Melanie Lynskey Says She Was Body Shamed While Filming 'Coyote Ugly' : 'I Was Already Starving Myself'

The actress recalled the “intense feedback” she constantly received about her body while on set for the 2000 hit movie

Melanie Lynskey attends The 2020 InStyle And Warner Bros. 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards Post-Party
Melanie Lynskey. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Melanie Lynskey is getting candid about the body shaming she experienced early in her career.

The New Zealand-born actress, 44, revealed during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she felt pressured to lose weight while on set for Coyote Ugly. Lynskey portrayed Gloria, the New Jersey-based BFF to Piper Perabo's Violet, in the 2000 hit movie.

Though she said Perabo received a lot of the behind-the-scenes scrutiny, Lynskey admitted all the women on set were criticized about their bodies.

"All the girls had this regimen they had to go on. It was ridiculous," the actress said. "I was already starving myself and as thin as I could possibly be for this body, and I was still a [size] four."

"There were already people putting a lot of Spanx on me in wardrobe fittings and being very disappointed when they saw me, the costume designer being like, 'Nobody told me there would be girls like you,' " Lynskey continued. "Really intense feedback about my physicality, my body, people doing my makeup and being like, 'I'm just going to help you out by giving you a bit more of a jawline and stuff.' Just the feedback was constantly like, 'You're not beautiful. You're not beautiful.'"

She added: "In your early 20s, so much of it is about beauty, and how people respond to you, and do people want to f— you? Do people think you're their best friend? Even the best friend thing, I started to be like, 'I don't want to do that too many times.'"

RELATED VIDEO: Jason Ritter Defends Wife Melanie Lynskey Against Body-Shaming Trolls in Cheeky Post

Lynskey later spoke out about her comments to THR in a series of tweets on Wednesday, where she clarified that her statement about the costume designer was not tied to the one who was credited on the film, but rather one who came before her.

"I see this has become a headline so please let me clarify some things! The costume designer who initially worked on Coyote Ugly left for some reason, & a lovely kind woman named Marlene Stewart took over and she was AWESOME," she tweeted. "The first person was mean, the person credited was not."

In a follow-up statement, Lynskey continued, "[I am] just nervous that people will google 'Coyote ugly costume designer' and think that Marlene was not nice when she was just the greatest."

She then said in another tweet that her "answer was kind of a jumble," stating, "I had experiences with makeup artists offering to help my face look better but that did not happen on Coyote Ugly. The hair and makeup team were amazing and so kind and among the best I've ever worked with."

Added Lynskey: "Sorry for any confusion I may have caused- if I ever talk about a bad experience I've had I'm pretty careful about people not being able to identify who did those things as I am not in the business of publicly shaming people. I'll talk about my experience without including that."

Lynskey previously opened up about other times in her career when she was allegedly body-shamed on set.

Earlier this year, she discussed the body shaming she experienced behind the scenes of her hit Showtime series Yellowjackets, claiming the production team criticized her shape during filming.

"They were asking me, 'What do you plan to do? I'm sure the producers will get you a trainer. They'd love to help you with this,'" Lynskey recalled during an interview with Rolling Stone. She also noted that her costars Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, and Juliette Lewis came to her defense, with Lewis, 48, penning a letter to the producers.

Lynskey also said that she didn't want to diet for the show — she wanted her character Shauna to look like a real woman, not the Hollywood version of one.

"It was really important to me for [Shauna] to not ever comment on my body, to not have me putting a dress on and being like, 'I wish I looked a bit better,' " she said. "I did find it important that this character is just comfortable and sexual and not thinking or talking about it, because I want women to be able to watch it and be like, 'Wow, she looks like me and nobody's saying she's the fat one.' That representation is important."

Melanie Lynskey
Melanie Lynskey. Rich Fury/Getty Images

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It also had added significance for Lynskey, who has talked about her struggles with disordered eating and low self-esteem during her career. She told PEOPLE in 2016 that there were years where she "was losing my mind trying to conform to something that was not physically possible for me."

"I was very unwell for a long time. I had eating issues and at a certain point I was like, 'I'm not going to survive' — not like I was on death's door or anything, but I was so unhappy and my hair was falling out."

Lynskey, who has a 3-year-old daughter with husband Jason Ritter, said that she had to do internal work to find her confidence.

"I was like, 'I just need to look the way I'm supposed to look' and have faith that people are going to want to put someone in a film or on a show who looks like this," she said. "I did have to truly become comfortable with myself, because you can't fake it."

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) at 1-800-931-2237 or go to

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