By Maureen Lee Lenker
October 22, 2018 at 11:00 AM EDT

Watch the full episode of Couch Surfing streaming now on, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

It’s impossible to overstate how huge Pam Grier’s status as an icon and sex symbol was in the 1970s and 80s with the success of films like Foxy Brown.

When the legendary actress sat down with PeopleTV’s Couch Surfing to look back at her career, she pointed to two things to explain her meteoric rise — her weight and her dedication to serious acting.

Grier, rather dismissively, explains she became a sex symbol because she was “thin,” which propelled her to becoming a “successful brand.” She notes, “They kept saying, ‘Oh she’s so pretty, she’s so sexy’ because I was thin.”

RELATED VIDEO: Oh Baby! Pam Grier explains her hilarious Night Court guest appearance

But it’s something else entirely that Grier credits to her staying power — her pursuit of “serious” acting. “Once I started learning really theater, and they realized I raised the attitude of a B-Movie to Strasberg, to Robert De Niro, to Neighborhood Playhouse, the Method in the Roger Corman movies, that’s what propelled me into the light of, ‘No, she bites into it, she’s edgy.’ That’s what Quentin loved about my work.”

Watch the clip above for more.

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