16 Celebrities Who Were Told To Lose Weight For Their Careers And Refused – BuzzFeed

“No one actually cares about your health. They just care about aesthetics.” —Kelly Clarkson

Having a career in the spotlight puts a lot of pressure not just on how people perform, but also how they look. The expectation for the people we see onscreen to have certain body proportions or wear a certain size can be harmful to those in the limelight as well as those of us in the audience.

A lot of celebrities feel pressured to lose weight in order to “help” their careers — no matter how talented, conventionally attractive, or connected they are.

Kim Kardashian wearing a sleeveless diamond-studded dress


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For example, Kim Kardashian lost 16 pounds in three weeks so that she could fit into Marilyn Monroe’s “Happy Birthday Mr. President” dress for the 2022 Met Gala. 

Her decision garnered a lot of rightful backlash regarding extreme dieting. On her Instagram stories, actor Lili Reinhart said it was “so wrong…so fucked on 100s of levels..to openly admit to starving yourself for the sake of the Met Gala…when you know very well that millions of young men and women are looking up to you and listening to your every word.”

However, some people in Hollywood are fighting back against these expectations and proving that they can have successful careers exactly as they are.

Here are 16 celebs who were told to lose weight for their careers and refused:

Some entries mention eating disorders and suicide.

1.

Early in her career, Jennifer Lawrence “was told by producers of a film to lose 15 pounds in two weeks.”


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At Elle’s 2017 Women in Hollywood event, she said, “During this time, a female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me… After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.”

However, in 2012, she told Elle, “I’m never going to starve myself for a part…I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner.'”


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“That’s something I was really conscious of during training,” she said.

2.

Early in Amber Riley’s career, casting directors would tell her, “I think you need to lose a little weight.” She was only offered harmfully stereotypical roles like “the girl who sits in the corner and eats all day” and “the girl who wanted to commit suicide because she was fat.”


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“Being the size that I am, being a woman, being a Black woman, there’s not a lot of roles for us,” she told MTV’s This Is How I Made It.

She “didn’t understand why people couldn’t accept [her] for who [she] was,” but she decided to stop going to auditions because she didn’t want to “conform and hurt [her]self” to reach a certain size.

Amber smiling in a black off the shoulder dress


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“I never wanted to play a character that hated herself,” she said. “I wanted people to know that those aren’t the only kinds of roles for women like me.”

She went on to have a main role on Glee from 2009–2015. She’s also played important roles in several movies and plays, and she’s set to star in the upcoming NBC series, Dream.


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3.

Despite her success and show of range on Saturday Night Live, Aidy Bryant was only offered mediocre and offensive roles. She told AdWeek, “There was one where — and I don’t think it has ever seen the light of day — a man was in prison and the other guys in prison were like, ‘You’ve got to get an ugly girl to be your prison wife and she’ll come and bring you food and have sex with you!’ And then they were like, ‘And that would be you.'”

Aidy wearing an ankle-length dress with floral embroidery and a head band


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She continued, “I remember being like, ‘Oh, they think that this is a fun thing for me, and it’s so insulting,'” she continued.

She said, “Those were some of the moments where I was like, ‘Is this what it is in Hollywood? I think I might have to write for myself…'” — and she did.

close up of Aidy on the red carpet


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Rather than accept the roles she was offered or try to change herself, she created the right role for herself. She co-created, co-wrote, and co-executive produced, Shrill, in which she stars as Annie.


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4.

In 2019, Sam Smith opened up about working to overcome the pressure to change their body. On Instagram, they said, “In the past, if I have ever done a photoshoot with so much as a T-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down.”

Sam Smith performing on stage


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They continued, “Yesterday I decided to fight the fuck back. Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally.”

Sam with their hand on their hip for a red carpet photo


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“Some may take this as narcissistic and showing off, but if you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid, you wouldn’t think those things,” they said.

5.

When Gigi Hadid was starting her modeling career right out of high school, she “still had [her] volleyball body,” and “people were hard on [her] and tried to say that [she] didn’t have a runway body.”


