The 25-year-old former child star joined several other female contenders for this year’s Emmys, including Sheryl Lee Ralph, Natasha Lyonne and Ayo Edebiri, for the publication’s annual Comedy Actress roundtable ahead of next month’s nominations. Among other topics, the women exchanged stories about dealing with sexism in the industry, including being labeled “difficult” and judged by their appearances.
During a point in the conversation about the women’s early years in the business, Fanning revealed a disturbing story about the time she was rejected for a role based on her looks when she was just a minor.
“I’ve never told this story,” she said. “But I was trying out for a movie. I didn’t get it. I don’t even think they ever made it. But it was a father-daughter road trip comedy. I didn’t hear from my agents because they wouldn’t tell me things like this. That filtration system is really important because there’s probably a lot more damaging comments that they filtered.”
“I was 16 years old,” she continued. “And a person said, “Oh, she didn’t get the father-daughter road trip comedy because she’s unfuckable.”
“Whoa, at 16?” Lee Ralph responded.
“Of course, there are so many stories like this,” Fanning said. “I’ve talked to people about this. And I can laugh at it now, like, “What a disgusting pig!”
Around that age, Fanning has starred as Sleeping Beauty in the live-action Disney film Maleficent and had a supporting role in the Oscar-nominated film Trumbo. She had also recently starred in another father-daughter film, Somewhere, in 2010.
Fanning credits her team with shielding her from certain feedback when she was a child. She also says she’s able to grapple with the situation because she was “born” with a sense of confidence.
“I was always immensely confident,” she said. “But, of course, you’re growing up in the public eye, and it’s weird. I’ll look at paparazzi photos from when I was 12 and think, ‘Is that a good thing to see such a mirror of yourself at that age?’ I don’t feel like it damaged me, but it definitely made me very aware of myself in a way.”
“I don’t regret it,” she said about growing up in the spotlight. “It’s whatever. It’s amazing. And I’m glad I found what I love from a young age. I feel like I’ve grown.”