Lauren Cohan: ‘I didn’t like being skinny. People made fun of me’

SHAPE JanFeb 2016 Cover_edited-1
The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan (Maggie) covers Shape’s January/February issue. It’s nice to see an actress from Walking Dead on a magazine cover, and Cohan is getting more publicity than her costars because she has that creepy horror movie, The Boy, coming out early January. Cohan plays an English nanny to a doll, basically, and is asked to treat the doll as if it’s a real child. It looks like a terrible film but sometimes horror movies do well at the box office.

In the accompanying interview, Cohan comes across as a little manic and goofy, which is not the impression I’ve had of her from the couple times I’ve seen her on Talking Dead. She seems fun but not annoying at all in person. It’s Shape so Cohan is showing off her hard earned figure and talking about her exercise schedule. She has her hair long in the photos, but recently cut it into a cute pixie cut, so we can assume the photoshoot and interview are a few weeks old. Shape also has a quick video interview with Cohan with scenes from her shoot.

On her get-moving strategy:
“I am the queen of exercise variety. This week I was in L.A. and I took a Pure Barre class, went to Burn 60 [an internal workout class] twice, ran the track at UCLA, made it to the gym, and took a yoga class. I also really love to dance. I dance through workouts that aren’t even about dancing! At home, all my furniture is pushed to the edges of my living room so that I can dance around the room. Working out is harder when we’re on set. We film in Georgia, and I can’t go to classes. So I do exercise DVDs that have a lot of leg lifts, kicks, arm lifts – things that don’t need equipment. And I move all the time. I take the stairs, I do press-ups between scenes, and I do sit-ups before lunch.”

On fighting body shamers:
“I was very skinny as a kid, but when I was swimming and playing field hockey and just having fun, I never worried about how I looked. In my teens, though, I started to be more aware of my body, and I didn’t like being skinny. People made fun of me for it. So when I got to college, I ate a lot of junk and gained weight. I loved it because I didn’t stand out as a bony girl anymore! Eating became a way of not getting attention for looking too skinny, but it was also self-sabotage. In the last few years, I’ve gotten back on track with exercising for fun and eating right, and now I’m in a happy place with myself.”

On letting loose:
“I’m very silly. At four o’clock on the dot every single day, I have the most hyperactive hour of my life. I go into 7-year-old-child mode and everything is funny to me. I have seven different voices that I do, and I’ll fly around the set like a bee and talk in my little voices.”

On never dining solo:
“I once read a book that said eating with friends is good for your brain and your digestion. So if I’m by myself, I facetime a family member or a friend for company when I’m eating.”

On being impulsive:
“Sometimes I’ll go to the airport without a plan. I love to just take trips on the same day, spur of the moment.”

[From Shape]

In the full interview, Cohan says that she needs to work out because it “gives me endorphins and makes me happy.” I can definitely relate to that because I start to feel bad if I can’t get a workout in for more than a day. I have been working out at home to the Just Dance XBox games so I have a big space in front of my TV to dance too. I have to follow the moves exactly with a DVD or game though, I’m not one to improvise like Cohan.

Spoilers for past episodes of The Walking Dead follow
After feeling too thin as a teen, it sounds like Cohan found a nice balance exercising and eating well and it really shows. She looks incredible. I wonder if Cohan is going to gain weight when her character, Maggie, starts showing in her pregnancy. Probably not, since food isn’t very plentiful during the zombie apocalypse. Honestly I do not remember how that turned out for Maggie in the comics. It’s possible I haven’t read that far, but it might not matter as producers could change that story arc anyway.

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photos credit: ©James Macari/SHAPE Magazine.

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42 Responses to “Lauren Cohan: ‘I didn’t like being skinny. People made fun of me’”

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  1. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    It’s a shame that young girls have to face teasing and commenting on their bodies, fat or thin.

    • Esmom says:

      So true. Although I’m wondering if things might be getting better? My neighbor, a junior in high school, is part of a sports team where the girls come in all shapes and sizes and everyone seems content, at least outwardly, with how they look. She said she’s never heard of or gotten any bullying for her size.

      • Marnie says:

        I’m happy to hear that ESMOM. I went to an all girl school and we didn’t have any teasing either. There were a few comments about my boobs which were larger than average for my age but it was never meant to be mean.

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I hope so. That is encouraging news. I had a very similar experience to Marnie’s. I went to a small school and people didn’t really comment on teenage girl’s bodies one way or the other.

