New Meryl Streep biography shows how she glamorously reinvented herself in high school

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E! Looks Back at Meryl Streep in 1990

A new biography about Meryl Streep, titled Her Again, has arrived.

Written by Michael Schulman — who did 80 interviews with people who knew Streep — the book sheds light on the Oscar-winning actress' life.

The book trails her rise as an actress, beginning with her first big acting challenge — becoming popular in high school.

Streep wasn't always top-clique material. "She was kind of a bossy little bully sort of girl," Schulman tells NPR.

"She had scraggly short hair, cat-eye glasses that made her look like a middle-aged secretary. She was completely unconcerned with how she looked and being liked."

But all that changed over the course of two years, according to Schulman. Streep went blonde, swapped glasses for contacts and joined new clubs.

"She joined the cheerleading squad, she was the lead in every musical, she would do the French Club and Student Council," Schulman says. "And eventually her senior year she was elected homecoming queen, which was kind of the pinnacle. It was kind of like winning best actress of her high school."

See Meryl Streep through the years:

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Meryl Streep
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New Meryl Streep biography shows how she glamorously reinvented herself in high school
Meryl Streep, American actress born in Summit, New Jersey, who has starred and acted in many award-winning films. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
The American actress Meryl Streep. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Meryl Streep and baby son Henry during Meryl Streep Sighting at JFK Airport - January 9, 1980 at JFK Airport in New York, United States. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
American actress Meryl Streep on the set of the film 'The French Lieutenant's Woman', 1980. (Photo by John Bulmer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Actress Meryl Streep attends the 'Into The Woods' world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
The bridesmaid Linda, played by Meryl Streep in a scene of The Deer Hunter by Michael Cimino, glances at John Cazale, guest to a Russian Wedding into an American Orthodox church together with Chuck Aspegren and Robert De Niro. Cleveland (USA), 1978. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Holocaust -- Aired 04/16/1978 - 04/19/1978 -- Pictured: Meryl Streep as Inga Helms Weiss (Photo by Jessica Burstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Meryl Streep and Husband Don Gummer during Woody Allen's New Years Eve Party at Harkness House in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - DECEMBER 17: Actress Meryl Streep attends the 'Kramer vs. Kramer' New York City Premiere on December 17, 1979 at Loews Astor Plaza in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actress Meryl Streep is shown at the seventh annual Los Angeles Film Critics Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Ca., on Jan. 13, 1982. Streep won the best actress award for her role in "The French Lieutenant's Woman." (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Meryl Streep during Wrap-Up Party for 'She-Devil' - July 7, 1989 at Caroline's Comedy Club in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American actress Meryl Streep puts her hair back as she poses on the terrace of the Festival Palace, during the Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 13, 1989. Streep is promoting her recent picture "A Cry in the Dark." (AP Photo/Gilbert Tourte)
American actress Meryl Streep flashes a smile as she walks down the red carpet prior to the premiere screening of her latest motion picture "The Bridges of Madison County," at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif., May 30, 1995. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
NEW YORK CITY - NOVEMBER 9: Actress Meryl Streep attends the 'Dancing at Lughnasa' New York City Premiere on November 9, 1998 at Sony Theatres Lincoln Square in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Meryl Streep during Meryl Streep Receives 2,119th Walk of Fame Star - September 16, 1998 at Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
397358 01: Actress Meryl Streep arrives at the 11th Annual 'A Magical Evening' Gala November 12, 2001 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, NY. The benefit raises funds for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Actress Meryl Streep enters the 'Late Show With David Letterman' taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on December 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Meryl Streep and Preston Whiteway attend the 14th annual Monte Cristo Award at The Edison Ballroom on April 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Honoree actress Meryl Streep attends the 14th annual Monte Cristo Award at The Edison Ballroom on April 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - APRIL 16: Academy Award winner, Meryl Streep, received a Conferral Honorary Degree from Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie at Indiana University Auditorium on April 16, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 09: Rob Marshall and Meryl Streep attend the The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Hosts An Official Academy Members Screening Of INTO THE WOODS at The Academy Theatre at Lighthouse International on December 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
LOWELL, MA - APRIL 01: Meryl Streep attends 'A Conversation With Meryl Streep' presented by the University of Massachusetts Lowell Chancellor's Speaker Series at Tsongas Center on April 1, 2014 in Lowell, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
LOWELL, MA - APRIL 01: Meryl Streep attends 'A Conversation With Meryl Streep' presented by the University of Massachusetts Lowell Chancellor's Speaker Series at Tsongas Center on April 1, 2014 in Lowell, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: (L-R) Don Gummer and actress Meryl Streep attend the 2014 The New York Philharmonic Spring Gala featuring 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' at Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center on March 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Actress Meryl Streep attends the world premiere of 'Into the Woods' at Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Producer John DeLuca, producer Marc Platt, aniel Huttlestone, Meryl Streep and Ben Platt attend the world premiere of 'Into the Woods' at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8, 2014 in New York City. The stars came out for the world premiere of ÒInto the WoodsÓ on Monday, December 8, 2014 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Director Rob Marshall, the all star cast including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullman andÊlegendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and writer James Lapine were all celebrating the cinematic event, bringing thehumorousÊand heartfelt musical to the screen. ÊÒInto the WoodsÓÊÊproduced by Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, Marc Platt and Callum McDougallÊopens in theaters nationwideÊon December 25, 2014. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Meryl Streep poses backstage at the hit musical 'The Last Ship' on Broadway at The Neil Simon Theater on November 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Meryl Streep attends 'My Old Lady' Premiere at Museum of Modern Art on September 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
US President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to actress Meryl Streep during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is the country highest civilian honor. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Actresses Meryl Streep (L) and Marlo Thomas arrive for the Medal of Freedom presentation ceremony in the East Room of the White House on November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is the country highest civilian honor. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 06: Actresses Diane Lane (L) and Meryl Streep attend the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 06: Actress Meryl Streep speaks onstage at the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 05: Actress Meryl Streep speaks onstage during the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 05: Actors Cameron Diaz (L) and Meryl Streep attend the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
Actress Meryl Streep accepts the 2014 Monte Cristo Award at the Edison Ballroom, on Monday, April 21, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Luiz C. Ribeiro/Invision/AP)
Meryl Streep attends the premiere of "Into The Woods" at the Ziegfeld Theatre on Monday, Dec. 8, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Meryl Streep, left, and Don Gummer arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Actress Meryl Streep attends the Sixth Annual Women in the World Summit opening night at David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center on Wednesday, April 22, 2015, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
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Streep went on to overachieve at Yale, getting so many lead roles that her classmates reportedly resented her. Schulman says that in a way, the future Oscar winner was "trapped" by her own talent.

