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In an painful confession, Matilda's Mara Wilson reveals how her looks forced her to quit acting.

Mamamia logo Mamamia 27/08/2016 Katy Hall

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She was one of the biggest child actors of all time. And now almost 16 years after disappearing from screens, Mara Wilson has shared the reason behind her Hollywood departure.

“There had been a time when people would just ask me to be in a movie, without making me audition,” the now 29-year-old writes in an excerpt from her soon-to-be-released memoir published in People Magazine. But upon hitting her teen years, Wilson said, “that didn’t happen anymore. I wasn’t getting any parts.”

Lifting the veil on the impossible beauty standard of Hollywood, the Mrs Doubtfire star said that within just a few short years of becoming a teenager, she went from a highly sought after actress to having to audition for the role of the "fat girl", her self-esteem plummeting from the brutal rejection.

THEN: Jerry Mathers: <p>From 1957 to 1963, Jerry Mathers charmed Leave It To Beaver's audiences each week as the Cleaver family's adorable little rascal, Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver.</p> What Your Favourite Child Stars Look Like Now "At thirteen, being pretty mattered more than it ever had. Auditions were a lost cause. I knew by then that if I wanted to be in film, I had to be beautiful," she continues.

Suggesting she take a break, Wilson's father encouraged his daughter to throw herself into high school and academia.

And while the Matilda star admits watching peers like Scarlett Johanson and Kristen Stewart advance their careers was hard, she eventually made her way to NYU where she fell in love with theatre and playwriting.

Mara Wilson. © Twitter Mara Wilson. Since moving on, Wilson said, "I've had people tell me, 'The way that you judge yourself, looks-wise, is on this really strange level.' Well, it's because I grew up in Hollywood," she explains.

"I had good experiences there, but I always knew there were girls much prettier than I was, and I knew that I was always competing with them, she says before adding, "that has followed me my whole life."

Wilson says that while she's come a long way, she finds "where are they now" type articles particularly hard to deal with, explaining the comments directed towards her are often cruel and haunting.

"Maybe my obsession with looks was extreme and irrational — a kind of Hollywood-induced body dysmorphic disorder — but it wasn't unfounded. Looks did still matter in the real world," she says finally.

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