For decades, Hollywood has promoted one body type: thin. So unfortunately, it should come as no surprise that there are several celebrities who have been fired or turned down from jobs because of their weight. From models who were told to go home on photoshoots to actors who lost their jobs because of their waist size, body-shaming in Hollywood is widespread and needs to end. And as hard it is to hear these stories of celebrities who were discriminated because of their size, these tales are raising awareness for the still sizeist values held in the film and fashion industries.
Chris Pratt, Mindy Kaling and Chrissy Teigen are a few A-list names speaking out against body-shaming in Hollywood. Size has nothing to do with skill for many occupations, including acting and modeling, so why are so many stars discriminated against because of their weight? Turns out, these celebrities got the last laugh by building solid careers for themselves, despite being told that they might never work again because of their weight. From the model who was told she would never walk in a Victoria’s Secret runway to the Marvel actor who was once told point-blank that he was “too fat” for a role, here are eight celebrities who were tired or down down from jobs because of their weight.
Before she was cast on The Office, Kaling was offered a sketch show by a network. The sketch show was supposed to be about Kaling’s life. Still, the network asked her to audition. In the end, the network rescinded the offer because of Kaling’s size. “We were not considered attractive or funny enough to play ourselves. That network is no longer on the air, and The Office went on to be one of NBC’s most hit shows in years. I feel like karmically, I was vindicated, but at the time it felt terrible,” Kaling told The Guardian in 2014. A decade later, Kaling went on to create and star on her own show, The Mindy Project.
In a 2012 interview with The New York Times, Victoria’s Secret’s casting director, Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, said that the brand “would never” cast Upton in its annual fashion show because of her curves, despite using the model for catalogues in the past. “We would never use [her]” Neophitou-Apostolou said. “[It’s too obvious. She’s like a Page 3 girl. She’s like a footballer’s wife, with the too-blond hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy.”
Upton later responded to Neophitou-Apostolou in a 2013 interview with Vogue. “The things that they’re rejecting are things that I can’t change,” Upton said. “I can’t change my bra size. They’re natural! I can work out and I can stay healthy and motivated, but I can’t change some things. I really just live my life. I love my body. It’s what God gave me! I feel confident with myself, and if that inspires other women to feel confident with their bodies, great.”
Before he was on Stranger Things, Harbour auditioned to play Blob, an X-Men with superhuman strength, in one of Marvel’s Wolverine films. In the end, Harbour was turned for the role because of his weight after he lifted up his shirt in the audition room and joked, “I got your Blob right here!”
“I just made a stupid joke and then they called me and the director, we met at like a hotel, and he was like, ‘David, look, you’re wonderful, we really think you’re just a great actor, we’re just concerned … we’re really concerned,’” Harbour told The Wrap in 2017. “I was like, ‘Why, what’s your concern? I’m good to go. I’m available, let’s do this!’ And they were like, ‘No, it’s just, you lifted up your shirt and we saw the … we’re just a little worried about your health.’”
He continued, “I was like, ‘Wait a minute, dude, pause for one second. You are telling me I’m too fat to play The Blob? That’s awesome, I have to get the fuck back to New York.’ That’s my audition—so I didn’t get The Blob.”
When she was a model, Teigen was fired from a Forever 21 photoshoot because of her weight. She talked about the experience in a 2014 interview with DuJour, which detailed her time shooting for Forever 21 and being sent home because of her measurements.
“I actually was fired from a job. Forever 21,” Teigen said. “They asked me if they could take a photo and they shoot that photo off to my agency, who then calls me as I’m sitting in the makeup chair. And they say, ‘You need to leave right now. They just said you are fat and you need to come get your measurements taken.’ So I hate you, Forever 21. Hate you so much. Honestly, you’re the worst.”
Before his body transformation for 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt was told he was “too fat” for a role. In a 2017 interview with Vanity Fair, the actor said he was turned down for a role in 2011’s Moneyball because of his weight. “That was the first time I heard someone say, ‘We’re not gonna cast you—you’re too fat,’” he said. “So I decided to drop the weight, like in wrestling. I couldn’t afford a trainer, so it was all running and crash-dieting and cutting alcohol.”
In a 2010 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Gosling revealed that he was fired from a role in 2009’s The Lovely Bones because of his 60-pound weight gain. The actor, who was supposed to play the dad of a murdered and raped teenager, gained 60 pounds between the time he was cast and when it wast time to shoot.
“I was 150 lbs when he hired me and I showed up on set 210 lbs. [They said], ‘We had a different idea of how the character should look,’” Gosling said. “I really believed he should be 210 lbs.’ ‘I was melting Haagen Dazs and drinking it when I was thirsty. I really believed in it, I was excited about it and I showed up and they said, “You look terrible.’”
In 2015, Newell auditioned to play the lead in Broadway’s Kinky Boots, but he was eventually turned down because of his weight. “They said my weight would inhibit me from playing the role, which is not true, but to each their own,” he told StyleCaster in 2017. “I was like, ‘This is a show where they’re encouraging you to be who you want to be. Don’t let them tell you who you should be.’ They literally looked me in the face and told me I was too big to play a role. There’s no limitation. My weight does not prescribe what I cannot do.”
In 2005, Morton was supposed to star in a movie about the Brothers Grimm. Despite the director and actors wanting her, she was eventually turned down by the studio, Miramax, because of her weight. “Director Terry Gilliam wanted me, and the actors wanted me, but there was a complication with the studio over money and over my weight,” Morton told The Sun in 2004. “I think I’m a healthy size, I’m an 8-10. I’m not going to go down the road of having my teeth done, my boobs done.”