Growing up in Bernardsville, New Jersey, “I thought no-one liked me,” recalled Meryl Streep, 67. “Actually, I’d say I had pretty good evidence. The kids would chase me up into a tree and hit my legs with sticks until they bled. Besides that, I was ugly.”
With her “cat-eye glasses and brown, neck-length perm, Meryl looked like a middle-aged secretary,” writes Michael Schulman in his biography of the three-time Oscar winner, Her Again (Allen & Unwin, $32.99). “Some of the kids at school though she was a teacher.”
That all changed when she discovered boys, as Schulman writes in his book, excerpted in WHO this week: “At 14, Meryl Streep took off her braces. She ditched her glasses and started wearing contacts. She doused her hair in lemon juice and peroxide until it gleamed like gold.” The former aspiring soprano set her sights on becoming a cheerleader—a role she pulled off with aplomb. Eventually, she was crowned Homecoming Queen.
The future star was, says Schulman, “an excellent imposter.”
For more on the making of Meryl Streep, including her teenage yearning to feel loved, see this week’s issue of WHO magazine, on sale now.
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