Alison Brie: ‘I feel like strength is beautiful rather than stick skinny’

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With the second season of GLOW currently in production, Alison Brie, who stars as an aspiring actress turned wrestler, has been popping up a lot lately. She is also starring along with her hubby Dave Franco and brother-in-law James in the upcoming film The Disaster Artist. The 34-year-old actress is on the cover of the December issue of Women’s Health and talks about the workout regimen that got her ring ready.

Alison confessed that before she started working with trainer Jason Walsh, she couldn’t do a single push-up and now she’s doing squats with 80 pounds. She told the magazine that she now feels “like a totally different person” admitting that working out “changed everything.”

Back in her Community and Mad Men days, Alison was working out with Jason, but her regimen consisted of circuit training and light weight training (which is what I do, so now I feel like a weakling). She was reluctant to go harder as she feared she’d bulk up too much, revealing that “Growing up in L.A., both my sister and I had sort of touch-and-go body issues, some mildly recurring body dysmorphia.” As she started testing herself and moving more weight, she noticed that “I feel like I was building strength outside and in at the same time,” and concluded “Now I feel like strength is beautiful, rather than that stick-skinny is the beauty standard.” She added that “I was transitioning fat into muscle without losing weight or gaining weight. But I say that loosely because I don’t own a scale. I haven’t weighed myself in years.”

Alison has always been an advocate for body positivity, and her trainer says that she is a “very encouraging person,” and gave her kudos because “Someone new would come in to the gym, and Alison would be the first to go over to them and tell them it pays off.” I could use Alison’s encouragement. Could she come work out in Atlanta?

What’s even cooler is that she admits she’s in a place where, “I’ve just never given less f-cks. It’s a nice feeling because you live your life more and care less about what other people think.” She also notes, “Your career will fluctuate; you’ll have highs and lows. But I can always go to the gym and work out. I’m in control of myself and my body.”

James shares some helpful fitness tips in the magazine, and there’s some great advice for anyone looking to get a kick start on their New Year’s resolutions (like myself). And, her Instagram is totally giving me #fitness goals. Whatever she’s doing, it’s definitely working for her, and she really seems to not only have a healthy body but a super healthy outlook on life. She’s kind of my hero.

Behind the scenes of my @womenshealthmag cover shoot! *Perseverance is the key to everything* 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼

A post shared by Alison Brie (@officialalibrie) on

42nd Toronto International Film Festival - 'The Disaster Artist' - Premiere

42nd Toronto International Film Festival - 'The Disaster Artist' - Premiere

AFI FEST 2017 presented By Audi

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40 Responses to “Alison Brie: ‘I feel like strength is beautiful rather than stick skinny’”

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  1. MI6 says:

    Did she do something to her face? She was so cute.

  2. Zan says:

    Yeah, I think she did something to her nose, bit she’s still glowing! I like her since Mad Men.

  3. slowsnow says:

    I recognize here what I sometimes felt during phases when I was particulalry comfortable in my own skin, i.e. when I didn’t eat crap and therefore lost the “crap-food-fat”. There is a certain euphoria that comes from it and I confused it with being in control and giving less f*8ks. Then my weight would go to the other extreme and the euphoric sense of control dissipated. I’m not very fond of this euphoric-disphoric phenomenon and tend to take things as it comes now. I prefer giving less f*8ks this way.
    But I say this as someone who balances from a healthy weight to a slightly plumper but still healthy weight so please don’t think I am talking about big weight discrepancies. And I realize that Larson went from skinny to skinny muscled.

    On another note, I loved her in Mad Men, she was always spot on and such a strong presence. She has a great face for acting: it adapts to the roles she’s in and changes completely.

  4. Feedmechips says:

    She looks different every time I see her.

    • Esmom says:

      I think the 80s hairstyle from Glow really transformed her, especially compared to her Mad Men Trudie look. As someone said above, she really knows how to adapt to her different roles.

      I hear her on fitness helping you feel in control. It’s one of my main defenses in the fight against depression, same with my fitness fanatic 18 year old. He really struggles and his workouts are the one time/place where he feels like he has some control in an otherwise chaotic world.

      • lucy2 says:

        I agree, the hair (and makeup) really changes her look.

        The GLOW role is very physical, not surprised that she had to ramp up her workouts.

  5. Barrett says:

    I am stick thin due to complications from endometriosis and my digestive track. Screw you (worse words in a stream of anger floating through my head). Thanks for reminding me I’m not beautiful

    • Patricia says:

      You’re beautiful and you’re strong. I wish you all the best.

    • Beth says:

      I’m naturally stick thin and tired of people who have never even seen me, saying that because a woman is so skinny, she isn’t beautiful. No matter what our weight, we’re still beautiful

    • Esmom says:

      I’m sorry you are struggling with your health. I tend to think she was referring to people who restrict their food to achieve stick thin proportions, thinking it’s the ideal. Not healthy.

      Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      That’s not what she said. I balked at the headline too but what she is actually saying is that for a long time, very very thin as the beauty standard. For most women who are not naturally thin (and really, an absolute minority are super skinny naturally) those days were horrible. Growing up in the 90s f*cked many of us up good. That standard is shifting slowly, and it has started to include more variety of shapes and sizes. Super skinny is not the only option for beautiful anymore.

