Florence Pugh's Run On Failed Fox Drama Studio City Was Traumatizing

Florence Pugh is an actor who never seems to shy away from a challenge, but it took tenacity to survive career-related trauma while she was just getting her start. When the young actor was first hoping for her big break at the age of 19, she got cast as the lead on a TV pilot for a Fox show called "Studio City," but the role would break her heart instead. 

In "Studio City," Pugh was cast in the role of a rising young pop star, a role that felt perfect for Pugh because she sang and wrote songs for her YouTube channel under the name Flossie Rose. Unfortunately, she was soon under pressure from multiple directions to change her appearance, including her weight. The number of comments and intensity of them were enough to shake the actor, and things became even more painful when "Studio City" wasn't picked up, sending the Hollywood hopeful packing back to her native England. 

Thankfully for all of us, Pugh didn't give up and continued to act, starring in a number of intense and provocative roles that proved she is one truly incredible performer. The rigors of fitting into asinine Hollywood beauty standards were painful for Pugh, but she just used the comments as fuel to prove her haters wrong. Who could possibly look at Florence Pugh and tell her she wasn't gorgeous? C'mon!

A fear of failing after The Falling

In an interview with The Telegraph, Pugh shared her experience going from working on director Carol Morley's "The Falling," which was a supportive creative environment, to the pilot of "Studio City," where she was being judged for every part of her appearance. She felt disillusioned with the industry because they wanted her to completely change herself, including her weight, the shape of her face, and the shape of her eyebrows. That kind of pressure to fit a certain look and be a part of what she thought was "the top" of the industry was intense, and left her feeling like she'd "made a massive mistake." Thankfully, she had Morley to go to as a mentor, and the director did her best to help the 19-year-old actress navigate such sharp criticism. Morley told Vogue:

"I didn't want to take away her experience or minimize it. I just kept reinforcing the fact that it didn't have to be that way. That it was unacceptable treatment. I didn't know the circumstances, but I knew it had traumatized her. For me it was about making sure that she understood that it wasn't the whole picture."

Fortunately for all of us, Morley helped Pugh recognize that there are plenty of projects where she would be able to worry about acting instead of just focusing on her appearance, and she has gone on to be one of the most popular young stars in Hollywood today. "Studio City" may have felt like the big time, but Pugh's gone way bigger since. 

A little reassurance goes a long way

It was probably vital for Pugh to have Morley's support, because it can be incredibly alienating to forge a career for yourself in any kind of public-facing industry as a young woman. Sexism still runs rampant and young starlets are subjected to some of the worst of it, leaving many jaded and embittered by their experiences. Pugh has turned the whole thing on its head, however, showing up on the red carpet in all manner of revealing outfits that leave very little to the imagination. The producers and other executives that wanted her to change on "Studio City" must really be smacking themselves at this point and realizing how lucky they were to have cast Pugh at all. 

The talented young performer has gone on to star in everything from powerful little indies like "The Wonder" to the upcoming sci-fi epic "Dune: Part Two," and she did it her way. She would definitely go on to torture herself more for roles, especially Ari Aster's "Midsommar," but at least that was her choice! I hope for her next role, Pugh gets to relax a little and maybe have a laugh. Put this woman in a "Mamma Mia!" stat!