Is being extremely attractive 'enough' to get by in Hollywood

Not sure how naive this question is, but Alec Baldwin once wrote to his brothers who were not in film yet and said something like ‘the streets of hollywood are paved with gold for handsome men’, and all the Baldwin brothers did fairly well in LA.

Now you have the Hemsworth brothers who are doing fairly well.

However I’m going to assume being good looking alone isn’t enough to get by (I’m sure the connections the one successful brother developed opened the door for the others in the above situations). Plus when you consider how many extremely attractive people end up doing porn, I’m sure they would do something more lucrative if the option was there.

So I’m guessing no (I’m going to assume astonishingly beautiful people, the 99.9th percentile and above, are a dime a dozen there, and you also need luck and connections), but what do I know.

Plenty of actors and actresses can get by on their looks; back under the studio system, it was often enough to have something of a career (look at Sonny Tufts, Victor Mature, Jayne Mansfield, etc.).

A good looking actress or actor does have a leg up over the competition even today. Luck and connections are involved, but your appearance will make you a bit luckier and lead to more connections.

Most movies don’t require great acting talent. People like to see attractive people, that’s the definition of attractive. There is some modicum of acting ability required, and a work ethic, those are not always qualities found in porn stars, and unfortunately once an actor has done porn it’s difficult to cross over into mainstream. So attractive, shows up on time, knows the lines, there’s only one thing more that it takes to be a passable actor in Hollywood, a good agent, and they’re always looking for attractive people.

No, if being extremely attractive was enough movies would be filled with porn stars, but those girls can’t act like they are being fucked while they are being fucked. You need to be extremely attractive and at least have a modicum of talent.

Well there are these two guys that seem to do OK

The fact that there are people who can get “niche casting” doesn’t undermine the OP’s premise. Danny Trejo is always going to be a tough-guy, Dean Norris is alwasy going to be a cop, Steve Buschemi is always going to be the weird guy, if they can’t get John Malkovich. But to get niche parts, you actually have to have some talent. A good looking guy (or girl) can get into the business on looks alone.

And if you are not attractive, it helps to be a man. I am always a little surprised that some men have been able to carve out a nice acting career despite their looks. For example, Toby Jones.

Or Kathy Bates

It might not be enough for a woman to be extremely attractive if she doesn’t put out atl least occasionally. Traditionally at least, the road to stardom is paved with older men’s dicks.

You mean like, being really, really, ridiculously good looking?

One of my best friends has been making his living the past half-decade or so as an actor in Hollywood. He is not what you would think of as really, really good looking. But he knows the business quite well by now and has a ton of connections and my impression is that great looks will not get you in the door. To land your first role requires some mixture of connections, talent and luck. From there, I assume good looks would allow you to maintain.

Hollywood is full of really hot girls waiting tables at Denny’s. There are more people who want to be in the business than there are openings. You can’t get by on looks alone because only 10% of people with those looks are going to make it.

That said, there are plenty of people who get by on looks plus something other than talent. They happened to meet the right person, get the right agent, be selected on the right casting call, etc.

It takes a lot of work to get work in Hollywood. Numerous casting calls, working as an extra, getting involved in workshops to make connections, doing commercials. All those things are needed to make the connections to get a part unless you already know someone. And in that minor work you do you need to show up on time ready to perform or you’ll get a reputation as a problem. Then among numerous would be actors taking those steps the best looking and/or most talented and/or most well connected will get the job. Connections can be over-rated, if you’re not the child or lover of a major figure it won’t take you very far without the looks or talent.

Riki Lindhome ( Garfunkel & Oates, Another Period, a slew of bit appearances ) has an intermittent podcast called ‘Making It’ on The Nerdist where she interviews various actors/other performers, often about how they succeeded in the business. For most it is a grind of one sort or another, though sometimes a casual sort of grind in terms of lifestyle. Somewhat randomly this one with Shannon Woodward ( Raising Hope ) is fairly entertaining.

I heard Paul Giamatti say in an interview that Hollywood might be easier for guys that look like him because everyone else is so good looking, but somebody’s got to play the doorman.

It doesn’t hurt to have your dad be the MLB Commissioner of Baseball either.

I guess if you aren’t conventionally attractive, being an Ivy League secret society member from a rich and famous family might help a little, too.

There are tons of handsome guys and beautiful women in Hollywood. So, even if you’re one of those Adonises or Aphrodites, you’ve got plenty of competition from other wannabes who look as good as you do.

Call good looks a necessary but insufficient asset for becoming a successful leading man or leading lady.

Oddly, working as an extra works against people trying to get into acting. They almost never give an extra an opportunity to step up to a speaking role.

Charisma, luck, nepotism, and a bit of moxie to recognise and then grasp an opportunity when it comes your way. Being attractive can be a factor at any stage, but it’s not a requirement. Talent in your field would also be handy, but evidence suggests that’s certainly not crucial.