"Perfection is a kind of prison," he says. "This is part of her M.O.: Every ecosystem she enters she rises to the top because of her skill and when she gets to the top she kind of looks around and thinks 'Oh, no, me? Why?'"

What does Streep think of this assessment? We might never know; the actress declined to be interviewed for the book. After Schulman reached out to her, she responded via her publicist.

"Leave me to the thing I love. I love acting," Streep said, according to Schulman. "But being called 'the greatest living actress' — a designation not even my mother would sanction — is the opposite of good or valuable or useful. It is a curse for a working actor."

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Meryl Streep and her daughters:

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Meryl Streep and daughters
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New Meryl Streep biography shows how she glamorously reinvented herself in high school
NEW YORK - JUNE 19: Actress Meryl Streep with her daughters attend the 20th Century Fox premiere of The Devil Wears Prada at the Loews Lincoln Center Theatre on June 19, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Mamie Gummer, Grace Gummer, and Louisa Gummer, daughters of Meryl Streep attend the 'The Iron Lady' New York premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 13: Mamie Gummer, Grace Gummer, and Louisa Gummer, daughters of Meryl Streep attend the 'The Iron Lady' New York premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 13, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
HOLLYWOOD - FEBRUARY 22: Actress Meryl Streep and daughter Louisa Jacobson Gummer arrives at the 81st Annual Academy Awards held at The Kodak Theatre on February 22, 2009 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Actress Meryl Streep and daughter Louisa Gummer attend the premiere of 'Mamma Mia!' at the Ziegfeld Theatre on July 16, 2008 in New York City.
64th ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS -- Pictured: Actress Meryl Streep and daughter Louisa Jacobson Gummer arrives at the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 15, 2007 -- Photo by: Trae Patton/NBCU Photo Bank
Meryl Streep and daughter during The 56th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards - Governors Ball at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK - JUNE 04: Actress Meryl Streep (R) and her daughter Grace Gummer attend the premiere of 'A Prairie Home Companion' at DGA Theater June 4, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
Meryl Streep and her daughter during The 75th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at The Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD - JUNE 10: Actress Meryl Streep and her daughters attend the 32nd Annual AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Meryl Streep on June 10, 2004 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Meryl Streep, American actress born in Summit, New Jersey, who has starred and acted in many award-winning films. (Photo by Evening Standard/Getty Images)
The American actress Meryl Streep. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Meryl Streep and baby son Henry during Meryl Streep Sighting at JFK Airport - January 9, 1980 at JFK Airport in New York, United States. (Photo by Tom Wargacki/WireImage)
American actress Meryl Streep on the set of the film 'The French Lieutenant's Woman', 1980. (Photo by John Bulmer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Actress Meryl Streep attends the 'Into The Woods' world premiere at the Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
The bridesmaid Linda, played by Meryl Streep in a scene of The Deer Hunter by Michael Cimino, glances at John Cazale, guest to a Russian Wedding into an American Orthodox church together with Chuck Aspegren and Robert De Niro. Cleveland (USA), 1978. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Holocaust -- Aired 04/16/1978 - 04/19/1978 -- Pictured: Meryl Streep as Inga Helms Weiss (Photo by Jessica Burstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Meryl Streep and Husband Don Gummer during Woody Allen's New Years Eve Party at Harkness House in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
NEW YORK CITY - DECEMBER 17: Actress Meryl Streep attends the 'Kramer vs. Kramer' New York City Premiere on December 17, 1979 at Loews Astor Plaza in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Actress Meryl Streep is shown at the seventh annual Los Angeles Film Critics Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Ca., on Jan. 13, 1982. Streep won the best actress award for her role in "The French Lieutenant's Woman." (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
Meryl Streep during Wrap-Up Party for 'She-Devil' - July 7, 1989 at Caroline's Comedy Club in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
American actress Meryl Streep puts her hair back as she poses on the terrace of the Festival Palace, during the Film Festival in Cannes, France, on May 13, 1989. Streep is promoting her recent picture "A Cry in the Dark." (AP Photo/Gilbert Tourte)
American actress Meryl Streep flashes a smile as she walks down the red carpet prior to the premiere screening of her latest motion picture "The Bridges of Madison County," at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif., May 30, 1995. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
