Elizabeth Entenman
May 20, 2016 11:42 am
Neilson Barnard/ Getty Images

We love, love, love it when The Hollywood Reporter does roundtable interviews with our favorite actresses, and their latest installation did not disappoint. They gathered Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Julianna Margulies, Sarah Paulson, Kirsten Dunst, Regina King, and Constance Zimmer to dish about everything from being called “divas” to how they have to be more well-behaved than their male co-stars.

But one part of the conversation stuck out to us in particular: When the women discussed the overtly sexist things they’ve experienced in their careers. Sarah Paulson made a comment that we can’t get out of our heads.

“I’ve never been asked to play the [romantic] leading lady without having to be a blonde,” she told THR.

Let that sink in for a minute. We know the Marilyn Monroe philosophy that gentlemen prefer blondes, but to actually hear that it’s affected Paulson’s acting career is a bit shocking.

“I don’t mind it, I like the blonde — but to be told that in order to be considered a romantic lady opposite some hunky guy, I need to have long blonde hair that looked very L.A. Real Housewives?” she commented.

Paulson is a natural brunette, but has switched up her hair a lot for roles. It’s not an uncommon thing to do, especially if an actress is playing a specific character. But when it’s just for a romantic lead, you can’t help but wonder why. Most recently, she remained a brunette to play Marcia Clark on The People v. O.J. Simpson.

“It does do something to your brain,” she continued. “You go, ‘Gosh, so the way I came into the world is not as appealing as it would be if I were altered in some way?’ That’s a funny message to extend to a person. And that’s the other thing: I did it. I put the extensions in, I blonded it up.”