Michelle Obama Designer Christian Siriano: How I Beat Hollywood's Body Shamers on the Red Carpet (Guest Column)

The Hollywood Reporter

The consumer used to be all about the fantasy of Hollywood. Now that's not as relevant. Women aren't coming in and saying, "I want the dress that this A-list celebrity wore to the Oscars." They don't care: If the dress doesn't look good on them, they're not buying it. Consumers are more self-assured, they're looking for a celebrity who is more like them. Relatable is what it's all about. This is why I think I've seen my brand grow over the past few years: People are interested in being celebrated for their individuality. I've made some choices that are outside the box and found that even if the establishment doesn't support you, the public will. That's always been my thing.

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For the Emmys, these past few days, I've been dressing women with all different bodies. That can be scary for designers who aren't used to it and don't do it all the time. It's not harder, it's just a different process. Everyone has their thing: Even small girls can be difficult if they have no bust or are really thin. If you have someone who isn't a sample size, it's more of a risk to make sure everything works from the back and all sides. Taking more risks means it won't always be a home run every single time. It could go in the wrong direction, and people won't like what it is in the end.

We want to celebrate craft, but looks are what people see. My first big red carpet was with Christina Hendricks, and we were really criticized. Isn't it interesting that she is so praised for her body on her show and in real life is under such scrutiny? There is still so much snobbishness. We should celebrate everyone. If I had the budget that Dior has, I think it would be so much cooler to change it up and pick different types of women every season. It would be so much more exciting.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.