It is common knowledge that Hollywood is a very looks-orientated place. For this reason, if a person wishes to succeed here, they will have to adhere to a certain physical standard. But what happens if the pressure placed upon these stars reaches an unjustifiable level? One of the main issues in instances like this is celebrities being forced to lose weight in order to look good on-screen or on the runway
Oftentimes, movie producers will make outrageous demands, expecting actors to be able to shed 10 or 20 pounds with only a few weeks’ notice. When demands like this are made it can turn serious very quickly. Many stars do not want to face losing their parts in a movie, so feel they have no other choice than to try and shed weight, regardless of the effect it may have on their health. This leads to stars starving themselves or taking part in extreme exercise routines. This is clearly not something a person's body can put up with for an extended period of time and makes it hard to comprehend how anyone could demand this from another human being. Take a look at some of the unfortunate celebrities on our list who fell victim to Hollywood’s depraved expectations…
15 Sienna Miller
It’s hard to believe that actress Sienna Miller, who has always possessed a thin build, could ever be pressured to lose weight. Unfortunately though, this was indeed the case. While starring in the 2006 movie Factory Girls, producers just didn’t feel Miller was skinny enough to give a realistic depiction of her on-screen character Edie Sedgwick. The actress herself said: “Edie was skinnier than I was so (director George Hickenlooper) wanted me to [lose weight]. But I can’t work that hard and not eat. He’d come and try to snatch bagels out of my hands” Although Miller did go on to lose a certain amount of weight, it was not quite as much as what was demanded. However, the actress made the very relevant point that if she was expected to work as hard as Hickenlooper wanted, that she could not succeed in doing so, while simultaneously starving herself.
14 Kylie Bisutti
Next on our list is former Victoria's Secret model Kylie Bisutti who gave up modelling entirely, due to feeling the industry was exploiting her on more than one level. Bisutti first entered the modelling industry in 2009 after winning the Victoria's Secret Model Search competition. However, just four years later everything had changed for Bisutti, who quit the business and published the memoir, I'm No Angel: From Victoria's Secret Model to Role Model. Bisutti claimed that she was forced to lose weight by agents and despite the fact that she was a size 2 and weighed only 115 pounds, it was still not thin enough. In fact, Bisutti claimed that at this size she was considered ‘fat.’ Bisutti also explained that along with this, she felt sexualized and exploited while modelling lingerie for the company. The star is now married and focusing on her Christian faith. She stated: “I’m just thankful that God changed my heart earlier on rather than it being five or ten years later.”
13 Margaret Cho
Another star on our list forced to lose weight to play herself is actress Margaret Cho. In 1994, Cho was delighted to hear that her stand-up routine had been picked up by producers who hoped to turn it into a TV show. The show was titled All American Girl and was the first network show in history to feature an all-Asian cast. Cho’s joy was short lived though, as it wasn’t long before the show’s execs started to pressure her in terms of her weight and appearance. In fact, the star lost nearly all creative control over her own show and things only got worse for her when she was hospitalized due to damages relating to diet pills. Cho had also lost an extreme amount of weight in a very short period of time. Things got even more outrageous on set when it was reported that Cho, along with the rest of the cast, was regularly criticized for acting ‘too Asian’ or ‘not Asian enough.’ Eventually, an Asian consultant was hired in order to teach the on-screen family had to act Asian correctly. Hm, okay?!
12 Jason Segel
It is not just female actresses who are pressured in the terms of their appearance in Hollywood. Actor Jason Segel once revealed that while filming The Five-Year Engagement opposite Emily Blunt, he was encouraged to shed some weight. In fact, the star was told he needed to lose at least 35lbs in order to make his character’s relationship with Emily Blunt more believable. When appearing on David Letterman's talk show in 2012, Segal told Dave that, “I was told it had to be conceivable that Emily Blunt would ever choose me to be her husband, which I think is fair enough! I had to lose a good 35lbs. I didn't enjoy it but they sent a trainer to set and I had to work out twice a day and he would also watch me eat all day.”
11 Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway always had a slim figure, so it came as a shock to many when the actress dropped a further 25lbs to portray the character of Fantine in Les Misérables. Looking back on the strict diet that led her to lose this weight, Hathaway described it as "starvation." The actress, however, refused to give any specific details of what she ate in a day as she did not want to encourage any vulnerable individuals to drop to the size she did for the role. The star explained how she shed the first 10lbs in just three weeks, ahead of shooting and that while she was filming she basically didn’t eat for 13 days. Hathaway did go on the win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2012 for her role as Fantine, but it is clear it is not the type of drastic role the star will be rushing to take in the future.
