Belfast Telegraph

Jessica Chastain: Old ladies loved me

Jessica Chastain says the only attention she got growing up was from "old ladies cooing".

The actress has won hordes of admirers since taking Hollywood by storm with appearances in movies including The Help and Lawless. Jessica never felt attractive when she was growing up, claiming her vibrant red hair was a deterrent to most people - apart from elderly women.

"I was ten years old. When I was this age I was such an ugly duckling: bright orange hair, my freckles. I never really got attention from boys and when you're a redhead all you get is old ladies coming up to you and cooing, not much else," she explained to the latest issue of GQ. "I felt invisible."

Although Jessica never felt she stood out in a crowd, she has one fond memory from her childhood. Her family were visiting Disneyland when one of the dancers spotted her and gave her a life-changing confidence boost.

"I remember being at Disneyland and we were waiting to see the parade, with the fireworks, Minnie and Mickey and all that stuff. I remember one dancer… she spotted me in the crowd and walked over. She told me how beautiful I was… At a time when I felt hidden she gave me a spark," Jessica recalled. "Disneyland to a kid back then was like the greatest place on earth, with thousands of people there, but I got picked. That girl pointed at me and said, 'There's something about you.'"

When they returned to watch the parade again the following day, the dancer once again picked Jessica out and praised her.

The star has since learned to love her pale skin and red locks. However, the 35-year-old is still surprised by the reaction her hair gets when she is travelling the world.

"Brits are usually so mean to redheads. Why is that? In America it's seen as a good thing. Look at Julia Roberts - she's cool, right?" Jessica protested. "I was working in Thailand and I'd be walking down the street and people - British people - would stop the car and scream, 'Ginger!' at me. I was secretly pleased. If only to confirm that British people really go scream 'Ginger!' at random redheads in public."

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