typecast as “downtrodden, mammy-ish” women: “There was absolutely no precedent for [my character on HTGAWM]. I had never seen a 49-year-old, dark-skinned woman who is not a size 2 be a sexualized role in TV or film. I’m a sexual woman, but nothing in my career has ever identified me as a sexualized woman. I was the prototype of the “mommified” role. Then all of a sudden, this part came, and fear would be an understatement. When I saw myself for the first time in the pilot episode, I was mortified. I saw the fake eyelashes and, “Are you kidding me? Who is going to believe this?” And then I thought: “OK, this is your moment to not typecast yourself, to play a woman who is sexualized and do your investigative work to find out who this woman is and put a real woman on TV who’s smack-dab in the midst of this pop fiction.

Viola on likability: “The thing I had to get used to with TV was the likability factor. People have to like you, people have to think you’re pretty. I was going to have to face a fact that people were going to look at me and say: “I have no idea why they cast her in a role like this. She just doesn’t fit. It should have been someone like Halle Berry. It’s her voice, and she doesn’t walk like a supermodel in those heels.” And people do say that, they do. But what I say to that is the women in my life who are sexualized are anywhere from a size zero to a size 24. They don’t walk like supermodels in heels. They take their wig and makeup off at night. So this role was my way of saying, “Welcome to womanhood!” It’s also healed me and shown a lot of little dark-skinned girls with curly hair a physical manifestation of themselves.

Taraji on her career goals: “I want to play a superhero. I want to be a Bond girl. I want to play a man. I want to play a white woman.”

[From THR]

First of all, Taraji as a Bond Girl. Let that sink in. I could totally see that. Especially with Daniel Craig. She would WRECK James Bond. And it would be so enjoyable. As for Viola being Viola and being able to own every part of her life, her looks, her career, her mind… I am such a Viola fan-girl. I love her a crazy amount.

Maggie talking about not being considered “pretty” by casting directors… it goes right along with Maggie being told that she was “too old” at 37 to play the love interest of a 55-year-old. Stories like that make me want to burn the place down.


Photos courtesy of THR, WENN.

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124 Responses to “Maggie Gyllenhaal has always been told ‘You’re not pretty or sexy enough’”

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  1. Jayna says:

    Her hair is awful on her and does nothing for her. She said, what, a year or year and a half ago or so that she didn’t like her hair short and was going to grow it out, and it’s still short.

    • minx says:

      Agree. I think she has a pretty face but that hair is NOT flattering. She usually has a kind of sour expression, too, which doesn’t help. Smile!

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I think, other than debating the merits of Maggie’s face, we should really be asking why must a woman be considered sexy or pretty to be in a TV or film role? Guys like Steve Bushemi work constantly, there is plenty of roles for men with faces of a “character” actor. Why aren’t there more stories told with women in those kinds of roles?

      • One of my absolute favorite actresses is Rusty Schwimmer. I would love to see her in more–and more important–roles. But she doesn’t fit the mold appearance-wise.

      • Kitten says:

        There are roles for female character actor, they’re just fewer than there are for men. Also, a female character actor has to work twice as hard and be twice as talented as a male character actor to have any hope of landing a role.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        ” they’re just fewer than there are for men”
        Yes, waaaaaaaay fewer roles like these for women.

      • lisa2 says:

        I don’t think actors like Steve are talking about not being “handsome”..they seem content to play the character roles and not the leading man.

      • Wentworth Miller says:

        Steve Bushemi is awesome! Loved him in Boardwalk Empire.

      • Jellybean says:

        I think Jeremy Renner would be a suitable comparison here. I would say that both Maggie and Jeremy are good actors who are not unattractive, but do not have ‘movie star’ looks. Until recently Maggie had by far the stronger career. she certainly had more major roles. Renner’s breakthrough came because Kathryn Bigelow specifically fought for him, I think it was a shock to everyone when he was cast. He is getting big roles now but critics constantly refer to his looks, his height and his age. I think he will eventually settle back into character roles, but with a much higher profile. Maggie had her super hero movie too and she seems to be pretty busy, what she never had was a chance at a lead in a big budget film, but for male character actors that is extremely rare too. So I think the problem is the relatively low number of good character roles for women and the shortage of films where the lead character, male or female, isn’t all about their looks and quite frankly it might help if people on sites like this stop laying into anyone without perfect looks who dares to take center stage.

      • kimbers says:

        Tv has ugly women, as well as, pretty women. Pretty men and ugly. There are many people with talent out there and not enough parts.

    • holly hobby says:

      I think that haircut really ages her. She has soccer mom written all over her. Sorry Maggie.

      • minx says:

        Yes. That cover shot of her is much more flattering than the one with the short granny hair.

