I'd be lying if I said didn't wonder how different my life would be if I didn't look the way I do. If I were tall instead of short. If I had a slender face rather than a round one. If my shoulders were narrow rather than broad. I never thought about those things until I was turned down for a job in a huge city because I "wouldn't look good on billboards." And then I became self conscious. Very, very self conscious.

It used to kill me the way people would look at my dad, a man who until cancer wreaked havoc on his body, always hoovered around 300 pounds with a full Santa beard. My dad was the most jolly person I'd ever met. Someone could spit in his face and he'd smile at them and wish them a happy day- and mean it.The hurtful and judging looks rolled right off my dad's shoulders- but they didn't roll off mine. I vowed that I wouldn't ever treat a person differently based on how they looked, how much money they had or didn't have, where they came from, etc.

I've always tried to get to know a person based on who they are on the inside. I've learned that some of the most fascinating and intelligent people are those who aren't what society believe to be beautiful and some of the most clueless and shallow people are those society finds attractive.

While preparing for the movie "Tootsie," a light bulb went off inside Dustin Hoffman and had a profound effect on the way he views others. Here he explains in his own words what happened: