This week, Jennifer Lawrence told the UK edition of Grazia how she hates “all the focus on weight and size that you have in our business. I don’t think an actress needs to be skinny to be attractive and it sends the wrong message to young women. It’s important that, as actresses, we need to establish ourselves first and foremost for our talent and not for our physical appearance.”
At first glance, Ms. Lawrence is a beautiful woman with a figure many non-Hollywood women and Hollywood starlets might envy. Her input on the body image in entertainment debate is a worthy opinion, but a confusing one. Someone who has since her rise to fame looked more like the Hollywood leading lady ideal each day, probably through styling and other lifestyle habits, probably does not encounter the same discrimination other actresses do.
It would be far more interesting to learn how Dame Judi Dench is overcoming ageism, or how plus size actress Melissa McCarthy has found her rightful place as our generation’s Lucille Ball after probably many rejections.
Here at Lucky Pineapple Books + Films, as we ease from animation to both cartoons and live action features, our stance will always be that your acting talent is what earns you a role. As female moviegoers are of every colour, nationality, and dress size, it doesn’t make sense to proliferate sizeism. Any actress can be made glamourous through makeup, shapewear, wardrobe, and small decisions. What you cannot buy in the wardrobe department is talent.
Also, what is desirable to look good on screen, at least in many casting directors’ opinions, is said to not “always look good off screen.” This standard is entirely false. If filmmakers were less lazy and insisted on better angles for their actors and actresses, along with better styling, leading actors would show younger fans that you do not have to entirely change what you look like to be a star.
For those of you who choose not to alter your appearance into Hollywood’s ideal, the best advice is to wait it out. At the moment, you may have missed out on a few laughable but well paying roles because you didn’t fit the mould. When those flash in the pan “beauties” are no longer in demand as Hollywood has moved onto an other ideal, it will be you who nail a plum role based on your talent and possibly, your unique look. Perseverance takes you farther. Let others be the ones who are forgotten.
We at Lucky Pineapple Books + Films want to believe we can change the future when the time comes. People only cast the same types of women, none of whom would look like this without at least some daily effort, because they know that is what sells in cinemas. When we prove that films are also successful with all types of men and women, and we will, some of the pressure will go away.