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Gwyneth Paltrow's Body Double From Shallow Hal Developed Eating Disorder After Filming

Gwyneth Paltrow's Body Double From Shallow Hal Developed Eating Disorder After Filming

Remember the 2001 rom com Shallow Hal? You know, the one starring Jack Black, who plays an extraordinarily shallow womanizer that gets hypnotized to only see inner beauty? In case you haven’t seen it, basically, Black falls in love with an overweight woman named Rosemary, played by Gwyneth Paltrow in a fatsuit. Only he sees her for said inner beauty — which the film makes a point of stating is the famously narrow-figured look of the actress.

The movie’s heart is ultimately in the right place — the shallowness is bad, lessons are learned — but many discriminatory beauty standards are accepted rather than challenged, and much of the movie’s humor comes at the expense of people’s weight. So it’s a lot of mixed messages along the way. It FEELS over two decades old.

Related: Gwyneth Addresses Criticism Over ‘Starvation Diet’

Now, Ivy Snitzer, the woman who played Paltrow’s full-figured body double, is opening up about how the film’s release ultimately changed things forever.

Once a bright-eyed young woman with aspirations of becoming an actor, Ivy says she used to believe “it is not the worst thing in the world to be fat” — until the horrors of the public gaze and body shaming altered her dreams forever.

In an interview with Amelia Tait this week, the former actress reflected on her role in the film’s production, and how body critics led her down an unhealthy path. Just a 20-year-old acting student at the time, Snitzer recalled just wanting “to be funny.” At the time, she didn’t have any qualms with the movie’s message — which she actually felt was progressive:

“At that point, if you saw someone obese in a movie, they were a villain.”

However, the character she helped portray on screen was quite the opposite. Rosemary “was cool, she was popular, she had friends,” Snitzer remembered. And her experience shooting wasn’t bad, either. She recalled:

“It was so exciting. It was just fun to be part of a movie — there’s so few people who actually get to do that in the world.”

She added the cast and crew “treated me like I really mattered, like they couldn’t make the movie without me.” Overall, she remembers being made to “feel really comfortable” about her body on set.

Ivy Snitzer Body Double Shallow Hal Developed Eating Disorder
Ivy today. (c) Ivy Snitzer/Facebook

However, what she didn’t anticipate was the popularity the film would go on to gain upon its release. She explained:

“It didn’t occur to me that the film would be seen by millions of people.”

Immediately after the film hit theaters, everything she felt so confident about came crashing down:

“Oh my God, it was like the worst parts about being fat were magnified. And no one was telling me I was funny.”

While helping promote the film, she inadvertently opened herself to unwelcome critics AND creeps. She got a LOT of body shaming, with people telling her she needed to lose weight, how to lose weight. But it got weirder than that. At one point someone found her address and sent her DIET PILLS! She also got love letters and even a symphony someone composed for her. It sounds like a roller coaster alright.

Related: Kelly Osbourne ‘Hid’ During Pregnancy Because She ‘Did Not Want To Be Fat Shamed’

In retrospect, she’s now aware that “it is not the worst thing in the world to be fat,” but at the time she was made to feel completely different. She admitted:

“I got really scared and I just got really small. I was like, ‘Maybe I’m done with the concept of fame, maybe I don’t want to be an actor.’ Maybe I’ll do something else.”

That “something else” began with losing weight. A lot of weight.

Just two years after the movie, the actress underwent lap-band surgery — which reduces your stomach’s size and restricts your diet — but the band ultimately slipped, causing a horrible complication:

“I got essentially a torsion, like dogs get and then die.”

She remembered of the time:

“I was so thin you could see my teeth through my face and my skin was all grey.”

She added she was “technically starving to death.” But it’s what the intense amount of body criticism made her feel was best… The actress recalled:

“If you’re fat, you’re supposed to try to not be. I hated my body, the way I was supposed to. I ate a lot of salads. I had eating disorders that I was very proud of. It didn’t occur to me that I was supposed to be ashamed of those behaviors, like a lot of people are. For me, I was supposed to be proud of them.”

Eventually, though, Ivy found “stability.” She’s now an insurance agency owner in Philadelphia. But what a brutal journey it took to get there. Once a young girl who was proud of her look was so quickly destroyed by the gaze of the public eye. So terrible.

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, there is help available. Consider visiting or call their hotline at (800)-931-2237 for resources. 

[Images via 20th Century Fox/YouTube]

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Aug 18, 2023 15:01pm PDT