Helena wants sympathy, and so slides easily into her "poor, poor pitiful me" act! The suggestion that she is less than forthright is a good one. She is tall and fair, and throughout the city, thought to be as "fair" as Hermia. She accuses Hermia of being a shrew, and yet it was Helena who provoked her. Do we believe her when she claims that Demetrius and Lysander are mocking her? Maybe she really loves the attentions of both men!
I saw one interesting production of MND in which in the early scenes, Helena was made up to look distinctly plain, if not downright homely. But after the night in the forest, she reappeared as radiant. The director's intent was to show the transformation she undergoes within, making her a dynamic character, instead of a self-pitying whiner.