Melanie Lynskey Talks about Being Body-Shamed in Hollywood & ‘Starving Herself’

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Lynskey said her time in Hollywood made her feel insecure at times

Melanie Lynskey is one of today’s biggest stars. Her role on the hit Showtime series Yellowjackets, which premiered in November 2021, earned her millions of fans. And with the fame, came scrutiny about her body. But it was her role in the very-of-its-time Coyote Ugly that Lynskey said rocked her self-esteem from a young age.

“I played the best friend from Jersey. But the scrutiny that was on Piper [Perabo], who’s one of the coolest, smartest women, just the way people were talking about her body, talking about her appearance, focusing on what she was eating,” she told The Hollywood Reporter of her co-star.

“All the girls had this regimen they had to go on. It was ridiculous. I was already starving myself and as thin as I could possibly be for this body, and I was still a [size] four. That was already people putting a lot of Spanx on me in wardrobe fittings and being very disappointed when they saw me, the costume designer being like, ‘Nobody told me there would be girls like you.’”

She said the experience left her feeling terrible and insecure. “Just the feedback was constantly like, ‘You’re not beautiful. You’re not beautiful.’ In your early 20s, so much of it is about beauty, and how people respond to you, and do people want to f*ck you? Do people think you’re their best friend?” she said. “Even the best friend thing, I started to be like, ‘I don’t want to do that too many times.’”

Lynskey was onscreen early in her life at just 16 years of age in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. Her portrayal of outcast teen Pauline earned her a Best Actress award at the New Zealand Film Awards. But as she got older, she said the criticism just got worse.

“The story of my life since Yellowjackets premiered,” Lynskey wrote after her debut in the series. “Most egregious are the ‘I care about her health!!’ people… b— you don’t see me on my Peloton! You don’t see me running through the park with my child. Skinny does not always equal healthy,” she wrote after being body-shamed.

She went on to talk about a member of the Yellowjackets production team who criticized her body during the show’s filming.

“They were asking me, ‘What do you plan to do? I’m sure the producers will get you a trainer. They’d love to help you with this,'” Lynskey told Rolling Stone, noting that her costars Tawny Cypress, Christina Ricci, and Juliette Lewis came to her defense with the show’s producers.

For Lynskey, it’s these friendships that get her through the rough times. “It’s an honour to know you, work with you, share secrets with you” she wrote to her Yellowjackets co-stars. “I’m the luckiest person in the world.”

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