    • Kath says:

      So Maggie says that she’s always told that she’s not pretty or sexy enough for Hollywood, and the first comments here are that she’s not pretty or sexy enough.


      • LadyoftheLoch says:

        She really IS pretty, and has a great figure. What’s more, her face is interesting, not bland. Her hairstyle and pinched expression do her no favours though, and make her look repressed, like a 1950s school marm or librarian’s assistant.

        All she needs are a few style tweaks to her hair and a more relaxed expression. She always looks so anxious. Lighten up Maggie, you’re lovely!

      • Annabelle says:

        My thoughts exactly. Way to go folks.

  2. kanyekardashian says:

    That Taraji woman totally lost me when she pulled her ‘do you know who I am?’ card to get a table at a restaurant and then blamed cops for being racist because they had the nerve to stop her son, who it turned out was a criminal, after all. After that, I have no interest in hearing anything she has to say about anything.

    • FingerBinger says:

      First of all her son isn’t a criminal. Second of all she apologized to the officer. She believed her son. Something that most mothers famous or not famous do.

      • marie says:

        Yeah, it takes a lot to publicly apologize, especially when she’s famous and again with everything going on with racial profiling these days. She could very well have never apologized and no one would have been the wiser because most police good bad or indifferent have lost all public credibility because of a few bad apples.

        She was honest, and the bigger person. Very respectable.

      • minx says:

        Exactly. I would believe my son. People who admit they are wrong and apologize go a long way with me.

      • JenniferJustice says:

        I can appreciate a good apology too, which is why her son should have apologized, but….*crickets*. She continued to protect and hide him rather than make him do the right thing. I also agree that mothers tend to beleive their kids and stick up for them, but she went Kaoack using words like “profiling” and “racism” without knowing the facts. If my son came home with a ticket and sob story, I would go to the police officer who pulled him over and get the story straight from the horse’s mouth, but she chose to pull the race card and ran with it. It did change how I feel about her – not that she cares, but I realized after that incident that she is pretty quick to pull the race card and she raised a self-entitled brat whose willinig to throw an innocent person under the bus to save his own a$$. She showed herself to be one of those who get loud and beligerant in the face of a perceived threat when calmness and research is the answer. I lost respect for her too. Still think she’s uber talented, but off camera and without a script, I suspect she’s a jerk and a bit dumb. Nobody say’s “Do you know who I am?” in any situation other than jerks.

    • Franca says:

      I really disliked that “do you know who I am” line, but I didn’t hear anything about her son. What happened?

      • Migdalia says:

        Her son was pulled over in Glendale for running a yellow when w pedestrian was crossing. When the cop approached her son admitted to having marijuana and something else on him. The cop was actually pretty freaking cool about it only giving Taraji’s son a marijuana possession citation which induces a fine if he doesn’t have a prescription for it. The moving violation which started the whole thing would have been worse.

        However, he went home and lied to his mom saying he was pulled over for no reason and didn’t get a ticket.

        So she went on a tirade against the PD and said she was sending her son to an all black college.

        Then the Glendale PD had to release the report and dash cam to which she apologized after publicly.

    • Kaiser says:

      She said in an interview that her son had been racially profiled, and later apologized because once she saw the video, she saw what really happened. I always thought that her son had lied to her about what happened. She was gracious about the whole thing. And her son’s “crime” was driving after smoking some medical marijuana or something.

      • Greek chic says:

        Marijuana is a drug. Its irresponsible to drive and being stoned. Don’t give him a pass. I don’t believe that his marijuana was for medical reasons but whatever.
        He’s not a murderer but driving under the influence (included prescribed drugs) is a crime.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Greek chic, he didn’t get a ticket for driving while stoned, it was for possession. It is very possible he had a prescription, but it is inaccurate to say that he was stoned while driving. The officer would have given him a DUI for that and done a field sobriety test.

      • Greek chic says:

        Tiffany I dont know the story but kaiser said he was driving after smoking marijuana. If he just had marijuana with him thats fine.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        Ok, more detail and a correction to myself! 🙂
        It appears he did admit to smoking earlier in the night.

        From the video, I believe the cop asks him if he has been arrested before. Then the officer asks him if he has anything illegal in the car. He says that he has marijuana, but can’t find his prescription.
        From E!:
        “I appreciate you being honest with me about the weed. I do appreciate that because I do smell weed,” the cop says. “I do appreciate your cooperation, I really do.”

        The cop ultimately lets Marcel, who also admits to smoking marijuana earlier that night, off easy.

        “So I’m going to give you a citation for the marijuana. Listen, I’m not going to give you a citation for running that yellow because that will actually put a moving violation on your license and you’re going to have to do traffic school and all that stuff. So I’m helping you out by not giving you a violation on that. All I’m going to do is take the weed from you. You can go to court and show your prescription and stuff and you can handle it that way,” the cop explains. “It felt like this was a little better than the other one. I am giving this to you too because you smoked weed about two hours ago.”