NEW YORK CITY - NOVEMBER 9: Actress Meryl Streep attends the 'Dancing at Lughnasa' New York City Premiere on November 9, 1998 at Sony Theatres Lincoln Square in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Meryl Streep during Meryl Streep Receives 2,119th Walk of Fame Star - September 16, 1998 at Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
397358 01: Actress Meryl Streep arrives at the 11th Annual 'A Magical Evening' Gala November 12, 2001 at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, NY. The benefit raises funds for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation. (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 10: Actress Meryl Streep enters the 'Late Show With David Letterman' taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on December 10, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ray Tamarra/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Meryl Streep and Preston Whiteway attend the 14th annual Monte Cristo Award at The Edison Ballroom on April 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 21: Honoree actress Meryl Streep attends the 14th annual Monte Cristo Award at The Edison Ballroom on April 21, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, IN - APRIL 16: Academy Award winner, Meryl Streep, received a Conferral Honorary Degree from Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie at Indiana University Auditorium on April 16, 2014 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 09: Rob Marshall and Meryl Streep attend the The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Hosts An Official Academy Members Screening Of INTO THE WOODS at The Academy Theatre at Lighthouse International on December 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences)
LOWELL, MA - APRIL 01: Meryl Streep attends 'A Conversation With Meryl Streep' presented by the University of Massachusetts Lowell Chancellor's Speaker Series at Tsongas Center on April 1, 2014 in Lowell, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
LOWELL, MA - APRIL 01: Meryl Streep attends 'A Conversation With Meryl Streep' presented by the University of Massachusetts Lowell Chancellor's Speaker Series at Tsongas Center on April 1, 2014 in Lowell, Massachusetts. (Photo by Paul Marotta/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: (L-R) Don Gummer and actress Meryl Streep attend the 2014 The New York Philharmonic Spring Gala featuring 'Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street' at Josie Robertson Plaza at Lincoln Center on March 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Actress Meryl Streep attends the world premiere of 'Into the Woods' at Ziegfeld Theater on December 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 08: Producer John DeLuca, producer Marc Platt, aniel Huttlestone, Meryl Streep and Ben Platt attend the world premiere of 'Into the Woods' at the Ziegfeld Theatre on December 8, 2014 in New York City. The stars came out for the world premiere of ÒInto the WoodsÓ on Monday, December 8, 2014 at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York. Director Rob Marshall, the all star cast including Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullman andÊlegendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and writer James Lapine were all celebrating the cinematic event, bringing thehumorousÊand heartfelt musical to the screen. ÊÒInto the WoodsÓÊÊproduced by Rob Marshall, John DeLuca, Marc Platt and Callum McDougallÊopens in theaters nationwideÊon December 25, 2014. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Meryl Streep poses backstage at the hit musical 'The Last Ship' on Broadway at The Neil Simon Theater on November 25, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Meryl Streep attends 'My Old Lady' Premiere at Museum of Modern Art on September 9, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic)
US President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Freedom to actress Meryl Streep during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House on November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is the country highest civilian honor. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Actresses Meryl Streep (L) and Marlo Thomas arrive for the Medal of Freedom presentation ceremony in the East Room of the White House on November 24, 2014 in Washington, DC. The Medal of Freedom is the country highest civilian honor. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 06: Actresses Diane Lane (L) and Meryl Streep attend the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 06: Actress Meryl Streep speaks onstage at the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Michael Buckner/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 05: Actress Meryl Streep speaks onstage during the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Kevin Winter/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 05: Actors Cameron Diaz (L) and Meryl Streep attend the 2014 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Jane Fonda at the Dolby Theatre on June 5, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Tribute show airing Saturday, June 14, 2014 at 9pm ET/PT on TNT. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
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