Last night actress Octavia Spencer won a Screen Actors Guild reward for her supporting role in the movie The Help. Even though Spencer couldn’t be in a better place professionally, having also won a Golden Globe a week earlier, she still seemed to have some concerns about her weight. Backstage at the awards show Octavia told reporters:
“I am not healthy at this weight. Any time you have too much around the middle, then there is a problem. [And] when you reach a certain weight, you are less valuable.”
Of course Octavia also recognized that the stigmas society places on looks can be too much pressure for women of any size to handle adding “I feel for the overly thin women as much as I do for the overweight women. It … has to change.”
We may not all work in Hollywood like Octavia where the pressure to look your best is high, but we do work in an image conscious society where how you look can mean the difference between a promotion or remaining stagnant.
Many companies won’t even hire overweight candidates because they fear the weight will come with certain health issues that can be murder on the company’s health premiums and slow productivity if the employee is constantly out sick or leaving early for doctor visits. It may not be right, but weight can make or break your career.
Has your weight affected your career?
Do you feel pressure to lose weight in order to get ahead?
I do feel weight is an issue in the entertainment industry, this is an industry of selling looks and talent so being a good weight and look is beneficial and how the camera adds weight. In my industry weight is an issue more than talent.
I have noticed that the woman that get ahead, get the job all seem to be quite thin, as I can not truly say they are fit. And I have seen people come after me get ahead of me even though I have put in the work, taken courses outside of work to improve my education for the position. And they still get the job…I’m not saying they are not deserving of it but I am saying that in my experience there is a preferance towards thinner and thus perceived healthier individuals in the work place.