Debra Messing was told her nose was "ruining" a movie.
The 48-year-old actress was left devastated when filmmaker Alfonso Arau – who helmed her first movie, 1995’s ‘A Walk in the Clouds’ – told her to visit a plastic surgeon because he didn’t like her hooter, and the incident left her confidence in tatters.
She recalled: "I’d never been on a film before. I was doing a love scene with Keanu Reeves. We started filming and the very famous director screamed ‘Cut’ and said, ‘How quickly can we get a plastic surgeon in here? Her nose is ruining my movie.’
"It was a shock. I was so confident coming out of graduate school with my Masters in acting.
"I’d studied in London and I was so well equipped with skill sets, and then to walk on set and have that happen – I was reduced to an un-Hollywood nose."
It has taken Debra "years and years and years" to embrace her unique look and feels frustrated that Hollywood has such a "very narrow" definition of what is beautiful.
Speaking to ELLE.com at the MAKERS conference, she said: "It’s taken me years and years and years to finally own my differences and to love what’s different about me, and to come face to face with a truth within my industry, within our culture.
"There is a very narrow definition of what a beautiful, vital, vibrant, interesting woman looks like, and that’s the thing we’re constantly fighting against. My entire career I’ve been swimming in that pond, where it’s like, ‘Oh no, you don’t look right’."
The former ‘Will and Grace’ star also told the conference how the director had pushed her to do an unscripted nude scene and lifted the sheet covering her to look at her body.
She said: "He dropped the sheet on top of me like a used Kleenex, then walked away without a word."
But the nudity wasn’t even used in the final edit of the film, with Debra believing the "trauma" was a calculated "power play" to "demean" her and "strip" her of her "pride and power".
Nine years after shooting ‘A Walk in the Clouds’, Debra ran into Alfonso in the street.
She recalled: "He said, ‘Bella! It’s been so long, you were so funny in the movie, I’m so happy to see you again!’ I said, ‘Thank you,’ and I turned around and never looked back."
And the actress is thankful she never gave into the pressure to alter her appearance.
She said: "I have a strong nose, I have small breasts. I’m a f***ing original. My nose and I have come this far, and like Barbra Streisand I’m defiantly keeping it."