Kate Winslet Faced Body Shaming After “Titanic,” but Over the Years She’s Learned to Ignore Stereotypes About the Female Figure
Not many of us are truly confident about our looks. Doubts about personal appearance are common to many young people; for example, 85% of women in the UK don’t believe they’re attractive. Celebrities and established “beautiful women” of the cinema are not immune to these insecurities, either. Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet has had her fair share of these doubts, until she shed them all like snakeskin. We decided to find out how she managed to come to love her body and accept herself exactly the way she is.
Beginning of her career
Kate grew up in a fairly poor family and discovered her desire to act at an early age. By Winslet’s own admission, she realized she wanted to be an actress at the age of five, sitting in the bathroom where she could hear family arguments through the thin walls. It seemed like a great idea to her if someone were to film her mother, like in the movies.
This childhood insight turned out to be prophetic. Winslet showed exceptional acting talent, first in a BBC TV series, and later in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures. Confirmation that she was on the right path was her first ever Oscar nomination for her role in the adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility.
The opportunity to do what she loved was overshadowed by Winslet’s casting agents. She was openly told that she was only suitable for the role of an overweight girl. But instead of becoming withdrawn, Kate chose to fight: “I fought back. I had to ignore the negative comments. I had to believe in myself. I had to choose to rise above it all, and I had to work hard. You have to be indestructible to do what you love, and believe that you are worth it.”
Her starring role in Titanic, and criticism
The role of Rose in Cameron’s blockbuster was a golden ticket for Winslet. She shared that she “was really freaked out, to be honest. I was 21. I wasn’t ready for fame.” The eyes of millions of viewers were fixed on the young actress, who felt “enormously grateful, privileged, proud.”
Critics once again reminded Winslet of her weight, closely assessing not only her acting but also her body. This shocked the actress, who described her feelings years later: “It was almost laughable how shocking, how critical, how straight-up cruel tabloid journalists were to me. I was still figuring out who I was! They would comment on my size, they’d estimate what I weighed, they’d print the supposed diet I was on. It was critical and horrible and so upsetting to read.”
The criticism took a heavy toll on Winslet’s emotional state. Comments about her weight made her feel insecure and lonely. The actress later shared in an interview, “Why were they so mean to me? They were so mean. I wasn’t even fat.”
Years later, Winslet came to the realization that she should have stood up for herself and responded to inappropriate comments about her appearance more harshly: “Don’t you dare treat me like this. I’m a young woman, my body is changing, I’m figuring it out, I’m deeply insecure, I’m terrified, don’t make this any harder than it already is.”
Attitudes towards herself and beauty
Criticism after Titanic built Winslet’s character; she learned to evaluate her body sensibly rather than apologise for her appearance that might not fit someone’s expectations: “I dug deep and I decided that I simply wouldn’t listen when they said my body didn’t fit. This is who I am, the real me.”
Today, Winslet accepts herself the way she is and shares that she doesn’t do sports obsessively, but simply engages in physical activity for pleasure.
Today, Winslet is a mother of three and a successful actress who bravely refuses to use various filters to make herself look younger, both on screen and in real life. Not only has she embraced her body, but she has also chosen to age naturally.
She says it’s because she is striving to feel happy and healthy, not only for herself but also for her children. “I know that I feel my most beautiful when I feel like I am being a good mum, and when I am doing my best in my job and in loving my family. If I look after myself first and can look after everyone else even better. And that is something I have only been able to learn with age.”
How has your perception of yourself changed with age?