Rebel Wilson’s Team Discouraged Her Health Journey Because She Was Capitalizing Off the ‘Funny Fat Girl’ Trope

It’s no secret that certain actors are typecast into particular parts based on their appearance, past performances, and overall public persona. While getting stuck in a specific mold can be frustrating for any celebrity, it is particularly frustrating for those whose image is tied up in their body size.

We all know that Hollywood can be particularly vile when it comes to narrow-minded portrayals of body size, but it turns out that the sword cuts both ways. While many roles seem reserved for only the thinnest actors, Rebel Wilson recently found out that weight loss can also spark backlash. 

Rebel Wilson declared 2020 her “Year of Health” 

With the pandemic raging on and uncertainty filling the air, many people took 2020 to focus inward. Wilson was among those who decided to make 2020 a time of personal reflection and declared it a “Year of Health.” 

The star rejected fad diets and instead took up a more holistic and health-conscious approach that did result in some significant weight loss. As someone who has been open about struggles with infertility, Wilson pointed to medical advice connecting weight loss to better outcomes for possible fertility treatments as a motivator. Wilson has been vocal on social media about her ups and downs, and she has also shared many photos of her new look. 

Of course, anytime a celebrity changes their appearance, it’s going to draw attention and comments from fans. As the discussion over singer Adele’s weight loss demonstrated, dramatic changes in body size can cause a mixed reaction from fans.

While individual stars’ health journeys are personal, some fans feel an acute loss of representation when one of the few larger celebrities loses weight — especially if those celebrities had previously been advocates for body acceptance and positivity. It can be a complicated position at the intersection of body positivity and personal health choices. 

Rebel Wilson reveals pushback from her professional team

Wilson recently revealed that her weight loss was a source of discussion for her professional team. In an interview for the BBC, Wilson discussed the incident: “I got a lot of pushback from my own team actually, here in Hollywood, when I said, ‘OK, I’m gonna do this year of health. I feel like I’m really gonna physically transform and change my life.” 

Their concern was over the potential loss of her most iconic role: “And they were like ‘Why? Why would you want to do that?’ Because I was earning millions of dollars being, you know, the funny fat girl, and being that person.” 

Rebel Wilson makes it clear that her decision was about health 

Rebel Wilson at the 'Cats' world premiere
Rebel Wilson at the ‘Cats’ world premiere | Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

In the midst of all of these concerns and discussions is the complicated relationship between weight, health, beauty standards, and confidence. Wilson wants to make it clear that she did not lose weight because she thought it was important to her appearance. She has always been confident at any size: “Even though I was still very confident being bigger, and you know, would walk a red carpet, even though I was probably double the size, sometimes triple the weight, of other actresses, but like, I still felt confident in that.”

Instead, she was motivated by a desire to practice healthier habits: “But I knew deep down inside, some of the emotional eating behaviors I was doing [were] not healthy.” 

As for her team’s concern that she may lose out on roles if she lost weight, they seem misplaced. She’ll be starring in the comedy Senior Year in 2022 and has a leading role in the upcoming drama The Almond and the Seahorse

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