Embracing Melissa McCarthy
As I’ve been doing press for my book, Finding Mr.Righteous, a frequent question I get is “Who will play you in the movie?”
The book is about dating men of different religions and how they influence my own religious journey. A lot of women identify with my foray into internet dating, guys who aren’t quite single, guys who aren’t quite interested in you, and my insecurities with my weight.
So, when someone would ask who would play me in the movie, Finding Mr.Righteous, I would jokingly say, “I’d like Jennifer Lawrence to play me, though some might say it should be Melissa McCarthy.”
Or I’d say something like, “Ugh, don’t say Melissa McCarthy!”
It was my way of acknowledging that I don’t really think I look like Jennifer Lawrence and that I knew Melissa McCarthy might be the obvious answer.
The truth is I really love Melissa McCarthy. I first saw her in Bridesmaids and grew to love her even more when I saw her on Saturday Night Live and Mike and Molly. I also love her sense of humor and style in interviews. One day I came across this article and this photo.
I immediately felt ashamed for my past comments, even the ones in jest. Melissa McCarthy is beautiful. Not in spite of her size or weight. Just beautiful. My comments in interviews said more about what I thought about myself than about her. What I thought was innocent self-deprecation was really a reinforcement of all the qualified phrases I’ve been hearing all my life.
“You have such a pretty face.”
“You’ll be so hot when you reach your goal weight.”
“Looks don’t matter to me.” [From someone you're dating]
“I like your outfit. It’s very slimming!”
They’re all meant to be compliments and maybe they are sincerely are, but the qualifiers ruin them. From an interview McCarthy did with People magazine:
She also addressed a recent article that referenced her as “America’s plus-size sweetheart.”
“It’s like I’m managing to achieve all this success in spite of my affliction,” McCarthy said. “Would you ever put that in the headline for a male star?”
Yet, despite hearing similar qualified compliments all my life, I was guilty of the same when I didn’t embrace the physical resemblance between me and Melissa McCarthy. She has a show on a major network, has been in several hit movies, and is the leading lady in a movie that just opened this weekend. She is a success by any measure.
It might be a longshot that Finding Mr.Righteous is ever made into a movie, but I’ll still dream. The next time someone asks who should play me, I won’t hesitate.
“Melissa McCarthy would be perfect,” I’ll say, confidently.
I would be honored to have a beautiful, successful, charming actress like Melissa McCarthy tell my story on the big screen. And I’m sure she’ll look great with bangs.