Lady GaGa was told she wasn't ''pretty enough for a pop star'' early on in her career.

One of the 'Poker Face' singer's old friends Brendan Jay Sullivan - who knew her in New York City before she became a global music icon - has compared her real life journey to her 'A Star Is Born' alter ego Ally.

Speaking to PEOPLE magazine, he said: ''She was struggling a lot back then like Ally is in the movie, because she was not being taken seriously.

''They'd say, 'Oh you're just downtown cool but I can't sell you to mainstream America.' We heard people say 'You're not pretty enough for a pop star.'

''And not behind her back either - to her face. Which is crazy because she's the most glamorous person there is.''

In the movie, Ally is a struggling singer songwriter trying to make it before she's taken under the wing of Bradley Cooper's faded alcoholic musician character Jackson Maine.

Gaga - who was born and raised in New York - didn't have an easy route to stardom, and suffered when she was released from a record deal with Def Jam after just three months in 2006.

Sullivan added: ''It ruined her life. She was going to be this manufactured record industry creation, but lost the deal. So I got to meet her at a very pivotal part of her life - she already had a big deal and lost it.''

From here, Gaga - whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta - began to find her own style and voice, and it appears she always showed flashes of the pop superstar she would go on to become.

Her friend said: ''When you're young, your wiring of who you are on the inside isn't fully out there yet.

''But the Gaga you see now with the hair and the Gucci dress on the red carpet, that's who she really is. That's who she was all along. I got to help watch the transformation in real time.''