Casey Wilson: As an actress, I’ve been told to be thinner

Casey Wilson is hosting/narrating a new podcast called Fed Up. It’s about the feud over the F-Factor Diet. Apparently the creator of the high-fiber diet sued an Instagram influencer for defamation and drama ensued. As part of the lead-up to the podcast, Casey had an exclusive with People in which she discussed her experiences with dieting throughout her life and career. As other actresses have shared, Casey has been told that she needs to be thinner.

Casey Wilson admits that she used to dabble in diet culture.

The Saturday Night Live alum, 41, told PEOPLE about her experiences with diet fads and Hollywood’s body standards as related to her narrating gig on Fed Up, a Wondery podcast that explores the feud that grew out of the F-Factor Diet.

“Back in college, I remember one time, my mom and I went to Weight Watchers and they were doing something that really did make me laugh,” she recalls. “It was right before Thanksgiving and they were doing a ‘dry run’ of Thanksgiving.

“So, they gave everyone paper plates and they had us pretend to get up, physically get up, and go to a buffet and put fake foods on our plates and eat. I was just looking around at all the lovely women and poor souls, all of us, that were sitting there. And I’m like, ‘This is really a new low.’ Some people went back up for seconds with imaginary food. I did,” Wilson adds.

She recounts how she and her late mother Kathy Higdon, who later died of heart failure in 2005, immediately blew all their Weight Watchers points after the meeting.

“We’re literally sitting in the car, pulling out, and in the rear view mirror, we see the golden arches and we screech out of the parking lot and we have McDonald’s in under five minutes,” Wilson recounts with a laugh, adding: “So many points, so many points.”

Although she admits to enjoying the lifestyle-tracking app Noom, Wilson has mostly abandoned food restriction. “I’ve done a lot of diets in my day. I’m happy and luckily I’m in a place now where I don’t really get up to them much,” she says.

But the Shrink Next Door admits that she has felt Hollywood’s pressure in the past.

“Certainly, as an actress, I’ve had my own run-ins with ‘needing’ or being told to be thinner,” Wilson said.

“It certainly affected me, but I’ve actually tried to kind of maintain a healthy sense of self within this business, which I think has been hard,” she adds. “I’ve just done therapy and I’m in comedy. So I try to just kind of let it roll off and just do what makes me feel good in my own skin.”

[From People]

Casey doesn’t say when she was told to be thinner, but I think we all wish Hollywood would just stop telling actresses that. It’s clearly so damaging to them and to audiences that buy into the unrealistic standard of beauty. I was wondering if things would shift during covid — more downtime between projects, more important things to worry about — but it doesn’t seem like that. It’s good that Casey is able to let stuff like that slide now and doesn’t really engage in diet culture anymore. (She says she doesn’t restrict food anymore, but I think they all probably do to an extent.) That Weight Watchers Thanksgiving simulation story she retells sounds brutal. I get not wanting to eat until you’re sick on a holiday, but to do a dry-run of Thanksgiving with an empty plates and a fake buffet in front of a bunch of strangers sounds depressing and unnecessarily punishing.

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Photos credit: Cover Images, Getty and via Instagram

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

34 Responses to “Casey Wilson: As an actress, I’ve been told to be thinner”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. Hootenannie says:

    I first saw Casey in the show Happy Endings (if you haven’t seen it, you should absolutely watch) sometime in the last 5-10 years.

    I remember thinking at the time that she was the “chubby one” compared to the other actresses. I rewatched an episode a few weeks ago and was stunned. She wasn’t chubby, she wasn’t even average, she was thin. We still have a long way to go with body positivity/acceptance, but we are still so much better than we were before. Remember the Jessica Simpson photos? Our perception was so ridiculously skewed.

    • Amanda says:

      Happy Endings was ah-mah-zing! So bummed when they cancelled it…

      • sunny says:

        Casey is absolutely hilarious! She is wonderful in Happy Endings. I loved that show so much and was sad when it didn’t find much of an audience when it aired. The whole cast is terrific.

    • Bookie says:

      I just re-watched Happy Endings for the third time. It is a great show. One of my favorite sitcom ensembles of all time.

      If you haven’t seen Black Monday yet, she’s great in that too.

    • DeltaJuliet says:

      I mean, everyone looks big next to Eliza Coupe.

      I LOVED Happy Endings. Such a funny show.

    • FilmTurtle says:

      If I remember the right show, the gay character was supposed to be a schlubby guy, when in reality he was a completely normal weight. I saw an interview where he said he was considered “Hollywood fat” and how that affected him negatively.

    • Erinn says:


  2. Emmi says:

    Do they just tell every woman to lose weight? Probably. It’s disgusting. I recently went on vacation and we did the WB Studio Tour in LA. They have tons of costumes on display and the two that shocked me the most were Kaley Cuoco’s from The Flight Attendant and Ingrid Bergman’s iconic skirt suit from Casablanca. They were so so tiny. And I caught myself thinking that Kaley looks slim but not skinny on screen. She must be super small.

