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Entertainment Weekly

News

Angela Bassett, Constance Zimmer, and more share their rejection stories

Michael Buckner/Deadline/REX/Shutterstock

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No one likes rejection, but sometimes it can be a good thing.

On Twitter this week, people far and wide have been sharing their stories of being rejected, both personally and professionally, with the hashtag #ShareYourRejection. It happens to the best and most successful individuals, a fact which is evident in this special “They Told Me No” video as part of the “Only Woman in the Room” campaign.

Angela Bassett, Jamie Chung, and Constance Zimmer are just a few of the stars who opened up to EW about the times they’ve been told “no” in their careers and how those moments only fueled their deep desire to succeed. “In terms of my career and being told no or you can’t do it, that’s always been something that lights my fire,” says Bassett in the video. “We see you over here in this little box, and I’m like, okay, good, that works in my advantage because you’re not expecting much but you get more, so I love when they don’t quite see you and you’re able to change their minds”

Christopher Robin‘s Hayley Atwell remembers learning the difficulties of pursuing acting while working in a casting office as a teenager. She discovered firsthand how often the “nos” come, not because of talent or audition caliber, but rather because of appearance and things outside her control. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing an acting career. “If you still, at the end of that, want to be an actor, then you probably have enough drive for what it takes to go on that journey understanding that it’s not easy,” she says.

“It’s really nice when somebody says you don’t have to stay in your lane anymore.”

Similarly, UnReal star Constance Zimmer recalls what it was like always being told to stay in her lane and the freedom of breaking through that: “It’s really nice when somebody says you don’t have to stay in your lane anymore.”

All of the actresses featured in the video reflected on the times they were told they weren’t good enough, adding that it’s something everyone has experienced and that the best way to get through it is by staying true to yourself and ignoring the naysayers. Trans artist Our Lady J says hearing “no” will better prepare you to be ready for a long-awaited “yes.” She notes, “When that door opens, you’re ready to move into that space because people have said no so many times. It’s like the engine has already been going and you’re just waiting for the door to open.”

Watch the video below for more words of wisdom on how to handle rejection.

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