SNL's Aidy Bryant Says Giving Up on Being Skinny Was the Moment Her 'Entire Life Changed'
The Saturday Night Live star spent her high school years trying to fit in with everyone in her skin-baring hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. But it was ruining her self-worth.
“I was spending so much energy on something that really, no matter what I did, wasn’t changing,” Bryant, 30, tells The Cut. “And I truly got to a breaking point. I was like, ‘How much longer can I do this? Can I do this for the rest of my life?’ ”
The comedian says the moment she stopped worrying about her body was like “a switch flipping,” both for her self-esteem and her career.
“I finally was like, ‘What if I put all of that energy into just trying to like myself and focus on the things I actually want to do as opposed to this thing that’s like a made-up concept?’ And I’m not kidding, my entire life changed after I did that,” Bryant says. “Within two years, I was hired by Second City; two years later I was hired by SNL.”
“I stopped letting it be an all-day, everyday thing that defined everything that I did. And it worked.”
RELATED VIDEO: Engaged SNL Star Aidy Bryant Talks Struggling With the Word ‘Fiancé’ & Reveals She Hasn’t Started Wedding Planning Yet
Bryant quickly became a favorite in a resurgence of female stars on the sketch comedy show, along with Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong. But there were times when she felt excluded because of her size, like during a magazine photoshoot with her costars where she had to wear her own size-18 clothes.
“It was just humiliating,” Bryant says. “The other girls had racks of clothes to chose from and were wearing these thousand-dollar dresses, and I had two sacks or like one matronly mother-of-the-bride dress. Those were the first times where I was like, Something is different here and this isn’t fair. This is a f—-d-up situation, and it’s purely because of my body. Not because I’m less funny — it’s my body. It’s the only reason that I’m treated differently right now. And it lit a f—–g fire in me.”
Bryant custom-creates most of her clothes with designers, and is now working on a clothing line for women size 12-24. She feels like she has a “moral obligation” to make getting dressed an easier experience for curvy girls, as one of the few with a public platform.
“I didn’t try to get on SNL to be a body-positivity activist, but apparently just being there makes you one,” Bryant says. “It’s this weird kind of thing where you’re like, I guess I kind of am. It’s literally just not what I came here to do.”
Bryant says she’s embracing the role.
“It sounds so corny now, but representation does f—–g matter,” she says. “And I remember how as a child I was obsessed with Rosie O’Donnell even though that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but I was like, Oh my god, someone who’s a little bit like me on TV.”