  6. Shijel says:

    “I am in control of my body” and “strength rather than skinny” are two phrases I can never associate with a good, healthy mindset. And banking your emotional security on being control of one’s body will have devastating results should that control be ever taken away by an illness, accident etc.

    • kay says:

      This, precisely. +1

    • India Rose says:

      Yes, Yes, Yes.

      It’s ironic how big the word JOY is on the cover. When you experience joy, you radiate beauty. Body size has nothing to do with that.

      As a survivor of abuse, I want to — and work to — feel ownership over my body. But that’s different than “control”, which is a red flag. We can’t control everything that happens to our bodies, as you’ve said. Illness happens. Injury happens.

      I take ownership of my body back and, rather than trying to control it, respect it.

    • Amy says:

      Wow, I was trying to put my finger on why this all seems so wrong. Thank you!

    • Domino says:

      Yep, the words she uses really reminds me of my eating disorder. I became obsessed with being strong, not skinny, in the hopes I would ward off disease, attract sexual attention, Get rid of fat.

      I am really messed up in the head though and in no way judging or diagnosing her, but I think body dysmorphia is a red flag that you might be at risk for an eating disorder of some sort?

  7. Patricia says:

    She is so freakin gorgeous.

    I get very discouraged because unlike Allison I CAN’T always go to the gym, I’m not always in control of my body due to various physical issues that flare and die down again (mainly scoliosis).
    It makes me not start a new regimen. Ugh. But her results are definitely inspiring for me to at least take some small and careful steps. I’d love to feel stronger.

  8. Suki says:

    I just get sick of being told people only find curvy attractive, or strong or skinny. We are all built differently and for some who are too skinny or too fat, the problems are emotional and psychological and thus the focus shouldn’t be on how they look but on how they feel. It just seems like the same conversation going round and round.

    • KC says:

      I honestly think it’s the swinging pendulum effect (kinda like politics). People see the danger of one body type being downplayed or disparaged and attempt to promote acceptance of that body type. Being overweight and pudgy was ideal and equated with wealth hundreds of years ago. Wars and sickness resulted in smaller bodies and that became ideal. Fashion and modeling really took off after that and skinny and thin was the standard. Eventually, even though many weren’t naturally that way and were harming themselves to attain that. “Fat” became anything more than a size 4 prompted by fashion and media trying to spend the least amount on clothes that were modeled. In more recent years as societies became more tolerant and diverse there’s been a shift towards inclusiveness of certain characteristics that non-Europeans generally possess and what we see on the runway and in magazines is not typical of the majority of women and having those feminine curves aren’t an atrocity. Hips, butt, full lips were then embraced. Curves became cemented as the thing. Of course some other body type was belittled in its place and I don’t know if anyone picked up on it but there seems to be a creeping away from that and promoting strength. Not skinny, not curvy, not big boned but strong. Ironically, I think it’s the most inclusive so far as all these categories can be strong and healthy but also because there takes a certain strength that has been found in women to have their egos and self-esteem bounced around like a tennis ball in a match for so many eras.

      I recall a larger derrière really taking off with J-Lo and being devastated as a MS/HS student who was finally accepting her big boobs as an attractive feminine feature to find it communicated to me that boobs were out and big butts (which I do not possess) were in. Thin eyebrows were the goal (mine are practically non-existent) and then suddenly full eyebrows were the standard. It was then that I realized beauty standards change over time. My body can’t and won’t fit all those standards. I might as well accept, appreciate and work what I’ve got going on. It’ll probably circle back around at some point -even if I’ll be an old woman then!😆

      All this to say, I’m sorry for skinny women who are made to feel undesirable or not beautiful. In the wake of an era where anything other than skinny was considered not beautiful the pendulum swung in another direction to correct this and celebrate another body type and it’s kinda been leaning away from that. I’m really hoping we come to a place where we embrace and promote health overall, include, accept and promote all of our body types and our obtaining the maximum fitness for them.

      I think that’s going to have to come from us women though. The fashion industry, film, music videos et. al. are not as concerned with our mental and physical well-beings as they are their own bank accounts. We have to look ahead and back for women coming behind us, lessons to be learned from the past that help us encourage and support the dignity, strength and beauty of women as part of humanity. I know this may not be a viewpoint shared by many, but personally, I think that means acknowledging, embracing and celebrating the ways we are different from and complement men and how that betters our world as opposed to always claiming we are exactly like and “anything they can do, I can do”. I realize it gets tricky because we aren’t treated equally but I think the problem is for far too long men have seen us as a lesser version of themselves and weaker humanity instead of distinctive but equal fellow humans with the potential to enrich their lives because of what we bring to the table that IS different from them. (Think: how Hilary might be handling global and social justice issues differently than current POTUS e.g.) Just my 15 cents!

