In 2008 Amber Tamblyn was 21 and fresh off her hit role as Libby in the second Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie. But despite her rising star power, Tamblyn said that her agent encouraged her to lose weight.
The actress, now 35, talked about the pressures on young women, the #MeToo movement and the release of her first novel, Any Man, during a conversation with New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor on Tuesday night.
Tamblyn said that her agent at Warner Bros. called to congratulate her on the movie’s success, and to push her to lose weight.
“I think at that point I was 128 pounds and I’m 5’7″. I remember my agent saying to me — and she was a woman — ‘You have a real choice here. You can either be Nicole Kidman or you can be a character actress,’ ” Tamblyn said, according to E!.
The mom to daughter Marlow, 1, said that hearing those words impacts your self-esteem for life.
“At that time, I was like 21 years old, so if you look at that and use that as an example and imagine that for over two decades, forms of that from when you’re a child to all the way up, it does something to you.”
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Tamblyn has spoken out about being pressured to lose weight before — in a January op-ed for the New York Times, she told the story of a Japanese director who said he was excited to have her on board for a movie, but that she needed to lose 5 lbs. before they started shooting.
“He said the film studio would provide a trainer and a meal plan for me,” she wrote. “It took me years to find the humor in being asked to lose such a relatively minimal number of pounds through an interpreter. I was 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighed just 120 lbs. I remember this number precisely because 5 lbs. lighter would make me 115 lbs., which is the number I ended up achieving after I spent two weeks eating only the deli meat off Subway sandwiches and skipping dinners altogether.”
In her op-ed, which was on why women attending the Golden Globe awards would be wearing all black to support the #TimesUp movement, Tamblyn said that there is too much focus on how women look.
“Women have always had to carry the burden of molding the shapes and sizes of our bodies to the trends and tastes of others, at any cost,” she said. “We are assigned a look. We don’t get to choose.”