Meryl Streep Believes Her ‘Cleavage’ In Her ‘Padded Bra’ Helped Her Win an Oscar-Nominated Role

Meryl Streep is an Oscar-winning actor for the tremendous ways that she translates a character from the page to the silver screen. However, she had to overcome superficial judgments about her appearance through some stages of her career. As a result, Streep feels that she got one of her Oscar-nominated roles thanks to buying a “padded bra” and giving herself more cleavage.

Meryl Streep often wasn’t thought to be ‘pretty enough’ for movie roles

Oscar winner Meryl Streep wearing blue and laughing standing in front of a step and repeat
Meryl Streep | Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

Erin Carlson’s Queen Meryl explores the various stages throughout the actor’s career. Streep didn’t necessarily have the easiest time making it to the top. The book explains how she lacked the sex appeal of actors such as Jessica Lange. Streep admired her fellow actor, but she also envied the fact that she brought something that casting directors didn’t think Streep could deliver.

Moviegoers questioned why they were drawn to the actor, thinking, “She’s so plain. But she’s not not pretty.” However, she utilized this to her advantage, as she avoided getting pigeonholed in a single type of role. She became a chameleon, taking on diverse roles that earned her Oscar award attention.

“I wasted so many years thinking I wasn’t pretty enough and why didn’t I have Jessica Lange’s body or someone else’s legs?,” Streep recalled. “What a waste of time.”

Meryl Streep believes that buying a ‘padded bra’ helped her get her Oscar-nominated role in ‘Out of Africa’

Director Sydney Pollack was looking to cast the lead role of Karen in Out of Africa. Streep’s agent, Sam Cohn, pitched her on the film, but the director wasn’t interested in the actor. Nevertheless, Streep continued to push her interest in the role, so Pollack agreed to meet up with the actor.

According to Queen Meryl, the Oscar-nominated director didn’t think that Streep was “sexy” enough for the role. As a result, Streep came up with a plan.

“I went out and got a padded bra, one of those dreadful frilly low-cut blouses for our first meeting—and I got the part,” Streep said. “Now, I’m sure it was because of my Danish accent and my intelligence and my ability to portray a writer. But it also probably had something to do with the cleavage.”

‘Out of Africa’ director Sydney Pollack responded to the ‘padded bra’ situation

However, Pollack didn’t necessarily agree with Streep’s account of the story.

“She tells the story that she wore this push-up bra, and that’s why I hired her,” Pollack said. “You have to trust; it wasn’t the push-up bra.”

Pollack explained that once he looked at Streep face-to-face, he realized why the Oscar winner is so talented. He forgot about her previous roles, such as Sophie in Sophie’s Choice and Joanna in Kramer vs. Kramer. Pollack simply saw Streep, but also how she could perfectly fit into the lead role for Out of Africa.

The film won seven Oscars, including Best Picture. Streep would ultimately receive an Oscar nomination for her role in Out of Africa. However, she lost out to Geraldine Page’s performance in The Trip to Bountiful.

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