Reminder: Melissa McCarthy always gets the last laugh, even in the face of body-shaming.
Speaking with InStyle for a candid interview reflecting on her dramatic turn in the heartbreaking “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” ― which has garnered the actress immense critical acclaim and a few Best Actress awards nods ― McCarthy revealed that the press wasn’t exactly always in her corner.
McCarthy, who’s been a beacon of body positivity in Hollywood and has even launched her own clothing line for women of every size, recalled a particularly disturbing press conference in which an interviewer actually asked her, “Why do you always feel the need to be so grotesque?”
“It was a huge interview with maybe 100 people in the room, and he was sneering. I said, ‘What are we talking about? I can’t answer your question because I don’t understand it,’” she explained. “He goes, ‘You look sloppy, you’re not wearing any makeup, your hair is not done, you’re yelling at people.’ I was like, ‘OK, so have you ever asked this of a guy? I’m playing a character. You need to get out more if you don’t think there are real women like that.’”
McCarthy said she continued to have a tense exchange with the interviewer, which ended with her suggesting he pursue another profession if he insisted on asking these kinds of questions.
“I’m sorry I didn’t wear makeup in a part,” the actress recalled saying. “I’m sorry I didn’t look pleasant for you. But I also don’t think you should be here writing about movies.”
Unfortunately, this wasn’t McCarthy’s first brush with being body-shaming in the public eye. She also shared that while promoting “Bridesmaids,” a male reporter stepped so far over the line that he was eventually fired.
“He kept asking, “Are you shocked that you actually work in this business at your tremendous size?” the Emmy-winner recalled to InStyle.
“He was like, ‘Oh, your tremendous size, you can actually work?’ I just remember all the blood drained out of me. I thought, ‘With my tremendous size, I could tackle you so quickly,’” she continued. “There were two cameras on him, and one was on me, and he went back to that question three or four times, and I just kept talking about the script or how fun Paul Feig was. He was looking around like, ‘She’s crazy.’”
The “Gilmore Girls” alum went onto note the double standard women in the entertainment industry face.
“It happens all the time, to the point where it’s fascinating because they don’t do it to men,” she said. “Not to be a jerk or single him out, but when John Goodman was heavier, did anybody ever talk about his girth?”
While McCarthy has always been an unapologetic figure in Hollywood, her two daughters ― Vivian, 11, and Georgette, 8, with husband and frequent collaborator Ben Falcone ― have made her especially conscious of the messages the media sends to young women.
“I think there is a weird layer in the world [for women] where it’s not just about looks but it’s also, ‘Are you pleasant? Do you not make trouble?’” she said. “I don’t want to be around someone who’s a pain in the ass and confrontational, but I also don’t think that you always have to be Stepford Wife-y and can’t have opinions.”
To read McCarthy’s full profile, head over to InStyle.