My Big Fat Greek Wedding star Nia Vardalos says agent told her she ‘wasn’t pretty enough to be a leading lady’

Nia Vardalos has opened up about the reality of her early years in the acting industry, revealing the hurtful comments she received from her first agent.

The 60-year-old Canadian actor is best known for writing and leading the early Noughties romcom My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) opposite John Corbett. The two have since reprised their roles in the 2016 sequel and the third Greek Wedding movie, releasing on Friday (8 September).

“Sometimes I’m depicted as this very strong person who was rejected by Hollywood and therefore created my own story,” Vardalos told MovieMaker magazine in an interview conducted before the ongoing actors’ and writers’ strikes.

However, before she found her breakthrough success with the trilogy’s debut film, she was told by the first agent she approached after moving to Hollywood that “I wasn’t pretty enough to be a leading lady and not fat enough to be a character actor”.

“People were not even shocked,” Vardalos said of people’s reaction to the story. “They would say, ‘Oh yeah, my agent told me the same thing.’ I realised that story and that negativity was going to drag me down.”

She continued: “I had to turn the experiences into something, so I borrowed a friend’s computer and wrote the screenplay for My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

“The reality is that it hurt to be told that my ethnicity and my looks were the problem. I never had my looks categorised as being detrimental to my career. So, anyway, F her, because look how it turned out,” the My Life In Ruins star said. Vardalos is of Greek and Canadian descent.

Nia Vardalos (Getty Images)
Nia Vardalos (Getty Images)

The final film of the Big Fat trilogy comes more than a year after Vardalos first announced they had begun production in June 2022. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 also marks the first film Vardalos has directed in the franchise.

The forthcoming movie comes six years after the second debuted in 2016, of which you can read The Independent’s two-star review here.

The hit original, which also featured the late Michael Constantine, earned Vardalos an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Constantine died in 2021, aged 94, of natural causes. His death came before he was able to begin shooting the third film.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 3 releases in cinemas on Friday.