      • Greek chic says:

        Thanks gor the info! My only disagreement was that he smoked weed and drove, so its not a “crime”,its a crime. Weed has side effects ( low concentration etc) and his driving would be dangerous.
        Are cops in america that easy when the driver has smoken weed? Or the cop let him go because his mother is famous?

  3. magster says:


  4. kri says:

    Okay, so maybe she doesn’t have “Hollywood” face/bod. It’s almost shocking to see an actress who doesn’t appear to have an intimate relationship with fillers and scalpels. She is crazy talented, and interesting. I’d rather watchh her any day than someone like Amber Heard. I wish the US acting biz was more like the UK, where normal looking people have a shot at success in films as long as they have the talent to back it up. I love all the ladies in this article. Go, Maggie!

    • *North*Star* says:


      I just watched The Honourable Women and she (the whole cast) is fantastic in it.

      The old, white men in Hollywood just need to go somewhere else. I’m sick of the trite they spew out year after year. The UK tends to like real people, interesting and intelligent stories too. I’m all for that.

      • sunshine says:

        Why do you have to bring race into this? It’s unnecessary and I somehow doubt you’d use any other race as an insult, so why do it here?

      • Beth says:

        Why are you taking North Star’s comments so personally when he/she has a point about the power structure in Hollywood: the majority is overwhelmingly white and older, and have antiquated views on women, age, race, and even class. It is not racist to call them out on their privilege and being so narrow-minded when it comes to storytelling in film and even TV.

      • M.A.F. says:

        umm….it has been said FOR YEARS that Hollywood is run by old, white men. Every year it is pointed out during the Academy Awards. It’s not racist (go look up the word), it’s a fact.

      • sunshine says:

        Beth, because it’s unnecessary. And I’ll ask you what I asked her…would you use any other race as an insult? It was meant in an insulting way and I don’t see why the point can’t be made without bringing race into it. It just gets tiring to see all the anti-white hatred on this site, especially when everyone knows it wouldn’t be tolerated for a second if it was directed towards anyone else. Nor should it but that should go both ways.

      • Sixer says:

        So much talent on display in The Honourable Woman.

      • sunshine says:

        MAF, who created Hollywood? Was it “old white men”? Should they be expected to just hand it all over to other people because of their race or sex? Who runs Bollywood, or Lollywood, or any of the other movie making areas throughout the world? Why is there this pervasive mentality of expecting everyone to give away their companies and things they’ve worked for? Who is stopping people from making their own movies, or starting their own companies?

        Oh and I am aware of what the word racist means, thanks. No need for the snarky little dig.

      • Kitten says:

        “Anti-white hatred”? I don’t think that’s what you meant to say.

        I agree with North Star and Kri. I love Maggie. She’s immensely talented and has an amazing on-screen presence.

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        …it’s not so much people getting really aggressive whenever white folks are criticized that bothers me, but when they use examples to explain that make 0 sense.

        So in your mind a more integrated and racially harmonious industry that reflects a country that is multi-cultural (a country which by the way used POC to BUILD and CREATE ‘their’ companies) would be akin to making people give up ‘their’ companies. At the same time you defend whites primarily being in control and distribution because other countries that are predominantly made up of only one ethnic group and predominantly feature people from that same ethnic group is somehow equivalent?

        Good luck with the rest of your explaining sunshine, because you hit the skids hard on that last attempt.

      • *North*Star* says:

        I brought race into it because it matters. It has nothing to do with hatred or anything else but the truth is simple — old, white men do run Hollywood. They churn out the stupid, mindless movies that have no plot, very little acting, and a lot of special affects that appeal to a certain demographic. (And make them
        buckets of money)

        But hatred? I’m not sure where that comes from because I can’t get much whiter. I’m a stereotypical blue-eyed, blonde, American woman that can barely tan. I certainly don’t hate anyone but wish and hope for more diversity everywhere. And that includes Hollywood. Too many people of all genders, colour, nationality, shapes, sizes, ability, etc. etc. etc. are not represented by Hollywood and that needs to change. The women up on that cover (and many others) have said exactly as much too. And until the people who control it diversify, it probably won’t.

      • *North*Star* says:

        FYI the article is titled:
        Race. Sex. Age. Nudity.

        Race is the leading aspect.

      • M.A.F. says:

        @sunshine- snarky or not, clearly you don’t pay attention and some how think, what? Everyone is now equal? You think the Bollywood films are equal? HA. And yes, my dear, Hollywood itself was created by men. Were there more women involved in the studio system back in the day? Yes. But now? It is an old mans club, has been since the 1940’s. So people bringing race into the conversation does matter.

