7 Plus-Size Black Actresses Who Could (And Should) Be Cast as Love Interests
Despite popular opinion, Hollywood has options
If art imitates life, then film is missing one major existential component because, using movies as evidence, one would have "to believe that no one is ever in love with—or attracted to—an overweight, black woman," according to a recent report from Jezebel. They're rarely, if ever, cast in lead romantic roles or as love interests.
So are plus-size women waiving the auditions altogether, or are moviemakers ignoring them in fear audiences won't be interested?
Farrah Parker, a Los Angeles-based image consultant, believes it's the latter, but also believes there's an opportunity to influence execs.
"Hollywood executives operate from a 'bottom line' financial perspective," Parker said. "If a studio head fears a non-traditional actress is too big of a risk, then they're less likely to venture outside of the traditional standards of beauty. And, unfortunately, our society has linear definitions of beauty which excludes 'full figured.' The industry will only change if those behind the scenes recognize American culture's varying landscape. Advocates must provide concrete statistics that show that plus-size women compose a significant audience segment. If plus-size women are watching, then advertisers are listening. If advertisers are listening, then studio execs are more likely to take casting risks."
Having experienced the unfortunate reality of never being "called in to play someone's love interest," actress Erica Watson—also a writer, pop culture pundit, and stand-up comedian with a one-woman show titled "Fat Bitch!"—still keeps faith that audiences would flock to see a film starring women like her.
"Casting directors have to be willing to think outside of the box that puts plus-sized black women in [the role of] either the asexual mammy or the 'tell it like it is' sassy sidekick because, in real life, I am the leading lady," said Watson. "And, even though Hollywood refuses to have a woman that looks like me as a romantic lead in film or TV projects, behind closed doors, many men—of all races—find plus-size women attractive. I date, I have sex (lots of it), and I have a very fulfilled life. Is America ready to see this? I think that they are, but it starts with the writers [who] have to take a chance. If you write it, they will come."