Sarah Paulson of 'The People v. O.J. Simpson' Defends Marcia Clark, Talks Sexism in Hollywood

"I've never been asked to play the leading lady without having to be a blonde," the 'American Horror Story' actress revealed during THR's annual Drama Actress Roundtable.

Sarah Paulson got candid about her experience with sexism in the industry during The Hollywood Reporter's intimate Drama Actress Roundtable.

"I've never been asked to play the leading lady without having to be a blonde," Paulson, who starred in FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story and American Horror Story: Hotel, revealed. "I don't mind it, I like the blonde — but to be told that in order to be considered a romantic lady opposite some hunky guy, I need to have long blond hair that looked very L.A. Real Housewives? It does do something to your brain. You go, 'Gosh, so the way I came into the world is not as appealing as it would be if I were altered in some way?' That's a funny message to extend to a person.

Defending her People v. O.J. real-life counterpart Marcia Clark against similar sexist comments the prosecutor faced during the highly scrutinized O.J. Simpson trial, the actress told THR that "a lot of the stuff about Marcia Clark makes me very angry."

Though Paulson admitted she was young and "self-interested" when the trial was at its height, then unaware of the discrimination against Clark's physical appearance, she said, "Now, when I look back at it, I wonder where everybody was, where all the women were, why people weren't rallying around her and why she didn't have a support system from other women sort of saying, 'Why are we talking about how short her skirt is? And her bad hair?'"

Watch Paulson talk more about American Horror Story and the lines she won't cross for TV (none) in the video above.

More roundtables featuring comedy actresses, comedy and drama actors and reality hosts and producers will roll out throughout June in print and online. Tune in to new episodes of Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter starting June 26 on SundanceTV. And look for clips at THR.com/roundtables starting May 16, with full episodes on THR.com after broadcast.

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