10 Tina Fey
Before Tina Fey was a famous on-screen funny woman, she could be found behind the screen on SNL. Yes, before the comedian got her big break she was a writer for the show. It was after Lorne Michaels decided that Fey would be even better on-screen than she was behind it, that she was encouraged to lose about 30 pounds. It’s reported that Hollywood agent Sue Mengers told Lorne that Fey simply didn’t have the looks to be on screen. At the time, Fey knew no better than to listen to Mengers and had an extreme makeover, dropping the recommended weight and transforming the rest of her look along with it. In fact, Fey got so thin that concerned friends went as far as to ask the comedian is she was eating. Today, the star has an entirely different mindset and has become far more comfortable in her body, no longer giving into Hollywood’s extreme expectations.
9 Nia Vardalos
Nia Vardalos is probably most well known for her starring role in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a comedy movie that was actually based on Vardalos' real life experience. Essentially, this means that Vardalos was portraying herself in the movie. So, it surely came as a shock to the star when the movie's producers insisted that she shed some pounds. Speaking about this period of her life, the actress stated: “They labelled me with words like, overweight, unattractive, unappealing. Hey, just say fat.” Thankfully, Vardalos was eventually able to gain back control of her project and also but a stop to numerous other changes the producers wanted to make to her work. Since this point, Vardalos has actually gone on to lose 40 pounds, however, this was her own choice. The actress has expressed her annoyance with the attention this received, she said: “It's just weight. Just 40 pounds of fat now gone from my body, but wow, it's pretty much all I get asked about. In the last year, I got to star in a movie, wrote and directed my next one, and adopted a three-year-old from American Foster Care. But guess what I'm asked… how did I lose the weight?"
8 Christian Bale
Christian Bale stunned audiences the world over after he dropped a staggering 60 pounds to play the lead role in 2004’s The Machinist. It is reported that while shooting the film, Bale, who is 6ft in height, weighed a mere 120 pounds. The actor became obsessed with the role and took method acting to a whole new level, putting both his physical and mental health at risk. It’s said that the actor dined on only one can of tuna and a single apple each day. Unlike the other cases on our list, Bale wasn’t actually forced to lose this weight by movie producers, but rather it was the actor’s own decision to go to these extreme lengths. Bale also consumed mass amounts of cigarettes to curb his appetite. On top of this, it is said the star was eager to lose another 5 pounds along with what he had already lost; medical professionals strongly urged him not to do this as he would probably die. This highlights just how risky Bale’s weight-loss was.
7 Haley Atwell
Next up on the list is Agent Carter star Haley Atwell, who faced terrible criticism when filming 2008’s Brideshead Revisited. It’s reported that execs were not satisfied with Atwell’s size and encouraged the actress to lose a few pounds. Atwell followed orders for a short while but the issue reached breaking point when Atwell’s co-star Emma Thompson, got word of what was being demanded of the actress. The issue came to Thompson’s attention one evening while Atwell was having dinner at her house. Atwell recounted events: “I went round to Emma's one night and she was getting very angry that I wasn't eating all the food she was giving me. I told her why and she hit the roof.” Thompson then called the movies producers and threatened to resign if they did not stop pressuring Atwell. It’s safe to say the issue was soon dropped and Atwell was left to enjoy whatever food she wanted.
6 Cara Delevingne
Cara Delevingne was one of the most sought after models in the industry when she suddenly decided to quit the business back in 2015. It later emerged that the reasoning behind her actions was that she no longer wanted to have to adhere to the ridiculous standards regarding weight expected of her and other women in the modelling industry. In 2015 Delevingne explained how horrible she felt while modelling: “It’s horrible living in a world where I’ll get a call from someone saying, ‘So-and-so says you were partying a lot and you were looking this way and you need to lose weight.'” This is the reason that the star decided to try her hand at acting, as she felt less of an obligation to constantly be losing weight and was happy that the focus now revolved around her genuine talent.
