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In a new interview with Redbook magazine, the actress revealed that the perils of being a “big” big star are even worse than imagined.
“Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me,” McCarthy said. “I asked five or six designers—very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people—and they all said no.”
Despite the fact that McCarthy is a wildly brilliant actress and possesses such humor and talent that she has scored countless award wins and nominations, her weight has consistently been a target of both discussion and criticism—almost more so than her success. In 2013, The New York Observer’s Rex Reed even went so far as to call the actress “tractor-sized” and “a hippo.”
“I don’t understand why if you’re a certain size, designers think your taste level goes down and you have less money to spend,” McCarthy said in Redbook, targeting today’s seemingly unprogressive fashion industry. “The quality and construction is often so bad. Finding a great T-shirt or a great cigarette pant in a good fabric is next to impossible. Plus-size clothes are often really cheap and either look young or incredibly old.”
Unfortunately, we live in a “very size-phobic, sexist, racist, ageist fashion world,” Cameron Silver, longtime fashion historian and founder of West Hollywood vintage couture boutique, Decades, told The Daily Beast. Silver, who styled McCarthy for the 2012 Academy Awards in a light-pink Marina Rinaldi gown (a designer who specializes in women sizes 10-22), said that working with a plus-size actress, particularly one of McCarthy’s caliber, was a “non-issue.”
“How brilliant would it be if Karl Lagerfeld made a dress for Melissa and she looked incredible?” he said. “What kind of spectacular statement and moment would that make? It’s not like Chanel would be pigeonholed as a plus-size designer. It would just show insight and talent. It’s not hard to make Karlie Kloss look good, but someone who we might see as having more obstacles to look glamorous—which is all in the eye of the beholder—to elevate their confidence and beauty is a really rewarding thing. That was the most fulfilling part of the project with Melissa…She had a very clear directive that she wanted to be soft, that she wanted light colors…It’s like, why can’t a woman who’s larger feel diaphanous and like a goddess?”
Silver also points out that, since over 60 percent of American women are overweight and the average female weighs 166 pounds, “there are certainly more women Melissa’s size than Keira Knightley’s.”
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