"Be yourself. Never basically leave Kentucky," Shirley MacLaine told Jennifer Lawrence years ago

By Michael Miller
Updated March 17, 2016 10:00 AM
Credit: Cindy Ord/Getty

Before she became an Oscar winner and blockbuster star, Jennifer Lawrence received some sage advice from Shirley MacLaine, who urged the young actress to always stay true to herself.

“She was entirely different then. It was years ago and I don’t think she understood how good she really is,” MacLaine told PEPOLE and Entertainment Weekly Editorial Director Jess Cagle of their conversation during a recent SiriusXM town hall.

The Terms of Endearment acting icon saw a lot of herself in the outspoken Louisville, Kentucky, native – and encouraged Lawrence to not lose touch with her roots.

“Be yourself. Never basically leave Kentucky,” MacLaine recalled telling the young star. “Know who you are above all others.”

She also advised Lawrence to “keep your sense of humor if possible” and assured her she was “really talented, respected.”

Watch more of The Jess Cagle Interview with Shirley MacLaine on PEOPLE.com all day Thursday

Several years and four Oscar nominations later, the 25-year-old is now well known for her self-deprecating personality and sharp wit.

Ultimately, MacLaine also said, Lawrence’s success would be determined by her own creative satisfaction – not the amount of money she earns.

“You can’t know until you try it and succeed,” she said, explaining, “I don’t mean money, I mean fulfillment in the creative character.”

Shirley MacLaine’s latest book, Above the Line, is available now. Her Town Hall on Sirius XM, hosted by PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly Editorial Director Jess Cagle, will be broadcast March 24 at 2 p.m. ET on EW Radio.