Beanie Feldstein Opened Up About Feeling 'a Lot of Pressure' to Lose Weight As a Preteen

Feldstein discussed how she was ultimately able to tune out others' expectations about what she should look like.

Beanie Feldstein attends 'Variety LEGIT!: Return to Broadway' at Second on October 12, 2021 in New York City against teal background
Photo: Getty Images

Beanie Feldstein opened up about her relationship to her body, revealing that she started dieting as young as age 11, citing pressure from those around her to lose weight.

Ahead of a starring role on Broadway as Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, the actress touched on her experience in a new interview with Vogue. "It was clear to me that I was chubby and that I was bigger, and for a long time, because I was a kid, I would do what the adults were telling me to do, which is to try to not be that way," she said, sharing that she tried diet programs such as Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers between the ages of 11 and 13 to try to lose weight. She also noted that the theater environment she was in as a young actress served as a breeding ground for fatphobia. "I have friends who used to have to 'weigh in' for their musical-theater programs," she said. "That should be illegal." (

"I think I felt a lot of pressure from society, from my family, from my community," she noted in the interview. During her teenage years, Feldstein realized that there was actually nothing wrong with her body — the narrow, often unattainable beauty standards and the ways in which adults viewed her body were the real issue. "Around 16 or 17, I just thought, 'I'm fine. There's nothing wrong with me,'" she continued. "One day I realized, 'I'm not the problem. This standard is the problem.'"

Feldstein has been candid about her journey to self-acceptance since her breakout role in 2017's Lady Bird. That year, she penned an essay for Refinery29 about how "compliments" about her body during some unintentional weight loss "really messed with [her] head." Of her younger years, she said, "My family, doctors, and society at large were constantly telling me that I was too heavy, that I needed to exercise more, that I should be smaller. I was pushed into trying Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig… and I absolutely hated it. It affected me deeply. I despised trying to lose weight and I resented everyone that made me feel like I had to." (

"Finally after years of turmoil, something started to change," she wrote. "As I approached the end of high school, I felt the expectations fall away. I stopped trying to eat and look the way everyone else wanted me to. It took time and it happened gradually, but by the time I started college I felt truly comfortable with my body." While rejecting those expectations wasn't an overnight process, it surely felt freeing after years of facing pressure to change.

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