13 Celebrities Who Were Told to Lose Weight (Yep, Really)
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. "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 during a conversation with New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor in June 2018 night.
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."
In an interview with InStyle, the singer opened up about the early days of her career, when people in the industry told her to lose weight. Lopez, however, wasn't fazed.
“They didn’t bother me at all. But I got a lot of flak for it from people in the industry. They’d say, ‘You should lose a few pounds,’ or ‘You should do this or do that.’ It finally got to the point that I was like, ‘This is who I am. I’m shaped like this,’ ” Lopez said. “Everybody I grew up with looked like that, and they were all beautiful to me. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. I still don’t!”
Not even supermodels are immune to body critics — as Kloss revealed during a candid interview. “I was called both too fat and too thin by a casting agent on the same day,” Kloss said at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, reported the New York Post. But Kloss says she doesn’t worry about her weight, and instead focuses on her health and strength: “I don’t want to please anyone but myself,” she said.
"I didn't go through puberty until I was 19, and I was already a professional. So everyone's expecting your body, as your instrument, to look a certain way," the American Ballet Theatre's first-ever African-American principal dancer tells SELF. "Being told to lose weight, and being African American, not having anyone else around who looked like me, caused me so much doubt." But the dancer persevered, ultimately proving that her athletic frame could fit in. "I want to show the ballet world it's possible to do all these things and not be rail-thin or have blonde hair."
Benson is a size 2, yet has still has been told she's too overweight for certain roles. "It's come up a few times in the last few years, like, 'You're too fat for this,'" she told magazine. "I get told all the time to lose weight. I'm just sitting here like, 'Wait, what? Do you want a skeleton?'"
But Benson isn't worrying about numbers. "I feel good," she said. "I don't want to lose 20 lbs., because I don't need to. I'm a size 2, but I think that size 4 is healthy. I think that all of these sizes are healthy."
“I had agencies telling me that I had to lose weight,” Graham told PEOPLE. “I had one that waved money in my face and said, ‘If you lose more “lb’s” – pounds – you can make a lot more of this,’ and he was waving $20 bills in my face.”
“That wasn’t even a motivator for me to lose weight. I was peaking at a size 18, and in the plus size fashion industry, models go from a size 8 to a size 16/18. So if you’re on the smaller size or the bigger size, you’re not going to work as much as if you’re in the middle. So he was trying to encourage me to lose weight but it didn’t work, because I was that person where if you told me to go on a diet and lose weight, I’m just going to gain weight.”
The youngest Kardashian sister has had to withstand repeated attacks on her physical appearance, especially once her family was thrust into the spotlight on Keeping Up with the Kardashians. "Right before the show started, I thought I was in good shape, but I guess not good enough for Hollywood's eyes," she told PEOPLE.
"I didn't realize I was the 'fat' sister until I went on TV and the media started saying that about me."
"Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn't lose a certain amount of weight," she told Harper's Bazaar U.K. "They brought in pictures of me where I was basically naked, and told me to use them as motivation for my diet."
But if anyone can shut it down, it's J.Law. Now, "If anybody even tries to whisper the word 'diet,' I'm like, 'You can go f--k yourself.'"
It's not just their agents or the media telling them to slim down – some celebs get it from their own significant others. Kardashian was body-shamed by Scott Disick just a few months after she'd given birth to their second child. In a 2013 episode of Kourtney & Kim Take Miami, she brought up how she was having a hard time losing her baby weight.
Despite her eating healthily and exercising in a healthy way, Disick told her to "lose weight faster." (Ummm.)
After Clarkson gave birth to her adorable daughter, she faced ugly criticism on social media. But British journalist Katie Hopkins took it to the next level with cruel tweets about Clarkson's weight. She wrote, "Jesus, what happened to Kelly Clarkson? Did she eat all of her backing singers?" and then "Look chubsters, Kelly Clarkson had a baby a year ago. That is no longer baby weight. That is carrot cake weight. Get over yourselves."
For the record, Clarkson didn't let the viral criticism get to her. "She doesn't know me. I'm awesome! It doesn't bother me. It's a free world. Say what you will. I've just never cared what people think. It's more if I'm happy and I'm confident and feeling good, that's always been my thing. And more so now, since having a family – I don't seek out any other acceptance."
Banks has talked openly over the years of being told she needs to meet a certain model-esque weight. In a 2007 PEOPLE interview, she recalled that her modeling agency printed out for her a list of designers with the heading, "Will not book Tyra because of hips."
A particularly painful moment came when, during a fitting for a show in Milan, she heard two seamstresses calling her "grasso" ("fat" in Italian). "I was 126 lbs. at the time!" she said. "If some designer said it, it would hurt – but it hurt even more because maternal women were saying it." By age 22, her agency wanted her to lose 10 lbs.
Soon it occurred to Banks that her curvy (and fierce) body would be seen as an asset in other markets. Cut to her iconic career modeling for Sports Illustrated, Victoria's Secret and much, much more.
In a 2012 interview for MTV's This Is How I Made It, the Glee alum got emotional discussing all of the body-shaming (disguised as constructive criticism) she faced as she tried to break into the industry.
"Going to the auditions and hearing the casting director say, 'You need to lose a little weight,' I didn't understand why people couldn't accept me for who I was," Riley said. "I'm not gonna conform and hurt myself and do something crazy to be a size 2."
Turns out, the pressure to lose weight doesn't stop even when you've reached legend status. The legendary actress said she was pressured to lose over 35 lbs. to reprise her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"They don't want to hire all of me – only about three-quarters!" she told Good Housekeeping U.K. "Nothing changes. It's an appearance-driven thing. I'm in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that's how easy it is."