      • MrsBPitt says:

        @Kitten….when the poster is using “white” in a derrogatory and insulting way, I feel that I have every right to be insulted. No one on this sight would put up with calling out any other group of people in such a way, why should I? Why couldn’t the poster just say “we need more diversity in Hollywood”? Point made, no one is insulted…
        @Northstar…I DO encourage all the things you listed…but you using the term “old white men” in an insulting and derrogatory fashion does nothing to promote kindness, unity and equality…as I said above, all you needed to say was that we need more diversity in Hollywood…I would agree with you…

    • Franca says:

      I think both Maggie and Viola are very beautiful,
      There is more diversity in European cinema, probably because the model-turned-actress thing rarely happens here, you have to be an educated actor, at least in my country.

      But, most UK actresses who make it in the US are the most beautiful ones, and not always the most talented ones.

      • wolfpup says:

        Europe is more sophisticated than the US in some humane ways. I loved living in Europe. I also love Viola and her down home welcome to womanhood!!!

      • M.A.F. says:

        Europe just has a different attitude towards sexuality. And I have noticed that their casting is more color blinded than the US. As for an being an educated actor? Not sure what the stats are on that.

    • JENNA says:

      Wasn’t there some controversy after people found out that Maggie had had some work done even though she said that she would never do plastic surgery?

      • MrsBPitt says:

        You know, I have two sons…both very nice, hard-working young, white men…I had a wonderful Father, who was a kind and generous man….did not know one person who didn’t love him…I hate when people say “old white men” did this and that…How can that be good for any little white boy to hear….It makes it sound like all white men grow up to be selfish, racist, sexist pigs…sorry…statements that are all encompassing like that should be laid to rest!

      • Kitten says:

        @ MrsBPitt-If they’re anything like you, I’m sure your sons and father are incredible people, but do they take statements like “white men run Hollywood” personally?

        My father, brother, and boyfriend are all amazing (white) men but they acknowledge that they’re the majority and they understand their privilege. They don’t get offended by statements like “old, white men run ___ industry” because well, they know it’s true. They’re all feminists with a thorough understanding of how patriarchy and racism corrupt our society and leads to a homogenous and frankly, uninteresting world.

        I don’t get why people take these statements to heart. I’m a white person and a feminist but I don’t shut down when people who feel marginalized make statements about white people or feminists, as long as I feel that their observations are fair and accurate. Hollywood IS run by white men. That doesn’t mean that white men are terrible, it means that we need more diversity, more women, more PoC, more anything that is a departure from the same ol’ same ol’. Let’s lift people up instead of dragging them down, let’s push for variety so everyone feels that they’re represented in film and on TV and let them know that they too can run big business as well as any white man. Let’s empower women and minorities and elevate those who feel underrepresented.

        This is a positive thing, guys. It’s not meant to make any one group feel less than, it’s meant to make all of us feel equal.

      • *North*Star* says:


        I too have known many loving, respectful, honourable white men — regardless of age. But the term “old, white men” represents the opposite of what we listed. And unfortunately, the people that control Hollywood aren’t promoting their better qualities — they are appealing to the baser qualities of us all.

        If we want ANY child to grow up as honourable people, we should be promoting and encouraging respect, diversity, love, openness, and fairness (among other positive attributes).


        Agree totally! Until we can objectively talk about these issues nothing will change. And often, most people aren’t aware that they gravitate to what they know, and marginalising everything else. It’s because of that that it becomes imperative to diversify mainstream media — so it becomes the new normal.

        I too have a fantastic white son that struggles with privilege given to him that he didn’t earn. He’s all too human and doesn’t take any label personally. Unless the shoe fits.

      • QQ says:

        Can I say something Mushy?

        Gahh! North Star, Kitten you guys are just Astounding

        It always does the heart good after the Banner Ass Sh!t year being black and Brown is having that the Allies are there present front and center and coming correct and calling stuff out and Informing their fellow men, especially I see you Kitten Tireless when Frankly I’m weary of “REALLYY??-Ing” people day in day out, It makes me so happy to come to a place where trolling is not entertained and the forward minded-inclusive-stuff I see you all debate/entertain is just Awesome ( this goes for women’s issues, self care, race, mom stuff)

      • *North*Star* says:


        You are ever so welcome. I’ve had my eyes opened even wider on a number of topics by quite a few intelligent people on this board and it’s important that we white people acknowledge our white privileges, just as men need to acknowledge their male privileges.

        And then we all need to scootch over and allow everyone a room at the table. If necessary, add a few leaves because we can make the table big enough to include most people. We might not be able to get everyone but we should shoot for a lot more than we see today.


        I second @QQ. I may not always agree with you but you always have valid points. And I love hearing them.