      • idsmith says:

        Studies show that participating in sports help girls stay out of the body-hate, body-shame cycle and provides tons of self-esteem. They also found girls in sports throughout their teens felt more confident, had better relationships and experienced less depression.

      • Esmom says:

        idsmith, I believe all of that. It seems there are more and more opportunities for girls to participate so I hope the numbers of female student athletes continues to grow. I know my teenage sons tend to “like” the girls who are athletes, I’m guessing they project a certain strength and confidence that’s intriguing and/or attractive.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      My best friend’s older brothers used to tease me for being too thin when I was a kid, and it really effected my self esteem at the time. Later I realized that I think they were trying to make their muscular sister feel better, but it is sad it had to come at my expense. I doubt anyone commented on their bodies while they were growing.

  2. Marnie says:

    She has an amazing body. Very healthy and strong. Must follow her regimen 😉. Love her on the WD. And happy New Year’s everyone!

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Happy New Year to you, too! 🎉

    • bettyrose says:

      ITA. She looks healthy, which is all that should matter when discussing body types. We’re all different, so a healthy diet/workout routine looks different on each of us, but we should compliment one another on looking our best, not adhering to a standard that doesn’t fit our own body type.

      Having said that, I lift weights daily hoping for muscular arms, so I love to see muscular body types profiled as inspiration.

  3. Esmom says:

    I don’t watch the show so I’m not familiar with her but she reminds me a little bit of Evangeline Lilly. Maybe because Lilly was also the cast member to be featured in fitness mags and tried to move onto films.

    • mp says:

      I can see it! I also see a resemblance to Allison Williams and Lauren Graham. It’s weird how a lot of these stars start to resemble each other if you’re not paying attention.

  4. Miran says:

    Comments are closed on the post about her pixie, but she sort of looks like nicholas hoult with that hair and i cannot unsee it.

  5. Falula says:

    She looks fantastic in this shoot, but the excessive shading and/or photoshopping on the cover abs is driving me crazy. She doesn’t need the help, her body is clearly strong! Leave her alone, retouchers. (Not that I expect anything less.)

  6. nubiahbella says:

    ALthough she looks good here, her body is nothing special to me, “Michonne” “Sasha” and “Carol” have more impressive bodies to me

    • tracking says:

      Eh, to me her figure is perfect–slim but still strong. I think she looks amazing, and boy she clearly works for it.

    • Kym says:

      I’d happily take LC’s body in a second if I could but I do agree about Michonne. She has a strong and healthy figure that radiates sexiness.

    • ell says:

      are we watching the same carol? the actress looks lovely, but her body is just average person on the street, whereas lauren is clearly very strong and fit.

    • Kitten says:

      Michonne’s body is my INSPIRATION. Lauren looks great too but Danai has the most incredible physique.

  7. Ollie says:

    In the covershoot her face looks like a blend of Lauren Graham and Kirsten Stewart

  8. Belle Epoch says:

    Photoshop! Her arms are different lengths in every picture. Don’t hands usually reach to thigh level? Maybe she’s a T Rex!

  9. MeganK says:

    She moved to England as a teenager and now has that Madonna-Gwyneth faux British accent that sounds like fingernails on a chalkboard. I love her character on Walking Dead but in real life, I just can’t. You’re from New Jersey, girl!

    • mp says:

      this! I knew an American girl who moved to London in her 20s and she claimed she picked up an accent while there. She too sounded horrible.

      I think most studies show that your native tongue accent has developed by the time you’re 7, so I don’t really buy her accent and it annoys the sh*t out of me too.

      • Redd says:

        I think some people are mimics that just pick up whatever accent they live around. I have a friend who is like this and has a mish mash of American accents ftom places she has lived. She kind of hates it so I don’t think it’s an affectation. I, on the other hand, can not do an accent to save my life.

        Besides, there are other actors that adopt accents. I think Portia di Rossi has said she learned an American accent for work and lived here for a while, and can’t do her Australian one any more. Gillian Anderson has an English accent…but only when she is there. I think she grew up there too but moved to the US at some point. And there’s a guy on that show Strikeback, I saw him being interviewed in both UK and American accents, so I looked him up and he grew up in America spending summers in the UK and can slip into one accent or the other.

        I think Lauren’s southern accent is pretty good, most of the time. A lot of actors who do generic type southern accents are pretty awful. Not surprised that she is multi-accented, probably helps at work!

