Jessica Chastain was told to stop smiling so much at school

Jessica Chastain was told to stop pleasing people and smiling so much when she studied at Juilliard performing arts school.

The Zero Dark Thirty actress was granted a scholarship funded by Robin Williams to attend the prestigious arts school in New York City in the early 2000s. During her first year, Chastain experienced constant anxiety that she would be kicked out, particularly as students who were not performing to a certain level were put on probation.

Chastain revealed that she regularly attended conferences with her tutors in which they told her what was "wrong" with her - and they wanted her to be less of a people-pleaser.

"I was told in my first year I had to stop trying to please everybody," she recalled to The Guardian. "I was told, 'You smile too much. That's your crutch. When you're acting, you're smiling too much, you're trying to be charming.' Isn't that interesting? I think it's a woman thing. My voice also was pitched higher, it was like up here so as not to be intimidating. It's so different now.

"They almost want you - sorry, I'm going to cuss for a second - but they almost want you to not give a f**k. Because then you're free."

The Oscar-winning star graduated from The Juilliard School in 2003 and after years of only landing guest spots on TV shows, she finally became a movie star in 2011, when she appeared in six films, including The Help and The Tree of Life.

Looking back, Chastain is glad she got her big break in her mid-30s.

"I'd watched the industry for a long time. Getting success later means I'd gotten to study it, particularly what they do with actresses, and I didn't want them to do that to me," she explained.