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She told i-D, “It was a body that I loved. I knew how hard I worked to have those muscles, to be curved in those places.”

However, in 2015, Jean Paul Gaultier became the first designer to put her on the runway in Paris, and he was also among the first to “put [her] in an outfit that didn’t cover a lot.”


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She said, “There were still stylists or designers at that time who were putting me in their shows, but putting me something that really covered my body. And so for him to make me feel like he wanted me to shine in that way, it really meant a lot to me as a young model.” 

During that Paris Fashion Week, she faced a lot of judgment about her body. On Instagram, she said, “I represent a body image that wasn’t accepted in high-fashion before, and I’m very lucky to be supported by the designers, stylists, and editors that I am: ones that know this is fashion, it’s art; it can never stay the same… Your mean comments don’t make me want to change my body.’


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She also said, “No, I don’t have the same body as the other models in shows…I’m not the first or last model of my type in this industry…I’m a hard worker that’s confident in myself, one that came at a time when the fashion industry was ready for a change.”

6.

When Beyoncé was 19, she “started hearing people criticize [her] after [she] had put on some weight.”


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She told Harper’s Bazaar, “None of the sample clothes fit me. I was feeling a bit insecure from hearing some of the comments.”

However, she “woke up one day and refused to feel sorry for [her]self” then wrote the Destiny’s Child song, “Bootylicious.”

Beyonce performing on stage


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“It was the beginning of me using whatever life handed me and turning it into something empowering to other women and men who were struggling with the same thing,” she said.

7.

When a fan on Twitter asked Lili Reinhart if she thought Riverdale was “contributing to unrealistic body expectations [and] body image issues,” she responded, “Actually, not everyone on this show is perfectly chiseled…I’ve felt very insecure due to the expectation that people have for women on TV, what they should look like.”

Lili in a mini dress on the red carpet


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She continued, “I have come to terms with my body… This is still something I struggle with on a daily basis…it doesn’t help when I’m being compared to other women. I have gained weight due to depression the last two months and I’ve felt very insecure about it.”

However, she “did a recent bra and underwear scene and felt it was [her] obligation to be strong and show confidence in [her]self, looking as [she does].”

close up of Lili


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She said, “I want other young women to see my body on TV and feel comfort in the fact that I’m not a size 0. And I’m not a perfect hourglass shape…This industry struggles with an accurate representation of female and male bodies. So I commend the women who have helped our industry take a step in the right ~and authentic~ direction.”

8.

Lizzo‘s parents “taught [her] at a very young age how America treats Black people. How it treats Black women. And [she] saw very quickly how we treat fat people.”

Lizzo waving from the red carpet at the Met


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She told People, “I wasn’t supposed to survive. I wasn’t supposed to make it this far. I wasn’t supposed to be a millionaire. I wasn’t supposed to be a sex symbol.”


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She also said, “I deserve the spotlight. I deserve the attention. I’m talented, I’m young, I’m hot. You know? And I’ve worked hard.”

“It’s like, ‘How dare a pop star be fat?’ I had to own that,” she told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe.


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Lizzo continued, “The infrastructure has not changed as much…There’s still so many people who suffer from being marginalized systemically. Meanwhile, there’s a plus-size Black girl at the Grammys. But plus-size Black women are still not getting the treatment they deserve in hospitals and from doctors and at work. We got a long way to go.”

9.

Director Sofia Coppola advised Kirsten Dunst to never “fix [her] teeth,” but she wanted her to lose weight for Beguiled.

the director and actor posing for a photo


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However, Dunst refused, and thankfully, Coppola was understanding.

Dunst in the kitchen during a scene in the film


Ben Rothstein / ©Focus Features/courtesy Everett Collect / Everett Collection

Dunst told Variety, “It’s so much harder when you’re 35 and hate working out…I’m eating fried chicken and McDonald’s before work. So I’m like, ‘We have no options! I’m sorry I can’t lose weight for this role.’”