      • Kitten says:

        Aw I’m so happy I re-visited this thread to see your warm comments, QQ. Thanks ♥

  5. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Taraji would fck all of Bond’s shit all up. Man…now I want to see that.

    I also love how she got so many points across in such few words. The “I want to play a white woman” part got me since even when a POC is cast for a role that was originally white the role suddenly becomes exotified. Suddenly the nuclear scientist is rolling her r’s and talking about her spicy curry dish.

    Adore Viola and a majority of the ladies on the cover. It’s unfortunate but this was a shallow business that has become more shallow. What we’re seeing now is the struggle to redefine it and focus on talent once again. I’d rather watch ‘unattractive’ Viola slay a scene then the sexiest most boring new actress.

    • sunshine says:

      Well if they added a POC and whitewashed them, or didn’t adequately flesh out their backstory, there’d be complaints. No matter what they do, it’s ALWAYS wrong.

      Would it be as great if someone like…say Ben Affleck said he wanted to play Muhammad Ali?

      • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

        Because in the history of a country that only acknowledges the barest minimum of black accomplishments a mediocre actor like Afleck wanting to portray one of the few prominent black figures when he has a treasure trove of white historical figures to choose from would be insulting.

        Now when things change and POC are given more equal representation and respect then maybe that perspective will change.

        Imagine if there were going to be a series of movies out about any of the presidents in U.S. history and a white actor demanded to play Obama. Can you see how that’d be insulting?

      • *North*Star* says:

        Not to mention side-lining all PoC* — not just blacks.

        *basically anyone who is “different”

      • nimmi says:

        As most scriptwriters in Hollywood don’t know any black people beyond passing acquaintances , of course they get it wrong. It’s the same reason why Native Americans, Latin Americans, women AND poor whites, etc. are ALSO under or misrepresented in films.

        I’m black and like most people want to see good movies. Good films tend to be written by people who have a wealth of varied experiences or at least are open to them. By restricting the point of view to that shared by rich middle class males who have gotten their breaks through family connections instead of learning their craft, we end up with films thaat are one-note and lacking. So it’s not just black people who suffer but also talented but poor scriptwriters and actors of ALL races and their long suffering audiences who spend their wages watching dreck.

        Um and Batfleck could play Muhammed Ali? Lol.

      • Kitten says:

        Diversity leads to creativity which leads to new ideas and new perspectives which leads to new stories being told in a different way. Variety is NEVER a bad thing when it comes to an industry that insists on churning out the same formulaic rom coms, tired-ass superhero films, and superfluous remakes.

      • *North*Star* says:


        I would extend your argument, I think humanity is dealt a disservice when only a small portion of the population is controlling the various aspects of the media.

        As @Kitten states, every one is richer when they are exposed to a diverse and wide-range in the media & arts.


        You are on fire today! 💥🌟🔥

        PS: I’m the “so white you almost can’t tell I’m there, thumb” 😉

  6. cakecakecake says:

    I know they are playing her like this however, I feel that Maggie is a VERY good actress and she is only getting better. I’ve been watching/preferring her for years.

    I love that she separates herself from her craft and lives a somewhat “normal” life.
    I won’t cringe seeing her in high heels and a bunch of makeup supposedly taking her kid to the park.

    what was the name of her old movie?? the one where she played a secretary, THAT was beyond sexy, LOL

    • M.A.F. says:

      Secretary was the name of the movie. And she was sexy in that film.

      The “problem” is is that she not the big hair, tits out, clothes hugging, dumb a$$ most of Hollywood wants and/or views as being sexy.

    • Norman Bates' Mother says:

      “Secretary”;-) She doesn’t have a generic sexy girl vibe in her everyday/red carpet looks, but she proved with this movie that she can play sexy much better than any model turned actress. But the issue here is – why almost every woman in movies has to be sexy and beautiful? It’s ridiculous how much Hollywood relies on looks while pretending to mimic real life and real people.

  7. QQ says:

    I look at this cover and all I can thing is To Quote Poet Laureate Kreayshawn and her seminal Anthem Gucci Gucci

    “One big room, full of bad bitches”

    well Maggie is not a Typical Pretty face or whatevs but she has Talent in spades

  8. boredblond says:

    They said the very same thing to Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Barbara Stanwyck and other great actresses we’re STILL watching decades later.

    • *North*Star* says:

      Very true.

    • FLORC says:

      Right. It’s up to that person to prove them wrong. Though, those actresses (imo) aren’t gorgeous. They had talent and the appeal came through their motions, but in a frame or a picture to look at them and go… She’s gorgeous. Cast her as a bombshell… I can’t see that.
      But that is the difference. Some people photograph poorly. Some very well. Some are awful in motion. Some are even better in motion.

    • Reece says:

      They may not have been conventional but they had talent.

