A slimmed-down Nia Vardalos says there's a big, fat and sexist double-standard in the entertainment industry.
The actress, who lost 40 pounds to combat a blood sugar problem, writes on Anderson Cooper's 360 blog that she's tired of seeing older, heavier, or less attractive men paired with younger, slender, sexy women on-screen, but rarely seeing the opposite dynamic. Vardalos — who describes her looks as "er, below-average" — says she is often pressed about her celluloid romances with "hottie" John Corbett in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Alexis Georgoulis in My Life in Ruins, which is currently in theaters.
"It's been years, and I have sat through many a movie like Sideways, where nobody blinks an eye when Paul Giamatti gets together with gorgeous Virginia Madsen. And, then Knocked Up....well, the visual of Seth Rogan [sic] on top of Katherine Heigl made me put the popcorn down and reach for my purse," she writes. "Not because I was grossed out but because I knew the film was about to stop and Ashton Kutcher would now jump out and go 'aha, you've been punked, that would never happen.' I waited. But no Ashton. The film went on. And many a reviewer, who probably look like sweet Seth (yes, even the women) gave it a thumbs up."
Vardalos says women perpetuate the double standard "every time we buy a magazine showing 'Stars with Cellulite.'" But she says men aren't subjected to similar scrutiny.
"Let's face it: Russell Crowe is fat and no one ever talks about it," she writes. "Alec Baldwin just orders his suits a size bigger and we continue to swoon."
Under doctor's orders, Vardalos spent a year losing weight through diet and exercise. If it weren't for her blood sugar problem, she wouldn't have done it, she says. She tells others there's no need to lose weight except for health reasons.
"I thought I was attractive when I shot My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Studio executives and movie reviewers let me know I had a confidence in my looks that was not shared by them. In other words: they labeled me with words like, overweight, unattractive, unappealing," she writes. "Hey, just say fat. I love the word fat. I used it in the title. It's actually not a naughty word. We give it a power it actually doesn't have. So, you're fat. Big deal."