How to Respond to Criticism, According to Hollywood A-Listers
Few know better than celebrities about the weight of criticism. From their acting skills to red carpet style and dating antics, there's rarely an aspect of their lives that skirts attention. With such close scrutiny, a select few have mastered the key to responding to criticism with style. We've taken a look at how our favourite leading ladies have handled tricky situations and held their heads high, so next time you're faced with criticism, you can channel Taylor or Ruby and follow their lead. Read on to find out how to respond to criticism, according to Hollywood A-listers.
At only 26, music icon Taylor Swift has developed a thick skin and knack for responding to critics with grace. Her recent Grammy Awards acceptance speech elicited applause from the industry and internet audience alike. In response to a dustup with Kanye West, Taylor said, "I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame. But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you... you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world."
Her advice: Stay positive, and don't let yourself be drawn into drama. If you choose to address the situation, open the conversation by thanking the person for their feedback before starting a discussion. It might be tempting to take on your critic and hit back, but A-listers know that taking the high road is better in the long run.
Podcast pick: "How Do I Survive the Critics?" by Dear Sugar (free)
Amy Schumer's mantra when it comes to critics is simple: Call them out; then let it go. The actress and comedian garnered attention when she called a fan out for posting a picture of her with a sexist comment. While she was quick to let the young fan know she had seen his post, she was equally swift to forgive.
Her advice: Don't hold a grudge. Show your compassion and be ready to accept an apology. Holding onto resentment after a disagreement can do more damage to a relationship than necessary, whether it be with a colleague or friend.
Podcast pick: "How to Confront Someone Who Offends You" by This Is Your Life (free)
When Blake Lively took her first step into the business world and launched lifestyle website Preserve, she was hit with a torrent of negative feedback. One year later, the actress closed the website and faced her critics in an unexpected way—with total honesty. "We launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way," she told Vogue. Lively admitted that some of her critics were right, and rather than ignore their comments she says she intends to listen to their feedback and learn from the experience.
Her advice: Listen and learn. It's easy to take offense to criticism, but take a moment to consider what your critic is really saying. Is there something you can learn from this experience? Flip the situation, and use it as an opportunity to learn.
Podcast pick: "Rewiring Your Brain and Creating New Habits" by Bulletproof Radio (free)
She might be a fiery Litchfield detainee on Orange Is the New Black, but in real life, Australian actress Ruby Rose navigates conflict with tact. When probed by a reporter with a critical comment from fellow actress Jennifer Lawrence, Rose didn't let drama ignite. "What I do know is that Jennifer Lawrence is an amazing actress and an amazing advocate for women and women’s empowerment and the wage gap in Hollywood and so many amazing things," she says. "I think that is an easy quote to misinterpret or to pick apart. But I know that she has an amazing sense of humor, and for her to say that, I know that would never come from a bad place." While she might have been inclined to bite back to the controversial comment, Rose took a deep breath and chose not to trust secondhand criticism.
Her advice: Don't believe everything you hear; negative comments have a way of being inflated by word of mouth. If criticism reaches you via another source, proceed with caution, and don't be afraid to go direct. Just be conscious of your tone and start the conversation without bias.
Podcast pick: "Successful Givers, Toxic Takers, and the Life We Spend at Work" by On Being (free)
If you feel like criticism isn't warranted, don't be afraid to back yourself in a respectful way. Nineteen-year-old singer Ella Yelich-O'Connor, aka Lorde, showed wisdom beyond her years when she spoke out about people who doubt her skills. In response to a disagreement with her manager, Lorde said, "Don’t underestimate my skill. Yes, I’m a young lass, but I’m also making the best decisions for me each day."
Her advice: Know your worth. If you feel like a colleague or friend's comments are out of line, reword your response so that it's not an accusation. By tweeting about her skills, Lorde was able to take the focus off her disagreement and show that she knows her value.
Podcast pick: "The Meaning of Work" by TED Radio Hour (free)
When criticism is personal, it can sting even more than usual. Whether it's negative feedback after a work presentation or a critical comment left on your Instagram post, it's hard to learn not to take it personally. Gwyneth Paltrow led the way by deflecting a personal critique when Steven Colbert made light of her lifestyle site, Goop. Rather than take his comments as a personal hit, Paltrow responded with humor. Goop went along with the joke and posted a satirical blog post that quickly went viral.
Her advice: Respond with humor! Diffuse a situation by addressing the tension with a joke. Paltrow owned the situation by deflecting Colbert's criticism with a witty response.
Podcast pick: "Just a Little Nicer" by TED Radio Hour (free)
How do you respond to criticism? Share your advice in the comments below.