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Jessie Cave, who played Lavender Brown in the “Harry Potter” movie series, has opened up about her struggles with body image pressure while filming “Deathly Hallows.”
The actress-turned-author, who beat out over 7,000 people to claim the role of Lavender, told the Independent that she received harsh pushback after gaining weight in between finishing 2009’s “The Half-Blood Prince” and shooting “Deathly Hallows” Parts One and Two in 2010.
“I was treated like a different species. It was horrible,” the 34-year-old said. “It was probably more me and my insecurity, knowing that I wasn’t fitting into the same size jeans, but it wasn’t a time where actresses were any bigger than a size eight. And in the previous film I had been, and now I was a size 12. So that was horrible. It was a really uncomfortable experience.”
Cave’s character in “The Half-Blood Prince” falls in love with Rupert Grint’s Ron Weasley, and the two engage in a touchy and intimate relationship. But when Ron reveals his love for Hermione, Lavender’s heart is shattered.
Cave returned as Lavender in the final two “Harry Potter” installments in smaller roles. Because of all the attention she attracted from her role, she felt as though a bright light shone on her and exposed her weight gain.
“But you get a bit bigger, or you’re not as relevant, and it goes off, and you have to make your way in the dark,” she told the UK outlet. “I definitely felt invisible when I gained a little bit of weight.”
“And since then, it’s made me have weird issues with weight and work,” she added. “And it’s so f–ked up, but it’s just how it is. Women have to deal with that all the time.”
According to Cave, Rachel, Monica and Phoebe from “Friends” acted as guides for how she should look. She didn’t know then, however, that Jennifer Aniston, was told to lose 30 pounds to get the role. Lisa Kudrow later admitted she made herself sick from dieting since she felt like a “mountain of a girl” next to her co-stars.
“They were minuscule,” she said. “They were so thin. And for years I put it down to, ‘Oh they must be naturally small, they’re just lucky.’ And now it’s obvious that they were just so starved.”
Cave recently published her debut novel “Sunset” in June that was born from her grief following the death of her brother Ben.
She said that despite impostor syndrome and years of rejections, gaining weight has led her on her current career path. She gained resilience through carving out a place in an industry that had caused her pain and insecurity.
Cave featured in movies and TV shows such as the 2014 movie “Pride,” the 2018 movie “Benjamin,” and an episode of “Black Mirror.”
“If I’d stayed thin — unnaturally thin, unhappily thin — I would have probably got more acting roles, and then I wouldn’t have started writing,” she said. “And then I don’t know who I would be now because writing is who I am. I’m almost grateful that I gained all that weight.”
The author-actress also made headlines in January when she announced that her 3-month-old baby boy was hospitalized with COVID-19. In 2020, she re-entered the public eye by revealing she was raped by a tennis coach when she was 14 years old.
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