    I’m glad Casey stopped dieting. I only recently did and I feel great. I just don’t care anymore if someone thinks my size 10-14 ass is too big. And these clothing companies are on crack. I’m 3 sizes at once.

    • Kirsten says:

      I don’t think most people realize how petite and how thin most actresses are. It’s WAY smaller than what would be considered normal skinny.

    • Both Sides Now says:

      @ Emmi, I would have loved that tour but the discovery of how thin these woman were/are is upsetting. It’s a never ending cycle of people in Hollywood, as well as the general public scrutinize women on a daily basis.

      I have seen heavier women in stores and they get looks that are purely hateful as well as degrading. I have always wanted to walk up to them and hug them. It’s not acceptable for women to be treated this way.

      • Emmi says:

        It was a moment. I realized that whatever we see on screen is distorted to the max and has nothing to do with my day-to-day reality or average sizes. When I was younger I used to think “One day I will look like that” and now I realize LOL no girl, that’s like 5 dress sizes down. You won’t. And it’s fine.

        The tour was pretty cool, I can recommend it. Total tourist trap of course but the costumes alone were worth it.

      • Becks1 says:

        There was a post on here a few weeks ago (maybe about Julianne Moore?) and people commented with celebs they’ve seen IRL and how tiny they actually are, even ones that you don’t think of as necessarily being uber thin. I’ve never seen a famous actress or anyone like that IRL so I don’t know.

      • Emmi says:

        @Becks1: Yes I remember that, I possibly commented on it I think? Great comments on that one. Now when I watch shows and someone looks particularly thin, I think my god, HOW do they look IRL? It’s such a destructive industry. Those costumes floored me.

    • Hello Kitty says:

      I’ve seen quite a few. Jessica Simpson in her Dukes of Hazard era actually looked like a 13 year old in person. I’ve seen Topanga from Boy Meets World in person, and she’s quite small in person. Drew Barrymore is very normal looking in person.

  3. Mama says:

    I saw a woman on Tik Tok post about clothes. She kept saying, “I am larger.” and people admonished her for it. However, she went on to talk about she works in television/movies and she has been told to lose weight on a regular basis. And it isn’t ever 100% directly. It is “Oh it is too bad you’re not smaller.” or when getting fitted by costuming. It is really sad.

    • Juniper says:

      I think I saw the same one. She’s large by Hollywood standards and casting directors always berate her for it. I can’t recall her name. Is she blonde?

  4. Melissa says:

    Her recent book “the Wreckage of my Presence” talks about her first mentor pushing her to go on a diet. She talks about her relationship with food throughout (it’s not diet/food focused at all though). Very funny book of stories, would recommend!

  5. Karen says:

    Her participation with Noom is a pretty healthy approach, as these things go. I use to have a friend who worked for them…she started when they were a smaller operation. She applied to be a coach and the interview and training process was a grueling six months. The minimum requirement was a Master’s degree in a related field (nutrition, health, mental health) she had a Masters of Social Work and was a clinical social worker by training. There was nutrition and cognitive behavior therapy training and tests she had to pass. Eventually she was promoted to a mental health team dealing with crises. If a coach thought a person had a severe eating disorder, severe depression or other mental health issues, or expressing thoughts of suicide, it would get bumped to her team for intervention. Usually it just meant giving the person targeted information and resources but in rare, worse-case-scenario situations, they could call the police for welfare checks if they had the person’s address. I have no idea if they are able to still do things like that now that they have millions of members but at least that’s the culture they had…the emphasis on physical and mental health, not strict dieting or dramatic weight loss. Hopefully that is still the case.

    • Both Sides Now says:

      @ Karen, it sounds like Noom is dedicated to combat all of the issues regarding weight, including the ridicule that women face with regards to their weight. I am glad that they have these multifaceted views in helping people with their weight.

      I am often curious if men get the same treatment of women reading weight. Not only in the general public, but Hollywood as well. I think of Jim Candy, and those like him who seem to have been accepted with regards to their weight, with no criticism at all. I believe that Hollywood still gives a general pass to all men, no matter their body size or how despicable of a person they are as well.

    • FHMom says:

      I know two people who did Noom. One of them lost a lot of weight and had only good things to say about it. The other lost maybe 7 or 8 pounds but was hoping to lose 20. The thing that bothered me about it is that they expect you to weigh yourself EVERYDAY. I think that is a terrible idea. Damaging, actually. If I were dieting faithfully and gained a pound because of salt or hormones, bloating, faulty scale, etc, it would push me over the edge. Maybe, that’s just me, but I don’t think so.

      • Karen says:

        There is data that suggests weighing daily results in sustained motivation and greater long-term weight loss. However, those studies excluded people with eating and other mental health disorders in their samples. I think you’re right that it can be damaging for many with eating disorders and disordered eating patterns (not meeting clinical criteria for eating disorders). And I think a large majority of us who struggle with our weight have developed at least a few disordered eating habits. That being said, it can be effective and some people thrive with that kind of structure, but maybe they should make it suggested but optional or present other viewpoints or options. Maybe choose your own frequency…daily, weekly, monthly, etc.