    • cici says:

      Hepburn was conventionally beautiful though, even if she wasn’t seen to have sex appeal.

    • Pinky Rose says:

      Well Katharine Hepburn was held at the time as a beautiful woman, but also aloof and sexless (that is perfectly shown in The Philadelphia Story), and yes David O. Selznick even told her she lack the sexiness inherent to the Scarlett O’Hara role she wanted to play. Still, the point stands, and what you say it’s true mostly on Barbara Stanwyck, who despite not having an ethereal beauty, played the most perfect femme fatale ever in those noir films she did (and well the screwball comedy masterpiece that is The Lady Eve. Her scenes with Henry Fonda exudes sexiness) and Bette Davis who well her performances did all the talking. They may not have been some bombshells, but their are legendary to this day because of their actual work. Like who else could reprise such any is their roles? They just had “it” and their looks became secondary.

  9. Catelina says:

    Maggie isn’t a bombshell, but she’s not bad looking at all. She has nice eyes. Maybe the short hair is unflattering?

  10. Lesley says:

    Maggie may not be the typical sex symbol but she has her own type of sexiness. How could anyone think she’s not the coolest sexiest thing after secretary! She has that extra something that most actresses don’t have.

    • coco says:

      Completely agree. She was so f&%^ing sexy in Secretary! God, that movie was just flaming hot tension from beginning to end.

    • Virgilia Coriolanus says:

      When I saw that movie AND found out that she’s married to Peter Saarsgard (“Asylum” had the hottest scenes ever!)….I always think of her as this super undercover freak. Like there is no way that they don’t have a sex dungeon in their basement or whatever.

    • Ava says:

      I agree. Maggie you are sexy….love her! She has a certain something other actresses don’t have.

  11. *North*Star* says:

    WHAT?!? No Ruth Wilson?!???


    (Seeing her in Luther is a must)

  12. LookyLoo says:

    Maggie is not conventionally pretty. But she blows me away every time I see her on screen.

  13. Don't kill me I'm French says:

    All the actresses and actors have some awful anecdotes on the castings or what the producers,casting directors or agents said on them

  14. Hawkeye says:

    Taraji AS Bond.

  15. FLORC says:

    And…? Yea. Maggie Isn’t (IMO) hot. She’s pretty and when done up properly beautiful. Outside of that there’s no appeal in her features that makes me think beautiful. Though her personality is beautiful, but we’re speaking only to physical features and appeal based on that.
    An exercise is to imagine them as a terrible person. Would they still be attractive or would you be picking apart their features because they do something you don’t like?
    And the reverse.

    And MOS went downhill very quickly.

  16. Illyra says:

    That’s got to hurt.

    Still, if it were some actor who’d constantly been told “You’re not handsome or sexy enough” for this or that role, would anyone be offended? It’s the nature of the business. *shrugs*

    For instance I personally find Casey Affleck very sexy (much sexier than Ben), but understand that I’m in the minority. He’ll never be in any Bond-type roles, and they wouldn’t suit him anyway.

    Also for the record: I find Maggie Gyllenhaal to be quite attractive.

    • lisa2 says:

      It is sadly the nature of the business. Have you ever seen an audition for a play or musical. Models hear this kind of stuff too. Hell you can hear things like this in any business you are in.

      Movies and such are the things of fantasy. People like see the beautiful people on screen. It is an escape. You can see people like you every day of your life by going to the store. But the fantasy of the “movie star” is different.

      Maggie is average looking. But so are the vast majority of people in the world. Most of us are average looking but we sometimes have beautiful moments. She is lucky in that she is working. Because just because you are “beautiful” or “pretty” doesn’t mean you are going to be the Star or get the parts. We see other actresses that are considered more attractive complaining that they can’t get work because of how they look. People don’t find sympathy for them because they are “attractive/beautiful”
      everyone has hurdles to climb. It is never an easy road for everyone.

  17. trishy says:

    I love Maggie. She’s crazy talented and secure in herself not to let the Hollywood BS get her down.

    But can we TALK about the terrible photoshop on Lizzy Caplan’s torso? Her left side is two totally straight lines. Come on, now.

  18. Easypeasy123 says:

    I get grossed out when someone (who isn’t an SO) refers to me as sexy.

    • sunshine says:

      Ugh agreed! Competent, intelligent, even pretty…but definitely not sexy. But I have really no desire to be sexy and I hate that word!

  19. annaloo. says:

    Illeana Douglas once said in an interview that her appeal wasn’t universal. I’m paraphasing, but she said her manager told her that she was neither vanilla or chocolate – both very popular flavor — but coconut. Some people don’t like coconut, but some people really, REALLY love coconut..

