Things I learnt about Meryl Steep while reading the new biography of her that is excerpted in Canvas this weekend:
She was an unpopular kid. Her own brother described her as "pretty ghastly when she was young" with a strong bossy streak running through her. She herself says, "The kids would chase me up into a tree and hit my legs with sticks until they bled. Besides that, I was ugly..."
She wasn't ugly, but with her cat-eye glasses, braces and a brown perm, she had a way to go. Then, at 14, she took off her braces, ditched the glasses for contacts and peroxided her hair with lemon juice. She was learning, she says, how to be appealing.
By the end of her senior year, she was elected homecoming queen. And by the time she'd hit her first year of drama school at Yale University, her acting talent was undeniable: the class started calling themselves "the Meryl Streep class".
Still, even if you seem to be the chosen one, life can hit you in the guts, as it did for Streep, just as she was on the cusp of stardom.