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Kirsten Dunst explains why she rejects Hollywood beauty standards

Kirsten Dunst explains why she rejects Hollywood beauty standards

Kirsten Dunst has opened up about the pressures of ageing in Hollywood.

In a wide-ranging interview with British GQ published this week, the 41-year-old actor explained why she’s decided to reject the many beauty standards that women face in the entertainment industry. Speaking to the magazine, Dunst revealed that she’s experienced her fair share of Hollywood executives attempting to alter her appearance throughout her career.

While filming 2002’s Spider-Man, Dunst – who was just 17 at the time – shared how a producer took her to the dentist without her permission and encouraged her to get her teeth straightened. “I was like, ‘no, I like my teeth,’” she recalled.

The Bring It On star later wore a black Rodarte dress and dark lipstick at the film’s London premiere, but pointed out that Sony – the studio that produced the Spider-Man films – was unhappy with her rebellious look. “The studio was like, ‘She looks very goth,’” Dunst said. “And they didn’t like that, probably because they wanted me to look like a sexy young woman who would appeal to a broader range of whoever gets seats in the theatre.”

She added: “I was never that girl. I never did it.”

Luckily, Dunst had Oscar-winning director Sofia Coppola in her corner, after she was cast in Coppola’s cult classic 1999 film, The Virgin Suicides. According to the actor, Coppola gave her the confidence to feel proud of her appearance. “I had Sofia [Coppola] at 16, who thought I was so cool and pretty when I didn’t,” Dunst said. “She was like, ‘I love your teeth!’”

Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Coppola at a screening for ‘Marie Antoinette’ in October 2006 (Getty)
Kirsten Dunst and Sofia Coppola at a screening for ‘Marie Antoinette’ in October 2006 (Getty)

For Dunst, having Coppola as an “older sister figure” helped her to ultimately reject the many beauty standards that the entertainment industry imposes on women. “I didn’t realise at the time,” she recalled. “I realised it [later] in decisions I had made. Not to change teeth, not to blow up my lips, or whatever it is that everyone wants to look like.”

“I still know to this day, I’m not gonna screw up my face and look like a freak. You know what I mean? I’d rather get old and do good roles,” Dunst maintained.

The Marie Antoinette star isn’t the first Hollywood A-lister to call out the industry’s double standards for women. Last year, Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow addressed the “double standard” that women must maintain their beauty as they get older, while older men are often celebrated for their age.

“I think it’s culture’s problem. It’s not ours,” Paltrow told British Vogue last July, reflecting on how women are judged more on getting older than men. “As women, we want to be healthy, we want to be ageing. This idea that we’re supposed to be frozen in time is so weird.”

The Shakespeare in Love star praised fellow actor Andie MacDowell, who decided to stop colouring her hair and allowed her natural greys to grow instead. “I love it when I hear somebody like Andie MacDowell, with her beautiful grey curls, talking about embracing ageing and the difference between how we handle a George Clooney,” Paltrow said.

“It’s handsome to go grey [as a man], but for women it’s like, ‘What do you plan to do about your wrinkles and your ageing skin?’” she continued. “There’s definitely a double standard.”

Paltrow then expressed that women should be allowed to age however they wish, regardless of beauty standards or what society thinks of them.

“I think we want to be setting examples of how you can age. Every woman should do it how they want to do it,” she added. “Some women want to address every single thing aesthetically, and some women want to be a fabulous French grandmother who doesn’t ever do anything. Everybody should be empowered to do it how they want to.”