Melissa McCarthy Opens up About Being a Plus-Size Woman in America

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Melissa McCarthy is known to her fans as the funniest woman on the planet. After conquering both the small and big screens with unforgettable roles in Bridesmaids, The Heat, Gilmore Girls, Mike & Molly and the soon-to-be-released summer blockbuster Spy, the actress-slash-writer-slash-producer is now ready to conquer the fashion world with her own clothing line, Melissa McCarthy Seven7, set to launch in August.

In the June issue of MORE, on newsstands today, Melissa opens up about how she’s using her fame to stand up for plus-size women (her new line carries 80 pieces in sizes 4 to 28) and learning to embrace every authentic, untwisted, and real angle of herself.

On adding “clothing designer” to her resume:
“It’s pretty consuming…my problem is, I don’t hand things off very well. I just figure if it has my name on it and I want to make people feel good about wearing it, I can’t pass it off.”

On how society body-shames plus-size women:
“People don’t stop at size 12. I feel like there’s a big thing missing where you can’t dress to your mood above a certain number. [Malls] segregate plus-size [women]. It’s an odd thing that you can’t go shopping with your friends because your store is upstairs hidden by the tire section. We’ll put you gals over there because we don’t want to see you and you probably don’t want to be seen.”

“There is just this weird thing about how we perceive women in this country. I would love to be a part of breaking that down.”

On how thinking about her daughters, her gifts, and her opportunities help snap her back to reality on the bad days:
“I have caught my reflection and thought, Oof. That girl is struggling. That girl is tired. I’ve had mornings where I’m like, Oh God, I have weird hair. I look like Fraggle Rock. Why am I so puffy? What did I eat? [But] who cares if my eyes are puffy because I ate 44 almonds last night? Or my legs are short? To my core, I don’t care.”

On living the simple life:
“I know it’s not modern, but my voice mail says, ‘Please don’t leave a message.’ I don’t check email. I don’t want to be that person who has their face buried in a screen. It makes me feel bad when people do it to me. I’m like, ‘You literally have something in front of your face; I feel awkward talking to you.’”

On letting go of the pressure to be perfect:
“Pre-kids, I’d cook for 50 people. I’d have schedules, time charts. Being in my forties, I can finally relax. I’ve learned that you can order pizza and have your friends over, and it’s just as fun because nobody cares. Nobody wants to be around you if you’ve been up since 3 a.m. brining a chicken. I’ve let go of that quest for perfection.”

On her feminist philosophy:
“When I told my daughters there had never been a female president, they were like, ‘What! How is that possible?’ I have an overactive sense of justice. I want women to realize you don’t have to work for the company. You can run the company. I want the scope for them to be endless.”

On meeting her best friend, shoe designer Brian Atwood, for the first time:
“We met when I was 15 at a hotel party. Instead of trying to get drinks, I wove my way over to him and was like, ‘Can I talk to you about fabric?’”

Writer-Director Paul Feig, who directed Melissa in Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, on her on-screen appeal:
“I think everybody can relate to Melissa because she’s not intimidating, even though she plays intimidating characters. It’s almost like she’s playing a version of us where we’re like, ‘I wish I could do that!’ She’s a real person. She’s beautiful, but she’s not your standard image of the supermodel-y movie star. Plus, one of the hardest things in the world to find is people who can swear effectively in a way that’s not ugly.”

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