Illustrator, writer and Harry Potter actress, Jessie Cave, who played Lavender Brown in the hit series, has spoken out about the pressures she faced while growing up on film sets, and how gaining weight resulted in some 'uncomfortable' experiences.
Speaking to The Independent about her brilliant-sounding new novel, Sunset, on sisterhood and navigating grief in your twenties, Jessie also discussed her time as an actress - and the unrealistic body image ideals placed upon those in the public eye. 'I gained a lot of weight after doing Harry Potter, just because I wasn’t starving myself,' she confessed. 'And I was growing up and that’s just what happens.'
She continued on to say that when she returned to film The Deathly Hallows (parts one and two), that she was treated differently. 'I was treated like a different species. It was horrible,' Jessie recalled. 'It was probably more me and my insecurity, knowing that I wasn’t fitting into the same size jeans, but it wasn’t a time where actresses were any bigger than a size eight. And in the previous film I had been, and now I was a size 12. So that was horrible, it was a really uncomfortable experience.'
Jessie then candidly shared what it was like after the films wrapped and the light that had been shone on her - in her own words - 'goes off', and how again, she feels her changing body impacted on the way she was received.
'You get a bit bigger, or you’re not as relevant, and it [the light] goes off, and you have to make your way in the dark,' she said. 'I definitely felt invisible when I gained a little bit of weight. And since then, it’s made me have weird issues with weight and work. And it’s so fucked up, but it’s just how it is. Women have to deal with that all the time.'
Jessie also spoke about how the fiercely competitive nature of the film industry can massively dent a person's self-esteem. 'It’s like going on a million first dates, and them going brilliantly, and then you never hear from them again,' she shared. 'I definitely went crazy in my early twenties, thinking, "But they said they liked me and that I was perfect for it?" But then you realise there’s 100 other girls who are as good as you if not better, maybe prettier, maybe thinner, and they’re perfect for it.'
Ultimately, though, it sounds like Jessie is much happier with the way her life is nowadays, remarking that if she'd remained in a smaller body, things could have panned out differently.
'If I’d stayed thin – unnaturally thin, unhappily thin – I would have probably got more acting roles, and then I wouldn’t have started writing,' Jessie said. 'And then I don’t know who I would be now because writing is who I am. I’m almost grateful that I gained all that weight.'
We're applauding her candour loudly and can not wait to read the book.
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