    In other words, she has her own thing going on, and she is going to appeal to who she appeals to. Maggie G has no sexual effect on my husband or my brother for example, but I have a coworker who crushes on her. You can’t appeal to everyone, and we all know Hollywood is an image sales machine– they tend towards who will have universal appeal bc it’s about protecting investments and making profit.

    We are also told this in a post-Oprah age that we cannot make everyone happy so don’t kill yourself trying to. Our individualism should be embraced, we are told, however with it, we also have this major wave that is happening culturally of including and equalizing everyone, and that we all are special. That is all well and good, but I just don’t think that’s the way the world works when the reality of what people are drawn towards. We like our flavors, whatever they may be and the numbers shake it all out in the end. Beauty and appeal is definitely in the eye and mind of the beholder, a woman who looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal will probably never get a Playboy cover, but by the same balance, a woman who looks like Holly Madison will never be be considered for anything that requires gravitas.

    Am I being too insensitive?

  20. mel says:

    I am always surprised by how many folks on here love Maggie. I wonder if her comments on how America was partly to blame for the world tower terrorist attacks is no big deal on here? Whatever…I just think she is highly overrated.

    • mary simon says:

      I don’t think her face is attractive in still photos at all; the short hair and her taste in clothes just make her look older. I’ve only seen her onscreen in The Dark Knight, and I have to say she came alive on screen – she was vivacious and attractive – I was surprised because she doesn’t look that great in stills.

      She also had a longer, flattering hairstyle in the movie which made a big difference in her looks. If she wants to wear unflattering short hair and frumpy clothes then she shouldn’t get mad when people, especially studio execs, don’t find her attractive.

    • sunshine says:

      That opinion is undoubtedly shared by some commenters here.

  21. Kiddo says:

    I like Maggie, she has an unusual look for Hollywood but she translates well on film.

  22. Tiffany says:

    Taraji would leave Daniel in a puddle in any film Bond or otherwise. Her and Idris in a Bond film. * fans self*

  23. M.A.F. says:

    I’m behind, I know, but I started American Horror Story: the Coven last night and my God! Jessica Lange?! I hope I look half as good as she does when I’m older.

  24. Asiyah says:

    I love her! <3

  25. Dawn says:

    So I think that Maggie has that invisible “it” thing. I don’t think she takes great pictures but something about her in movies come through well. I had a roommate in college like that, all the guys loved her but no one really could figure out why and it was because she just had that thing whatever it is. It was strange.

  26. JenniferJustice says:

    I don’t find Maggie sexy at all, but why does every single actress in Hollywood need to be sexy. She is definitely talented and different and that I do like. If she were the american California kind of beauty, she would be no different than the thousands of others. It is her uniqueness that makes her interesting. I have mixed feelings about her predicament in not being considered sexy by Hollywood standards: Is it necessary for all women to be sexy? I don’t think all women are sexy. I do not think she is sexy, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need all kinds of people as actors and actresses in order to play non-traditional roles and ones that do not require that kind of sex appeal. You can be stylish, engaging, and even attractive without necessarily being sexy. Why is that a bad thing for women dealing with Hollywood’s standards? Why go for sexy roles when there are other roles you might be better suited for and frankly, probably roles that are deeper and require more talent? I think it’s an ego thing – a need to prove to oneself that they are so in fact sexy. I’d rather see Maggie playing someone bizarre, with lots of layers (internally) and showing her skills. Leave the sexy roles for the less talented barbies of the industry. Susan Serandon, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep are at the top of their game, have huge fan-bases, and continue to work and they were never considered conventionally sexy.

    • lisa2 says:

      I don’t think sexy equals untalented. Some people just have that thing that is sexy. It is not forced or created.. It is simply who they are.

      Maggie seems to want to be thought of as “beautiful and sexy”.. There are many other actress in the same spot as her. They enjoy playing the women they play. Everyone is not meant for the “beautiful face on the screen”..

  27. canadiangirl says:

    I like maggie. She is a solid actress. She may not have what society deems as conventional looks, but she is pretty and fun, and versatile. Sometimes she looks a bit frumpy but for the most part, she is lovely!

    • Livealot says:

      Agreed. I can believe her when she says that ppl tell her shes not “sexy enough”.

      Also – VIola DAvis and TAraji for the win regarding that mag cover

  28. nikzilla says:

    I think Maggie is getting more beautiful as she ages.

  29. Nikki L. says:

    She’s probably told that because she’s not Hollywood-pretty, she’s just average looking. It’s harsh, but it’s true. I mean, I’m not Hollywood-pretty, that’s the breaks. I’ve never thought she was particularly attractive.

  30. BlackBetty says:

    I love Maggie and look forward to seeing her in more roles. It’s ironic that she was in Secretary but isn’t considered sexy?! I like her she actually looks like a real person, not a plastic surgeons client.D

  31. Veronica says:

    I don’t consider Maggie G. an exceptionally attractive woman, but honestly, part of the point is that she shouldn’t have to be. There are plenty of homely male actors out there with good careers. Women should not have to be beautiful to be valuable.

