Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson Was Told to 'Drop Some Weight' During 'Miserable' Start in Hollywood

The actor and former wrestler was honored with the Generation Award during the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards

It’s official: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is a once-in-a-generation talent!

The actor and former wrestler was honored with the Generation Award during the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards on Monday. This marked his first time attending the show since hosting in 2016 with Kevin Hart.

Host Zachary Levi introduced Johnson by highlighting many of his lifetime accomplishments, before showing a reel of his most memorable on-screen roles. The actor, 47, then made his grand entrance, led by a Samoan dance to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” with his wrestling name written in flames on the screen behind the dancers.

While accepting the award, Johnson reminisced on his early days in Hollywood and how he was often told he would have to change himself in order to be accepted.

“When I first got to Hollywood, Hollywood — they didn’t know what the hell to do with me,” he told the audience. “I was this half-black, half-Samoan, 6 foot 4, 275-pound wrestler.”

Dwayne Johnson
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

“I was told at that time, you’ve gotta be a certain way. You’ve gotta drop some weight, you’ve gotta be somebody different, you’ve gotta stop working out, stop doing the things that I love, you’ve gotta stop calling yourself ‘The Rock,'” he recalled.

Continuing, the actor admitted, “For years, I actually bought into it because you think, ‘Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do.'”

It wasn’t until he realized how “miserable” he was that Johnson decided to be his “authentic self.”

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“I was miserable doing that, so I made a choice. The choice was I wasn’t gonna conform to Hollywood, Hollywood was gonna conform to me,” he explained. “What you saw up here tonight, that’s who I am. I’m proudly half-black and half-Samoan, and I wanted to bring those cultures up here for the world to see.”

The actor thanked the fans and his family — “I’ve got a house full of strong-ass women,” he proudly declared — before finishing with one last tidbit of advice.

“It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice,” he recalled of his favorite quote from the time he was 15 years old. Johnson also stressed the importance of being compassionate, inclusive and good to people, “because that matters.”

“That’s when you become powerful, that’s when you become intellectual,” he added. “That’s when you can have real global influence in a positive way.”

Past recipients of the award include Chris Pratt, Will Smith, Reese Witherspoon, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Wahlberg, Sandra Bullock, Jamie Foxx, Johnny Depp, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, Tom Cruise, Jim Carrey and the Fast & Furious franchise.

Johnson next stars opposite Jason Statham in the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, out on Aug. 2. His sequel to Jumanji, Welcome to the Jungle, opens in December.

The MTV Movie & TV Awards aired Monday, June 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California.

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