Sometimes it seems like Hollywood is always looking for a reason to reject someone, whether that be because they’re “unf–ckable,” as Princess Diaries actress Heather Matarazzo was told at age 19, or because their look is too “urban,” a word actress Zoë Kravitz says was lobbed at her when she auditioned for a film a few years ago.
In an interview with Nylon, the X-Men: First Class and Mad Max: Fury Road actress revealed that while auditioning for the 2012 Christopher Nolan blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, she was turned down for a small part because the filmmakers weren’t ‘going urban.’
“It was like, ‘What does that have to do with anything?’” said the 26-year-old actress. “I have to play the role like, ‘Yo, what’s up, Batman? What’s going on wit chu?'”
Luckily, Kravitz didn’t let that hold her back and when she was cast as the undeniably badass Toast the Knowing in this summer’s Mad Max reboot, she felt she’d finally broken through.
“It was the fourth movie I ever booked,” she told Nylon. “I saw the trailer last summer and cried. It took a lot out of me. Being in such little clothing in the desert in a car for 12 hours a day—we all started to go a little crazy. But it was worth every second. I can’t believe I’m in it.”
And she’s got even more big films on the way: Kravitz—whose parents are musician Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet—is currently filming Allegiant: Part I, the third installment in the Divergent trilogy alongside Shailene Woodley, and this summer, she’s been turning heads as the über-cool Nakia in the 2015 indie film, Dope—all while fronting her band, Lolawolf (which opened for Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen), and sending men into a tizzy from the pages of GQ.
“It’s a battle to do your thing, even when people aren’t cheering you on,” says Kravitz. “I had to learn to deliver no matter what—but there’s a freedom that takes over.”
In the issue of Nylon, Kravitz also openly discusses personal battles she has dealt with since her childhood, including the major struggles with her body image. According to Nylon, Kravitz grew up “as a self-described ‘chubby, awkward brown girl around a bunch of blonde girls’,” who was fighting against bulimia and anorexia. As a teen, it didn’t help that her mother was considered one of “the most beautiful woman in the world,” and that her dad dated supermodels. Above all, the actress hated herself, her body, and “being human.” But Kravitz has come a long, long way to self-acceptance. She told Nylon, “loving yourself is a journey—we’re all just trying to figure it out.”
Kravitz’s powerful and honest words are an important reminder for anyone who has ever felt marginalized or unwanted or unsure of themselves and their capabilities. The actress and musician took the completely uncalled for Dark Knight Rises rejection as a lesson — only you are allowed to set your own self worth. And Zoë, you are worth so much. We’re excited for this young woman’s journey, and can’t wait for her next brilliant project.