      • FHMom says:

        I suffered with bulimia for about 15 years, so you would be correct. I also agree that anyone who has dieted frequently has some disordered eating habits

    • Becks1 says:

      I have tried Noom twice and have never lost a pound on it. I think it can be good if you are just starting out and are trying to establish good habits, but I hated having foods categorized as good or bad (well they say “green” or “red” but it felt like the same thing in my mind) and my coach would say things like “try eating fewer red foods this week!” as my weekly “tip” and I was like…..yeah, no sh!t lol. And it was $$$$. so I stopped it and am just back to MFP again. (I only want to lose like 10ish pounds but its been really hard, I am kind of wondering if my body is just the weight it wants to be and this is it.)

      Weighing in every day is supposed to be about “exposure” and helping you to just see the scale as a scale, not as something bad or whatever, but i was not a fan. So as someone who is pretty active already, drinks a lot of water, and roughly makes good eating choices (sue me, I love bagels in the AMs), Noom wasn’t really that helpful. If you need motivation to move more or to commit to water over soda or iced tea or whatever, then I think it could be more helpful.

      • moltovino says:

        I tried Noom once and as soon as they told me my calorie allotment for the day was 1200, I noped-out. That’s not enough, I know my body. I fail at most diets – having to focus so hard on my food intake puts me in a really bad head space.

      • Anners says:

        Moltovino – you weren’t looking for suggestions, but I recently tried the Gina Livy Method (it’s different from anything I’ve ever tried – no calorie counting, eat to satisfaction, but def need to cut out/down on sugar/bread/pasta and drink so.much.water). Her premise is that calorie-restricted diets will always fail because you are essentially confirming to your body that you needed those fat stores (famine/calorie restriction) and the moment you stop eating that way, your body will put on more fat because it loves you and wants to keep you alive. I didn’t lose that much (about 20 lbs in 3 months – I have a lot more to go), but I have more energy than I ever have had, as well as a greater appreciation for my body. She’s kind of intense, but you can listen to her podcasts for free to get an idea of what she’s like. ***but that said, I honestly feel like no one should be under any obligation to feel they need to lose weight – bodies exist to help you experience the world. You don’t owe anyone thinness or health**

      • Granger says:

        Gina Livy is another version of the high-protein diet. Cutting out sugar and white flour is awesome (and will always result in feeling more energetic!), but she wants you to cut all carbs in general — you can’t have whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, brown rice, even certain carb-heavy veggies are off limits, etc.

    • Lemon says:

      I think Noom is really unhealthy for the reasons others have stated: labeling foods as green/red therefore moralizing them, low calorie allotments, and hell the use of CBT to train yourself to diet. Those are good pathways to get an ED if you don’t have one.

      More evidence coming out that dieting leads to weight gain in the long run. Noom claims leaves that bit of evidence out of their evidence based plan and claims to not be a diet, but looks/act/smells like a diet. If people start ditching diets there’s no weight loss to sell anymore!

  6. amyb says:

    After two kids I wanted to get back a weight I felt comfortable at and I joined Weight Watchers. I lost 30 pounds. And I’ve kept them off for the past eight years. However I can 100% attest that Weight Watchers does things like practice sessions for Thanksgiving. They also make you weigh yourself at the start of every meeting. Now is the program the result of people being too focused on their size and weight, yes. Is it a program that helps people lose weight who want to lose weight. For me it was.

  7. girl_ninja says:

    The pressure on women is all too much. It’s so unfair and so many of us women perpetuate and uphold this unfair and unrealistic standard. Why are so many women parroting what men have demanded and made the standard for so many years? This is part of what needs to be dismantled when we talk about the patriarchy.

    Casey by the way is so talented and I wish she was on screen more.

  8. Murphy says:

    Yes WW does that Thanksgiving prep meeting, it’s actually one of their more popular ones!

    I love Casey so much, I can’t wait until Bitch Sesh goes on the road again (please please please!)

    • Kate says:

      It seems like of course you are going to walk out of a meeting where you’re pretending to eat and go immediately get food – I mean we are all Pavlov’s dogs right? When I was in ED recovery my coach suggested I do a Thanksgiving prep too except with actual food so I could enjoy stuffing and potatoes and my favorite parts of the meal beforehand and not get stuck in the mentality that this is the one day a year I get to eat this food and end up overeating. That was far more effective than whatever the hell this dry run thing is.

  9. Isabella says:

    There are young actresses who are uber-skinny and everybody raves about their bodies and how fashionable they look. Years later, we may discover how they got to be so slim and what the pressures on them were.

  10. jferber says:

    I absolutely LOVE her in the last three pics, the dark blue dress, the beige and black dress (giving 1940’s glamour) and her eating sushi in the blue sweater. Cool, pretty woman. And yes, they absolutely told her to lose probably about 50 to 60 pounds. I truly believe this. They want women to be stick figures, easily erasable and replaceable.