The Real Reason Kate Winslet Was Scared Of Hollywood

After being propelled to superstardom overnight with the success of 1997’s Titanic, Kate Winslet had doubts about her acting prowess, as well as her ability to hold her ground in Hollywood. Winslet opened up during a group interview with the Los Angeles Times that featured the likes of Vanessa Kirby, Michelle Pfieffer, Rashida Jones, and Andra Day. The Envelope’s Actress Roundtable was filmed virtually in December, when the actresses revealed their excitement over working in today’s industry as well as some of the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

Kirby took the opportunity to ask Winslet about her experience on Titanic after the four discussed their careers as actors. “Kate, can I ask what it was like being so young in Titanic? Did it like blow your mind after it came out and you realized that that many people were watching you in the cinema?” she asked. “Did you know at the time when you were making it —”

“I didn’t,” Winslet quickly responded. “I was playing an American for the first time. And working with Leo, who I’d seen in [What’s Eating] Gilbert Grape and Basketball Diaries. So it was like, ‘Oh, my God, I’m Kate from Reading.’ I was the overweight girl who would always be at the end of the line. And because my name was a W, sometimes I wouldn’t even get in the door of the audition because they’d run out of time before the Ws. And I was in Titanic. It’s mad.”

Kate Winslet felt like her role in Titanic was a fluke

Following her success in Titanic, Kate Winslet steered clear of blockbuster films. When asked about her longevity in Hollywood, the actress explained that her aversion to the industry had served her well in the long run. “The honest answer is I was scared of Hollywood. A big, scary place, where everyone had to be thin and look a certain way,” she said. “And I knew that I did not look that way or feel like I fit there, so if I was ever going to belong, I had to earn my place.”

The mother-of-three even explained that she believed her Academy Award nomination for Sense & Sensibility at age 19 had been a “fluke.” She went on to say that when she had her daughter, her attitude toward her career shifted. “When I became a mother at 25, all of that stuff evaporated completely. Then two years after she was born, I was asked to do Eternal Sunshine [of the Spotless Mind]. I do believe that was a huge turning point in my career, because from then on people suddenly went, ‘Oh, she can do that?!'”

According to People, Winslet said that she was just learning how to act when she landed the role of Rose in Titanic. She stayed away from big roles following the movie to continue to improve her skills and maintain her privacy. When asked how she felt after Titanic‘s success, Winslet explained on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast, “I felt quite bullied, if I’m honest. I remember just thinking, ‘Okay, well, this is horrible and I hope it passes.’ And it did definitely pass but it also made me realize that if that’s what being famous was, I was not ready to be famous, thank you. No, definitely not.”

Always an outlier and an incredible talent, Kate Winslet proves just how valuable being different can be.

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