The entertainment business is certainly not for the faint of heart—for every one yes, there are likely 99 no’s behind it, and definitely so in the beginning. Drew Barrymore and Hilary Duff both got a taste of this early, as both were child stars, Barrymore as a little girl in E.T., and Duff, of course, starring as Lizzie McGuire.
The two women bonded on yesterday’s episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, where they reminisced on losing out on several roles they auditioned for—and the lessons they learned from the rejection.
“There’s been so many times when I felt like a loser or I didn’t get the job or I’ve been sitting stagnant,” Duff said, per People. “But I had to fill my life with things that were real, and that was enough at that moment.”
Barrymore commiserated, saying of her own experience “I had such a bizarre relationship with rejection so early in my life that I appreciated what it gave to me, which was thinking there was enough room for everyone and that being competitive was unnecessary because there really is enough room for everybody,” she said.
To Barrymore’s point about competitiveness, Duff said it was “still a hard one sometimes,” and Barrymore continued “And people have a competitive spirit. That’s a healthy thing. I get that. But it is weird to be a kid that you find out it’s not going to be you and you’re like, ‘Okay, I have to figure out how I function through that.’”
Of all the gigs she’s been turned down for, Duff said “When people ask you, ‘What job did you not get?’ I’m like, ‘There’s been so many, I actually can’t remember. I can’t tell you. It wasn’t worth holding onto it. So I dumped it back there somewhere.’” Barrymore added, “I won’t ever admit it because I don’t want the person who ended up doing it to feel weird.”
Duff is thinking of her own experience with rejection at a young age as she watches her 11-year-old son Luca learn the same lessons: “I think the rejection thing is kind of coming full circle to me right now because I don’t think I’ve quite processed how much rejection you have to deal with as a child actor, or just even in this business in general,” she said. “My son, he’s doing club sports, and you have to continue to basically audition. It’s not called ‘audition’ in sports, but that’s my language. I’m like, ‘Are you ready for rehearsal? Okay, it’s practice, got it. You got your costume on? Oh, it’s your uniform.’ Yeah, yeah, yeah. He’s so annoyed.” (Duff is also mom to daughters Mae and Banks.)
She continued “But he has to continue to make the team every season and he’s always like, ‘What if I don’t get it? What if I don’t get it?’ and I’m like ‘You don’t know how many auditions I didn’t get. You don’t know how many times I got told no. Like, we gotta just drop it. If it doesn’t work out, we move on.’”
In the meaningful exchange, Barrymore added “I think I do have a healthy relationship with rejection because of our job,” to which Duff hilariously responded, “Or we’re just beaten down.”
“You’re overstuffed, you’re ready to quit, you’re beaten down, you feel liberated,” Barrymore said, high-fiving Duff. “Turning pain into strength.”
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Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.
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