10.

After 19-year-old ballet dancer, Misty Copeland, went through late puberty, the American Ballet Theatre asked her to “lengthen” her body by losing weight, but she didn’t comply.

Misty dancing on stage


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She told Self, “Being told to lose weight, and being African-American, not having anyone else around who looked like me, caused me so much doubt.”

Misty on the red carpet


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“I’m not trying to change classical ballet. I love everything about it. But we have to show that we’re athletes. We’re putting in the same amount of work; we have the same muscles,” she said.

Copeland went on to become the first Black dancer to land the lead role in Swan Lake. She was also the first Black woman to become a principal dancer — aka the highest designation in ballet — at ABT.


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11.

Ashley Benson gets “told all the time to lose weight” and has heard “you’re too fat for this” several times over the years.


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She told Health, “I feel good. I don’t want to lose 20 lbs., because I don’t need to…I think that all of these sizes are healthy.”


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12.

Kelly Clarkson called out the fact that “no one actually cares about your health…they just care about aesthetics.”

Kelly with her hands on her hips for a photo


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She told RedBook, “It’s when I’m fat that I’m happy. People think, Oh, there’s something wrong with her. She’s putting on weight. I’m like, ‘Oh, no! I’m sorry, but that represents happiness in my emotional world.'”

Kelly singing on stage


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She continued, “For me, when I’m skinny is usually when I’m not doing well. If you gauge your life on what other people think, you’re going to be in a constant state of panic trying to please everyone. People should just concentrate on their own lives and their own health and their own happiness, and whatever that looks like for you, be happy with it.”

13.

Early in her modeling career, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley “was told [she] had to get into better shape.” She “can remember being asked to lose weight and battling with the advice.”

Rosie walking the runway


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“I’m quite stubborn, so I didn’t,” she told Elle UK.

close up of Rosie


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“[The advice] hurt me,” she said.

However, she didn’t let the criticism keep her down, and “there was a point where [she] found [her] voice, effectively.”

and older Rosie posing on the street


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14.

When 19-year-old Kate Upton landed her first major magazine cover, critics “were discussing whether [she] was fat or not.”

Kate in a gown for an event


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During a Facebook Live chat for Sports Illustrated, she said, “I had this huge moment in my career, and they were tearing it apart.”

Reflecting on the experience, she said, “I have to thank the people who did that because it really made me sit back and find out who I was and what meant something to me and how I thought about my body.”

close up of Kate smiling


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She said, “I realize that my confidence that I had in my body was actually meant to inspire women to love themselves for all their different flaws.”

15.

When Glee actor, Alex Newell, auditioned for the lead role in Kinky Boots, the director “said [Newell’s] weight would inhibit [them] from playing the role, which is not true.”


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Newell told Stylecaster, “I was like, ‘This is a show where they’re encouraging you to be who you want to be. Don’t let them tell you who you should be.’ They literally looked me in the face and told me I was too big to play a role. There’s no limitation. My weight does not prescribe what I cannot do.”

close up of Alex in a gown


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They later made their Broadway debut as Asaka in Once on This Island.

Alex on the Broadway stage


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16.

And finally, after a modeling agent scouted Ashley Graham in a local mall, he told her to lose weight — and he wasn’t the only one.

Ashley posing for a photo


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“The really hard moment was when my dad said, ‘Honey, if an agent is telling you to lose weight, then maybe you should lose weight,'” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

close up of Ashley


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She continued, “I was 15, standing in our living room having a moment I will never forget. I never had a parent tell me to lose weight and it hurt…Of course, he was thinking like a businessman. It’s not that my father didn’t love me. He wanted me to succeed.”

However, her mom offered a better perspective. Graham said, “She told me, ‘You’re like all of the women in our family. You’re like so many women in the world.'”

Ashley walking a runway


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In 2016, Graham become the first curvy model on the cover of Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue. She was also named on Time’s list of “100 Most Influential People.”

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