Before she became an A-list actress, Olivia Wilde had a tough time learning the tricks of the trade.
The 28-year-old opened up about her days as a “terrible assistant” for “the world’s greatest” and “most powerful” casting director,” Mali Finn, during Marie Claire’s “The Power of Presence event in New York City Nov. 14.
“I had just come from school, and I was a little feminist and she was, too. I remember an actress coming in wearing a too-short dress. And after she left, Mali said, ‘Why was she wearing that dress? She’s a joke, I’m not meeting with her ever again,'” Wilde said (via Buzzfeed). “And this girl was never heard from again.”
The Butter star continued, “A few days later, I was going for an audition and I was wearing this huge cashmere turtleneck and pants, thinking I looked very ‘executive.’ As I was walking out of the office, Mali said, ‘Olivia, what are you wearing? I said I was going to a meeting, and she said, ‘Oh! You can’t wear that! You have to wear something tight and sexy.'”
Wilde said she felt “so confused” by her boss’ contradictory advice. “I had just learned this lesson of this actress who wore the short skirt and now her career is over. So she said, ‘You’re going to meet a male executive. You have to learn this game, you have to learn when to use sexuality and beauty and appearance in general, and when it’s inappropriate.'”
According to Wilde — who is currently dating Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis — the experience was her “first kind of dunk into the world of Hollywood. It gives you this idea of the contradiction that exists, really in all fields.”