Kate Winslet Says She Experienced ‘Shocking and Cruel’ Body Shaming as a Young Actress

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Nicol Natale
·2 min read
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Photo credit: KENA BETANCUR - Getty Images
Photo credit: KENA BETANCUR - Getty Images

From Prevention

  • Kate Winslet, 45, opened up about experiencing body shaming in her 20s.

  • The actress called media coverage of her weight “shocking and straight-up cruel.”

  • Winslet said she was inspired by the #MeToo movement to speak out against body shaming in the media industry.

Kate Winslet is not shy about speaking out against unrealistic body standards—but she wasn’t always this way. In a new interview with The Guardian, Winslet said she struggled with confidence after she experienced relentless body shaming as a young actress.

“In my 20s, people would talk about my weight a lot,” she said. After starring in The Titanic, Joan Rivers once said that “If she just lost 5 lbs., [Leonardo DiCaprio] would’ve been able to fit on the raft.” Winslet, who was 21 at the time she filmed the iconic movie, called the tabloid coverage around her weight “shocking, critical, and straight-up cruel.”

“I was still figuring out who the hell I bloody well was!” she said. “They would comment on my size, they’d estimate what I weighed, they’d print the supposed diet I was on. It was critical and horrible and so upsetting to read.”

Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images
Photo credit: CBS Photo Archive - Getty Images

The obsession around her weight ultimately impacted her self-esteem. “It damaged my confidence. I didn’t want to go to Hollywood because I remember thinking, ‘God, if this is what they’re saying to me in England, then what will happen when I get there?’” she said, adding that it also altered her idea of beauty. “I did feel very on my own. For the simple reason that nothing can really prepare you for… that.”

But everything changed when she gave birth to her daughter Mia Threapleton in 2000. “I had Mia when I was 25. And so all that sh*t just kind of evaporated,” she said. The women’s movements also inspired her to speak out against the body shaming she experienced.

“Do you remember that period in history when suddenly female tennis players became extraordinarily vocal and much more muscular than we’d ever seen them before? Well, I suddenly feel like that’s happening in the acting world,” she told The Guardian. “Partly because we are emerging from this spectacular #MeToo period, but also because women are feeling an inherent sense of connection with each other. We’re less afraid to say what we think now.”

She felt “so moved” by how different things are now, which encouraged her to speak out. “I got this label of being ballsy and outspoken,” she said. “I was just defending myself.”

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