In an interview with The Telegraph, Pugh shared her experience going from working on director Carol Morley’s “The Falling,” which was a supportive creative environment, to the pilot of “Studio City,” where she was being judged for every part of her appearance. She felt disillusioned with the industry because they wanted her to completely change herself, including her weight, the shape of her face, and the shape of her eyebrows. That kind of pressure to fit a certain look and be a part of what she thought was “the top” of the industry was intense, and left her feeling like she’d “made a massive mistake.” Thankfully, she had Morley to go to as a mentor, and the director did her best to help the 19-year-old actress navigate such sharp criticism. Morley told Vogue:
“I didn’t want to take away her experience or minimize it. I just kept reinforcing the fact that it didn’t have to be that way. That it was unacceptable treatment. I didn’t know the circumstances, but I knew it had traumatized her. For me it was about making sure that she understood that it wasn’t the whole picture.”
Fortunately for all of us, Morley helped Pugh recognize that there are plenty of projects where she would be able to worry about acting instead of just focusing on her appearance, and she has gone on to be one of the most popular young stars in Hollywood today. “Studio City” may have felt like the big time, but Pugh’s gone way bigger since.