      • lucy2 says:

        Anna Paquin is another one, she has a mix of accents from the places she lived, I think.
        I think when you’re immersed in a language, over time you’ll start to pick up traits of it and develop a different accent.

      • Jwoolman says:

        I work with languages and never heard the idea that your accent is set by the age of seven. I see plenty of evidence that adults still change their accent depending on where they live. Native speakers living elsewhere start to adopt the rhythm and accents of the new language in which they are immersed very readily, even two or three years is enough to corrupt their accent in their native tongue. A native born Midwesterner who married a Kenyan and went to live in Kenya ended up with an African British accent to her English. I pick up the surrounding accent so easily that a colleague from the South assumed I was Southern also, while I’ve never been further south than Washington DC and only on brief visits. But since my late twenties I’ve lived in an area where a third of the population is from Kentucky, so there’s a bit of the South in the local accent. When I was a kid, born in the East but raised in the Midwest, family still back East thought spoke like a Midwesterner but people in the Midwest thought I had an Eastern accent… So I might have been bouncing between my parents’ accents and the locals’ accent or just blended them.

    • erika1985 says:

      I lived in London 2 years and picked up a slight accent. Why does it have tho be faked? Everyone is different and influenced by their surroundings differently.

    • GeekLuva says:

      I’m half Korean born in America & only lived in Korea for a very short time, but I still slip up and sometimes have a werid Korean influenced accent. My mom is full Korean & she taught me to speak, so I think that’s where that comes from. Lauren’s mom is British so maybe that’s why? I don’t think it’s as fake as Goopy’s or Madge’s.

    • justagirl says:

      I once spent a day with someone from Kentucky and by the end of the day realized I had to be careful how I said things, because I didn’t want to seem like I was mimicking her.

      Some people just have a good ear for accents & sounds, maybe it’s similar to having a good ear for music being in tune or off-key. It comes naturally & just happens, without even realizing or trying.

      • bettyrose says:

        I’ve hardly spent any time in the south at all, but I feel like I pick up the accent when I hear other people speaking that way. It’s embarrassing because I’m not doing it on purpose.

        I don’t tend to pick up an English accent when I’m in the UK, but I do start using more British terminology without trying.

  10. kibbles says:

    I remember seeing her in movies from a decade ago and she had much more meat on her bones. Maybe that was at the end of her junk food binge period, but I doubt it. She always had a nice figure but was curvier back then. I think she is like most celebs when they become more famous which is to lose more weight and become thinner or more athletic than when they first got into show business. She is very in shape but I prefer a curvier body shape to a thin athletic build. I know many people prefer the latter these days, but I saw nothing wrong with her when she weighed more. In fact, she looked better before in my opinion.

  11. Chicken says:

    I don’t think she means it this way, but I love how she makes it sound like there are no exercise in Georgia. You can’t throw a rock in metro Atlanta without hitting three barre studios. My friends all have class pass and go to different types of workouts each week.

    • justagirl says:

      I read it as “working out is harder when we’re on set…..and I can’t go to classes.” She’s not saying Georgia is the problem, rather the time spent on set makes getting to a class impossible so she gets creative by using dvd’s and fitting in exercise throughout her day – kind of a ‘handy tip’ for regular people who often can’t get to a class.

  12. Lama Bean says:

    What is an internal workout class?

  13. Ankhel says:

    Maybe I’m a giant sourpuss here, but I think she sounds neurotic – and manic. Can hardly stand still, gets hyper in the afternoon every day, facetimes during meals because she can’t do 30 minutes without stimuli apparently? It sounds crazy and exhausting. Not to mention that she uses cartoon voices at work. For fun. SEVEN voices, mind you. Um, that’s nice, honey. Do they come with personalities?

    • extracookie says:

      Totally! I was especially frowning at that facetime-thing. Time to grow up. At some point, you’ll have to learn to eat by yourself and still enjoy ii because it will happen.

  14. FLORC says:

    Lori didn’t gain any weight for her pregnancy. And more recently the actress that plays Sasha didn’t gain much either. A black shirt with a sniiper rifle draped across her stomach concealed it all. So, we will see.

    I like Lauren. She’s fine.

  15. suchFun says:

    Very lara croft ish fotoshoot. Love it. She kicks a**

  16. jammypants says:

    She is so hot.

  17. Aubrey says:

    Much better than the Kloe Kardashian Complex cover, this is how it should be done!