Actress Amanda Seyfried fits the Hollywood norm – she’s a tall, slim blonde with a stunning face and great style. But she recently opened up about the struggles she faced – and still faces – to stay thin enough to satisfy movie bosses.
“Fun fact: I almost lost out on several roles in my career because I was overweight. Wrong, America,” wrote the 28-year-old on Twitter earlier this month. While it’s clear to see that the Mamma Mia star is nowhere near overweight, it’s sadly not a shock to hear that she, or any actress, was turned down for a role because they weren’t rake thin.
Hollywood’s ideals of beauty are something that not only affect the elite big screen names. The pressure to fit into a certain slim and “beautiful” mould is something that has filtered through to everyone else, too.
Each time we open a magazine or turn on the TV we are greeted with images of bodies that are so far removed from what is actually normal that we constantly feel inferior and as if we can never compete. Stars like Lena Dunham and Christina Hendricks are celebrated for having curves – but they are simply the exception to the rule that being thin is the aim of the game. This Victoria's Secret ad caused huge controversy recently for suggesting that the "perfect body" could only belong to a size zero lingerie model:
Another huge misconception we need to deal with is the belief that not only are all those Hollywood stars thin, but that it takes no effort whatsoever for them. It’s just the product of good genes, not the result of a hugely restrictive diet and an exhausting exercise regime.
Amanda has spoken openly about what it takes to keep her figure red carpet worthy – but she seems to be one of few. In a 2010 interview, the star said she felt overwhelming pressure to stay slim.
“If I didn't run and work out, there's no way I would be this thin," she said to Glamour magazine. "But I have to stay in shape because I'm an actress. It's f**ked up and it's twisted, but I wouldn't get the roles otherwise.”
In another interview that same year with Esquire, the actress admitted her diet for Les Miserables was “intense” and “awful,” adding that her lunch that day had consisted of “Spinach. Just spinach. Spinach and some seeds."
While it’s great to hear someone speaking honestly about the pressures of being in the media spotlight, it’s sad that the issues are generally brushed under the carpet by others. There’s no shame in going to the gym, or denying yourself that bar of chocolate. However many celebrities prefer to pretend their incredible bodies are down to a combination of fast metabolisms and good luck, as if by being famous they suddenly become blessed with the power to stay effortlessly toned and lean.
Society’s view of what is beautiful might change someday, but it won’t be any time soon. In the meantime it would be great if there was at least some more honesty out there – so that the rest of us know we’re not the only ones who worry every so often about what we see in the mirror.