  9. Eliza says:

    She went from skinny-fragile to skinny-fit, both still the paramount of Hollywood ideals for beauty. I get she’s trying to say she’s now happy in her skin, but why do people feel the need to use absolutes? Its her experience, not global. Skinny-fit is the only right shape? For all? Pffff.

    • Hella says:

      Exactly. How she is not still “stick skinny” here is a mystery to me. If this is a healthy, fit normal she is trying to shill, I pass. Would never ever achieve it. Thanks, Alison, for making us feel like shit still and always about not being as amazingly thin as you.

      • AnneC says:

        Get back to me after you’ve had a few kids and gone through menopause. That picture on the cover borders on Maxim cover girl look. Please. Enough with the female empowerment through working out constantly and probably barely eating.

  10. ell says:

    i also prefer to feel and look strong, and i love weight training. it works for me mostly because i hate everything else; all cardio bores me apart for dancing.

    but i think we should accept that women have different body types and they can all be beautiful in their own way. after all we accept men looking all different from each other, some are slim and tall, others bulkier, others fat etc. why can’t we look at women the same way?

  11. Ann says:

    Eh, i’m Sick of seeing half naked actresses in the “strong women” poses. Can’t they be strong while being fully clothed, much like their male colleagues?

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      In the context of a women’s health (fitness and nutrition? ) magazine it seems ok especially to show musculature.

      Always glad to hear women talk about lifting weights and getting stronger at any level and any body type.

    • Amy says:

      Totally agree with you, Ann!

  12. Electric Tuba says:

    I don’t listen to people who married into the Franco family. Clearly you give no effs if that was a sound decision. Also tired of hearing wealthy people talk about giving no cares

  13. Becki says:

    More women need to weight train!! I love it & have done two bodybuilding competitions. I agree that strong is beautiful & that muscles make women sexy!! Yeah girl, get it!!

  14. smee says:

    Did she do something to her face or is it just that she toned up, lost her baby fat….? I used to think she was really buxom (in Community especially). In any case – good for her. She’s having her moment. She’s a good actress and I think she makes a nice couple with that Franco brother. I’m not crazy about the wavy shag haircut, but she looks great and seems like a nice person.

  15. Ginger says:

    She looks great, but her boobs are completely gone! She had such a gorgeous curvy figure on Mad Men.

  16. Ankhel says:

    I’m mystified by her words, because I’ve seen several episodes of Glow, and she’s really tiny in every sense, even compared to the other actresses on the show. Good for her if she feels well, but she IS skinny IMO.

    • Domino says:

      Yes, this. The body dysmorphia statement plus her statement she is not thin now is ringing alarm bells for me as I had an eating disorder and I never felt I was that thin either (despite having lost my boobs)? I don’t know, I should probably not comment because that was just my experience/mindset, but I have seen her in person and even during her mad men/community days she was petite.

  17. Jag says:

    She’s an advocate for body positivity, but yet she’s body shaming skinny women? Those two things don’t go together.

    When will some women stop shaming other women? There are naturally skinny women, just as there are natural body types of all sizes. We all are worthy and we all are beautiful.

    Had she said that she prefers her own body to be strong, I wouldn’t have a problem with what she said. I prefer my body strong, toned, and less heavy than I am now. My body weight literally doubled when I was illegally fired from my job and lost my health insurance, so had to stop taking my thyroid booster and could no longer afford my pain medication so I could no longer exercise. I’ve lost 35 pounds of the 130 that I gained, but it’s a slow process since I can’t exercise due to the pain it causes me.

    But I would never shame a woman who weighs as much as I do now, nor would I shame someone who is 127 pounds like I was. My best friend back then was a size 00 and she could have probably fit both legs into one leg of my size 10 jeans; I loved her just as much as I would have were she larger and/or heavier. All sizes matter.

  18. Geekychick says:

    eh. I love Community. I love Alison Brie. I wouldn’t recognize her if her name wasn’t written in the title. I honestly don’t know and don’t want to be mean and guess why that is.
    as I said, I love Alison Brie and that’s why I hope this isn’t just one more step in Hollywood-ization of her. Because the change in her looks, shape and overall image…because if I didn’t know about Brie from Community, I’d say they are just repackaging her and I don’t like it one bit.

  19. HoustonGrl says:

    Um…yeah ok, but SHE’s stick thin, has breast implants and an obvious nose job. Not to mention she looks totally different than her early mad men days. Sorry, but she’s cancelled on the body positive stuff as far as I’m concerned. You don’t change everything about yourself to fit the MALE Hollywood prototype of attractiveness and then roll out a body positive campaign.

  20. Sadie Marie says:

    I loved her on Community but I hope she isn’t becoming one of those smug, tanned cross fit types. Working out can make you feel great and I absolutely agree women who workout need to do more strength training and not just focus on the weight loss, but I recently had health issues where I lost all my muscle mass. Now I am lucky if I can get a good 30 min walk in my day. That is on top of being a full time working mom, metabolism is slowing, etc. It’s hard for me because I feel like I will never look “cut” again. Not sure where I am going with this other than to point out that working out doesn’t solve all your body image issues.

  21. Raina says:

    She looks good. But make no mistake about it…she gives plenty of fukks