    • lisa2 says:

      But those male actors are not making an issue of it. They are simply dealing with the hand they have been given and making a career of it. The women are the ones making it a topic. I’m sure many of those men would love to have those leading men roles.. but they are not being offered those parts. Yet we don’t get them talking about it in their interviews. Not sure why? And again look at the men that are covered here and on other gossip sites. I don’t see the “character” actors featured on threads; I don’t see the questions of Would you or wouldn’t you being asked about them. They are not featured on GQ or magazines with their shirts off. Yet no one is crying for them. Show business is not fair.. and did any of these people think it would be when they decided to become a part of it all.

      • Mispronounced Name Dropper says:

        Good post. But on the other hand there’re probably more opportunities in Hollywood for conventionally unattractive men than there’re for conventionally unattractive women.

      • Veronica says:

        Men aren’t hammered their whole life with the messages that being physically attractive is the biggest indication of their human value, though. And how often do you actually see good character roles for women? How often are they actually people rather than concepts? Evaluations of women involve the physical first with everything second.

        Jon Stewart did a really excellent piece a week or so back talking about the insidiousness of this kind of sexism in our culture, centering around the shift in narrative around Bruce Jenner. Bruce Jenner was an accomplished Olympian sportsman. Caitlyn Jenner is attractive woman in a photoshoot. Period. End story.

        Men can do a GQ magazine cover without taking off their shirts because they’re assumed to be a whole person. The sixpack is just an added bonus. Women are obligated to be attractive and socially punished when they are not. This is not to say there isn’t growing pressure on men to fit a certain image – and Maggie certainly enjoys the benefit of being white – but the degree to which the standard is applied to women is far more significant.

      • Illyra says:

        “And again look at the men that are covered here and on other gossip sites. I don’t see the “character” actors featured on threads; I don’t see the questions of Would you or wouldn’t you being asked about them.”

        LOL bingo

      • lisa2 says:

        not sure if you have been around men your entire life. I have 3 brothers. And yes men are hammered their entire life with messages about being attractive. I know as women we sometimes see things in this special Woman’s Bubble. But the truth of the matter is men go through some of the same things as women. Men feel unattractive. They feel pressure to look a certain way. They get these messages from women and from other men. Go to a high school. Ask some guys that are not popular what life is like for them. Talk to some average guy on the street and ask him about his experiences.

        Regarding Hollywood; I realize that things are different for women. But that doesn’t take away that men do have these same issues. I just thought of Chris Pratt saying how he felt when he was overweight. He is the exact same guy then that he is now.. But now that he is fit; well the movie roles are coming.. Women are going all he’s so hot. Some will claim they loved him heavier.. but be real; He changed the package and his career is on fire. Same with the men in that Magic Mike movie.. women are going to flock to the film to see them. Why not a Jack Black or some other average Joe. I don’t see any average looking guys in that film. I’m sure there are many men that would have liked to get a part.. but they would never be considered.

        The narrative is different for men and women yes.. but it is the same in a lot of ways that women don’t seem to want to believe.

  32. Me too says:

    She was sexy and amazing in Secretary and an overall good actress. Let’s be real though….in daily life, she is about a six, maybe seven with body included. In Hollywood, she is closer to a 2. Far from ugly though. I do appreciate her unique look and find that a virtue.

  33. TessD says:

    So is woman supposed to be sexy and pretty? She can’t be so many other things than just something that’s worthy in the eyes of a man!
    I don’t find her very pretty and neither very sexy. Some women can be both, others have one or the other quality. I don’t see how is it the ONLY important thing for a woman to be.

    • Naddie says:

      This. When I watched her in Dark knight, my sexist, shallow point of view was like “oh, c’mon, she’s a great actress, but couldn’t they find someone prettier?” Now, I still don’t think she’s good looking, but I long to see what really matters in a woman when I watch a movie. People need to stop thinking that being pretty and sexy should be women’s priority. And just for the record, she was perfect in Dark knight.

  34. WinonaRyder says:

    See, I always thought the primary responsibility of an actress is to be able to, you know, ACT.

    Looks don’t mean a thing.

  35. wow says:

    Sure, men can say some pretty harsh and sexist things about women. However I find that women are more mean and degrading to other women with their petty comments. Especially in the royal related posts. When a man comments on a woman’s looks or body they are more than likely to be vilified for it. Yet a woman can make the exact same statement about a woman and youll find other women jumping on the bandwagon and cosigning the rude remark. It’s sad.

  36. qwerty says:

    Watch The Honourable Woman. This is all I have to say.