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Gemma Arterton was filmed at the gym so that producers could make sure she was losing weight ahead of a role

It’s not the first time she has shared stories about the pressure Hollywood places on actresses.

BEFORE YOU READ on, if you are concerned that you or a friend could be suffering with an eating disorder, you can get in touch with Bodywhys confidentially on their LoCall line (1890-200-444) at these times.

Gemma Arterton BUILD Series event Source: Yui Mok

We’ve long known about the dangerous lengths that Hollywood pushes women to in order to maintain body types that are completely unsustainable for most people.

In the early 2000s, expectations for women’s bodies became more and more unrealistic. This resulted in a spike in eating disorders in the last two decades, as people strive to look like models and celebrities that they see on TV.

In retaliation, for a significant amount of this decade, lots of regular people and some public figures have been speaking out to try and promote body positivity, regardless of your body’s natural size or shape. Whatever you’re comfortable and healthy with is OK.

In some areas, the media is catching on. We see regular women of all shapes and sizes in shows like Orange Is The New Black, portrayed positively and healthily.

orange-is-the-new-black-season-5-cast-characters Source: Netflix

You could almost begin to forget how hard women in Hollywood have it if you weren’t the type of person who reads fashion magazines or goes to see blockbuster movies.

However, reminders of the unrealistic standards in Hollywood arise very often. It could be recent photos of Rihanna at a very healthy weight getting slated by news outlets, speculating if she’s pregnant.

Or it could be the horrible account by Gemma Arterton about the pressure put on her to lose weight for a role.

After playing Strawberry Fields in a James Bond movie and a leading role in Prince of Persia, she probably has a fair amount of tales to share about the struggle of playing ‘perfect’ women in Hollywood.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) und Agentin Fields (Gemma Arterton) in einer Szene... Source: DPA/PA Images

She shared one experience with The Guilty Feminist podcast in which she recounted producers constantly criticising her weight and pressuring her to keep exercising. They hired her a personal trainer, who kept her under close surveillance to make sure she was meeting the targets that they were setting for her.

They flew someone out overnight that gave up their whole life to be with me and be my personal trainer.

The Pool wrote that producers requested Gemma was ‘filmed in the gym to prove that she was actually exercising‘.

They’d measure me and they’d call up the personal trainer at like nine at night, going “Is she in the gym? If she isn’t, why isn’t she in the gym?”

Gemma Arterton BUILD Series event Source: Yui Mok

She told another story about working on the same set:

There was one day when I went to get some snacks, they have like snacks on set, and I went to get some apricots, some dried apricots and the man went, this big, fat, obese producer went: ‘I hope you’re not going to eat that’.

Arterton didn’t disclose which film this happened during the production of, but according to The Guardian, she has previously spoken out about being forced to lose weight for her role in Prince of Persia:

They sent me to a personal trainer, wanted to get my teeth done, hair extensions, make me look like somebody else.

Why even cast her if you want someone completely different to her?

Gemma Arterton Tiffany's photocall - London Source: Empics Entertainment

The actress has vocally criticised the treatment of female actors in Hollywood, telling the Observer’s Eva Wiseman that it may have resulted in her not getting film roles.

It’s easier to conform and shut up. That’s the way it’s always been with women. Easier than putting yourself out there and having an opinion, to which someone might retaliate. I’m sure there are people who don’t want to work with me because they think I’m difficult – ‘one of those feminist girls’ – but to be honest with you, I don’t want to work with them.

She has spoken out about this several times since the experience she described as traumatic when she was forced to lose weight. Talking to GQ in 2010, Arterton said:

Unless you’re really famous and successful, then they’re going to bully you into going to the gym. It’s a side of the industry that I find uncomfortable.

This is definitely something that should not be tolerated and it appears that Hollywood take advantage of and manipulate women who aren’t A-Listers, simply believing that they can just isolate them from the industry if they do not bend to suit producers.

It definitely is brave to continuously speak out on these issues and potentially put future work at risk, but like Gemma says – you’re better off not working than contributing to a highly toxic industry.

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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