She is one of the most successful authors in British history, with legions of fans and millions of pounds to her name, but it appears even JK Rowling is not immune to pressure over her appearance.

The writer of the Harry Potter books has told for the first time how she consciously got her "act together" after being criticised in the media for looking "unkempt" in the early days of her fame. Speaking to BBC Radio's Woman's Hour, Rowling, 48, tells how she deliberately "tidied herself up a bit" as a result of the insults.

She says she was accused of having "messy" hair in her early days as a successful writer. "I would be a liar if I said I don't care; yes, I care. I found it very difficult, when I first became well known, to read criticism about how I look."

When asked about her reaction to media criticism, she said: "You can choose, you can go one of two ways. You can be the person I probably admire more and say 'well I don't care' and I'll continue not to bother to brush my hair. Or you can be a weak-willed person like me and think 'oh I'd better get my act together. And maybe my mother was right and I do need to put my hair back and tidy myself up a bit'."


Rowling underwent a noticeable transformation around 2008, when she appeared at premieres and on television in glamorous outfits.

Rowling said women in the public eye are under much greater pressure than men over their appearance.

"It must be so nice to be a man and just think which of my three suits will I wear today, and nobody would say a thing.

"With us it's our weight, our clothes, how we're ageing, our hair ... If all you [men] have got to worry about is your hairline, I'm afraid ... If I sound bitter, then that accurately reflects how I feel about the subject."