With a career spanning more than 30 years, Patricia Arquette has seen — and heard — it all.
The actress, 51, is perhaps best known for portraying Allison DuBois, a real-life medium, on Medium. The show aired for seven seasons — from 2005 to 2011 — first on NBC and later on CBS, earning her an Emmy for her work. Apart from her performance, Patricia recalls how her weight was up for discussion.
“I had an argument with one of the producers on Medium, who told me I should lose weight. I was like, ‘This lady is a mother, she’s married, she’s got three kids. No,'” Patricia reveals in a The Hollywood Reporter roundtable. “But there’s that expectation … of looking a certain way. Like, ‘OK, you could be 40, but you’ve got to be a 40 who looks 30.'”
Recently, though, The Act star actually put on weight for a role. It was for the role of Tilly Mitchell in Escape at Dannemora — a part that snagged her a Golden Globe.
“[T]here was me gaining weight for the part and wanting her to look a certain way and feeling that that was the right choice to make but then going into the world and seeing people’s reactions,” Patricia said about going out into the real world with this appearance. “It’s like a science experiment of how your value changes in people’s eyes.”
The Oscar winner notes that people perceived her as a “matronly, dumpy, middle-aged lady” while looking like this, 40 pounds heavier than normal with prosthetic teeth. She said it was as if all anyone saw was “an invisible person” or that “you just don’t exist.”
This is certainly not the first time Patricia has been outspoken about this sort of issue. In a 2018 interview with The Telegraph, she questioned who in our society gets to feel attractive or be sexual — also discussing the likability of female characters.
“It’s a burden people put so much more often upon women — and actresses — than they do upon men,” the mother-of-two explains. “‘Is she likable? How can we make her likable? How do we make people empathize with her?’ I don’t care about that. It’s liberating to not worry about being likable.”