Hollywood is often the place where harmful body standards begin to take hold. Not even the people who’ve “made it” in the entertainment industry are exempt from the pressure to conform.
While some celebrities have refused to lose weight, the harsh reality is that many of those who make the personal decision to lose weight are rewarded for fitting into a strict beauty standard. This perpetuates the toxic view of body image where thin is equated with “good” and fat is equated with “bad,” instead of both being neutral descriptors.
However, that’s not always how it goes. Sometimes celebs who’ve been typecast based on their size or praised as body positivity icons face consequences for losing weight.
Here are 14 celebs who opened up about the reality of how differently the industry treated them after they lost weight.
Warning: Mention of disordered eating and crash dieting.
1.Jennifer Hudson told HuffPost, “I always say you never understand unless you’ve been on a journey like this. People are friendlier; there are more opportunities, more flexibility in so many different ways.”
She continued, “I think it’s messed up that people are so image-driven and your appearance affects the way people treat you. It’s crazy, and it may be something we do subconsciously, but there it is.”
2.Khloé Kardashian told Harper’s Bazaar, “I definitely think the fashion industry, and people in general, look at me more now that I’ve lost weight.”
She also said that stylists who previously rejected her because of her size suddenly wanted to work with her, but her response is, “Fuck you. I’m not going to reward your bad behavior.”
3.In her ShondaLand newsletter, Shonda Rhimes wrote, “Women I barely knew gushed. And I mean GUSHED. … And men? They spoke to me. THEY SPOKE TO ME. Like stood still and had long conversations with me about things. It was disconcerting. But even more disconcerting was that all these people suddenly felt completely comfortable talking to me about my body. … I discovered that NOW people saw me as a PERSON.”
She continued, “What the hell did they see me as before? How invisible was I to them then? How hard did they work to avoid me? What words did they use to describe me? What value did they put on my presence at a party, a lunch, a discussion? When I was fat, I wasn’t a PERSON to these people. Like I had been an Invisible Woman who suddenly materialized in front of them. Poof! There I am. Thin and ready for a chat … being thinner doesn’t make you a different person. It just makes you thinner.”
4.Kelly Osbourne told the Hollywood Raw podcast, “My weight loss made me resentful at Hollywood. So fucking resentful. Because when I was fat, I was invisible. They didn’t want to work with me; they didn’t want to do anything with me.”
She continued, “Now, in retrospect, I know exactly who I’ll work with and who I won’t. Because I know who called me fat; I know who didn’t want to work with me. I know exactly who said it. I’ve got really thick skin, but I take that, and I put it into my memory bank. I remember what you said about me, and that’s the best revenge.”
5.In her special Adele One Night Only, Adele reflected on the criticism she faced from fans for losing weight. She said, “I [wasn’t] shocked or even fazed by it — my body has been objectified my entire career … I was body positive then and I’m body positive now. But it’s not my job to validate how people feel about their bodies.”
She continued, “I feel bad that it’s made people feel horrible about themselves, but it’s not my job. I’m trying to sort my own life out.”
6.Similarly, Ashley Graham faced criticism from fans who speculated that she’d lost weight. She told Glamour, “It sucked that everybody had to go in on me like, ‘Oh, you lost so much weight.’ If these people actually knew me — which, you know, they don’t and maybe never will — they would know that my body just hasn’t changed.”
In an essay she wrote for Lenny Letter on the same subject, she said, “In fact, I’m actually heavier than I was three years ago, but I accept my body as it is today. I work out not to lose weight but to maintain my good health. And anyway, if I *did* want to lose weight, it would be no one’s decision but my own.”
7.Amber Riley posted an Instagram video with the caption, “[Guys] I’ve known for years falling into my DMs because I’ve lost weight.” Then she insinuated that she’d be ignoring those messages.
In the caption, she wrote, “Keep that same fatphobic energy player. Ain’t [shit] changed over here but the scale.”
8.Chris Pratt’s Moneyball audition was “the first time [he] heard someone say, ‘We’re not gonna cast you — you’re too fat.'” After he went on a crash diet, the casting directors suddenly decided he was good enough for the role.
9.In an opposite situation, Ethan Suplee initially lost his role in Chance because “the casting directors were like, ‘No, he’s too thin now.'” However, after he gained weight again, they decided he was “heavy enough” for the part.
He told Entertainment Weekly’s What to Watch podcast, “[After losing weight] I found that people were like, ‘Who are you? We don’t know you. You’re this new person.’ So a couple years ago, I made the decision: I’m not going to kill myself to be thin when nobody knows me as a thin person, and I do think it is affecting the kind of jobs I’m getting. And so I just kind of relaxed on my diet.”
10.On The Morning Crew With Hughesy, Ed and Erin, Rebel Wilson said, “I think what’s been really interesting is how other people treat you. Sometimes being bigger, people didn’t necessarily look twice at you. Now that I’m in good shape, people offer to carry my groceries to the car and hold doors open for you.”
“Is this what other people experienced all the time?” she added.
11.Rosie O’Donnell told People magazine, “It’s not easy to be obese in America and have everyone feel free to ridicule you. When I was in the midst of some of my spat wars with some Republican candidates, that was always one of the first things that was said. And now it’s like a different reality.”
12.On the podcast Let Lisa Help With Lisa Lampanelli, Josh Peck discussed how people actually looked him in the eye after his weight loss. He said, “This is my favorite comment after I lost all the weight that people would say to me. They’d look at me and go, ‘You have blue eyes!'”
13.Amy Schumer told Hunter McGrady for All Worthy, “I was diagnosed with Lyme earlier this year, and I definitely, like, lost a couple pounds. And people’s reaction of like, ‘You’re losing weight,’ you know, like they’re congratulating you. And I’m like, it’s really just about my health. … My problem with it is that focus, that emphasis on weight. It’s just from the media.”
She continued, “It’s from what we’re watching, and it’s all outward and it’s so negative. And I really reject that.”
14.And finally, Gabourey Sidibe told Refinery29, “Since I’ve been losing weight over the past year, people have been saying, ‘Congratulations on your weight loss!’ It doesn’t rock me. It just annoys me because I’m just like, don’t congratulate me on that. If you’re going to congratulate me on my weight loss, also congratulate me every time I pee. Congratulate me every time I’m burping. Because my body actually has nothing to do with you, and I don’t really need your support for it.”
She continued, “It seems ill placed. I don’t need your support. That’s weird to me because my body will always be my body and always had been, and you have nothing to do with it and you’re kind of a stranger. But the way it works is that this is just my body, in the same way that this is just my face; this is just mine.”
The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.