Sarah Paulson Regrets Wearing Fat Suit for TV Role: ‘Fat Phobia Is Real’
Sarah Paulson opened up about her decision to wear a fat suit for an upcoming television role.
The American Horror Story actor plays Linda Tripp — the woman who shared secretly recorded conversations with Monica Lewinsky that eventually led to President Bill Clinton's impeachment — in the upcoming FX series Impeachment: American Crime Story. She had to wear a fat suit and prosthetic makeup to more closely resemble Tripp on screen.
Her decision to take the role instead of letting it go to a plus size actor has been contentious. Cosmopolitan reported that Paulson was met with a backlash when she shared a photo of herself in character on Instagram in November 2020. The conversation was reignited when the show's first trailer appeared online in August.
Paulson was candid about regrets relating to wearing the fat suit in a conversation with the Los Angeles Times. “It’s very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I’m making excuses,” she said. However, she provided a thoughtful explanation for her decision.
“There’s a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one. I think fat phobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm." Paulson added that her regret stems from not thinking about the situation more carefully before she accepted the role.
"I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully," she explained. "And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on. I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have."
Although she expressed regret, she also shared her hope that she was ultimately the right fit for the role in others ways. "I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part," Paulson continued. "And that the magic of hair and makeup departments and costumers and cinematographers that has been part of movie-making, and suspension of belief, since the invention of cinema. Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question."
So, will Paulson accept another role that requires her to wear a fat suit in the future? It appears that the answer is no: "You can only learn what you learn when you learn it. Should I have known? Abso-f-ing-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”
Impeachment: American Crime Story premieres on FX Sept. 7. The show stars Beanie Feldstein as Monica Lewinsky and follows The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story and The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.