Entertainment

Dev Patel admits being called ‘the ugliest’ of the Skins cast ‘took its toll’

Dev is Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated (Picture: John Phillips/Getty Images)

Dev Patel admits seeing his looks ranked against his Skins co-stars ‘really took a toll’ on him. 

The 31-year-old actor has gone on to be one of the UK’s most acclaimed actors, with an Oscar nomination for Lion and Golden Globe nominations for Lion and The Personal History of David Copperfield under his belt. 

However, when he began his acting career as the sex-obsessed teen Anwar Kharral in the comedy-drama Skins, he struggled to deal with being referred to as ‘the ugliest’.

Speaking to the New York Times, Dev said: ‘I was a young kid going on these chat rooms and it was quite brutal. There were all these lists of who’s the favourite character on the show or who was the best-looking character, and I was always the ugliest, the least attractive. 

‘No one liked Anwar. It really took a toll on me personally.’

Dev starred on the cult hit show – about a group of teenagers dabbling in partying, sex and drugs – alongside young actors including Nicholas Hoult, Hannah Murray, Joe Dempsie, Kaya Scodelario and Daniel Kaluuya. 

It seems Danny Boyle’s daughter was a fan of Anwar, though, as she recommended Dev for the leading role in her dad’s film Slumdog Millionaire after seeing him on Skins, and the role of Jamal rocketed Dev to worldwide fame.

Dev played Anwar on Skins (Picture: Mike Marsland/WireImage)

However, he still struggled with his self-esteem, and didn’t feel ‘worthy’ when Slumdog Millionaire won best picture at the Oscars in 2009 or when he landed a best supporting actor nomination in 2017.

He said: ‘I didn’t feel worthy. That kind of speaks to my natural low self-esteem: You’re there with really impressive creatures, the best of the best, and you’re like, “I don’t know what I have to offer in this space.”’

Dev admitted that he often turns down major studio blockbusters because he fears ‘how I would fit into that world’.

Much like many of the stars of Skins, Dev didn’t actually have any acting experience when he attended an open audition for the show after his mum saw it advertised, and told the publication that his neighbours in Harrow were not impressed by the show’s content.

He said: ‘It felt like suicide in the community to put your kid into a TV show and let him drop out of school at 16.

‘While everyone else’s kid is off becoming a doctor or a dentist, I’m here on this TV show, simulating sex and taking drugs.’

However, it was his ticket to stardom, and Dev will next be seen playing Sir Gawain in the fantasy film The Green Knight.

Fans in the UK may struggle to see it, though, as it has been pulled from its UK release date of August 6. 


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