5 Amy Schumer
Actress and comedian Amy Schumer is all about being confident in her own body. However, this did not stop the star from being a victim of body shaming when filming her 2015 hit movie Trainwreck. Schumer discussed the criticism she faced from the movie's producers while appearing on The Johnathon Ross Show, a U.K based talk show. “It was explained to me before I did that movie, Trainwreck, that if you weigh over 140 pounds as a woman in Hollywood, if you’re on the screen, it will hurt people’s eyes.” The star stated. Schumer also discussed how those in question almost wanted the star to believe it was her own idea to lose the weight, instead of saying it straight out. Eventually Schumer gave into the pressure, not really knowing what other options she had. She stated: “I lost some weight to do that, but never again.” It’s clear to see the actress has come to her senses and will not be letting anyone in Hollywood manipulate her like this is the future.
4 Margot Robbie
Margot Robbie is one of the most lusted after women in the world, but can you believe that the star was once told by agents in Hollywood, that in order to succeed in the business she was going to need to drop a couple of dress sizes ? Robbie is known for her starring roles in huge movie hits like The Wolf of Wall Street and Suicide Squad, but it’s been reported that the actress was instructed to lose 20 pounds in order to uphold her A-list status in the industry. Robbie herself once recounted in an interview how she was forced to undergo extreme exercise and diet plans, under the orders of those above her. However, the actress seems to no longer be giving into this kind of pressure as it’s reported she outright refused to lose weight to play the character of Jane in Tarzan. Robbie simply told execs that it was set in the 19th century so having some weight on her would make her character all the more believable.
3 Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most in-demand actresses in Hollywood, but this did not prevent her from facing extreme criticism from movie producers over her weight. Lawrence once stated that: “Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight. They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet.” The actress also explained that although the criticism influenced her at the time, thinking back on it, she felt she should never have given into this criticism. Thankfully, the star has learned from her mistakes and even stated: “If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet’, I’m like, ‘You can go f–k yourself.'” Lawrence has also faced a lot of criticism in the past over her portrayal of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games franchise, with many critics claiming the actress did not look thin enough to give a believable account of a character who is close to starving to death. However, Lawrence no longer lets any comments like this affect her: “I'd rather look chubby on screen and like a person in real life,” she once stated.
2 Gigi Hadid
Gigi Hadid is undoubtedly one of the biggest models in the world at present. Gigi, along with BFF Kendall Jenner, have solidified their position as this generation’s 'it' girls. With all the attention Gigi receives, including some of the most elite brands lusting after her to be the face of their label, it’s almost impossible to believe that she once struggled to get work in the modelling world. In 2015, the model publicly stated that she would cry herself to sleep whenever she received a knock back from an agency who told her she needed to slim down. “A lot of them were like, ‘You have to lose a lot of weight,” she explained. Thankfully, Gigi eventually came across the right agency who could see her potential. Gigi also talked about the fact that once she began modelling everyone assumed she would be a Sports Illustrated type of model and didn’t expect to be seeing her on the high fashion runway. “People were like, ‘Oh so we can have a girl with like thighs and a butt in a Tom Ford campaign, cool.” It’s easy to see that the model is setting a positive example for girls all over the world, and may be helping in finally putting an end to stick thin, catwalk model stereotypes.
1 Judy Garland
The most extreme case of celebrities being forced to lose weight comes in the form of Hollywood icon Judy Garland. The conditions the star faced throughout her career are quite harrowing. It did not emerge till many years later, just how much suffering Garland endured. When Garland was just 14 years old she was cast in her first feature film, Pigskin Parade, a musical about college football. It is claimed that while filming her scenes, Garland was told by MGM that she looked like a "fat little pig with pigtails." Keep in mind this was 1936 and studio contracts were ridiculous, due to the fact producers were given a ludicrous amount of control over actors. This was when Garland was put on her first diet, with food literally being taken out of her hands. Things only got worse as the years went on, like when Garland was 18 and was cast in her most prominent role, The Wizard of Oz. Although things may have seemed fine and dandy on screen, off-screen they couldn’t have been more difficult. It has emerged that Garland was forced to consume only black coffee and chicken soup, along with having 80 cigarettes a day to curb her appetite. Furthermore, Garland was force-fed some type of pill that she was informed would stop her from feeling hungry. This horrific treatment had a lifelong effect, damaging the star permanently as she suffered from eating disorders throughout the remainder of her life.
Sources: NickiSwift, Express.UK, HerCampus