Aidy Bryant Opens Up on Accepting Herself and Becoming a Body-Positive Activist: 'Representation Does Matter'
By Liz Calvario
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Aidy Bryant is opening up about her past struggles with her weight and how her life changed once she stopped focusing on being skinny.
In a new interview with The Cut released on Monday, the Saturday Night Live comedian revealed that she spent most of her teenage years dieting and hoping to shed the pounds.
"I was spending so much energy on something that really, no matter what I did, wasn’t changing," Bryant expressed. "And I truly got to a breaking point. I was like, 'How much longer can I do this? Can I do this for the rest of my life?'"
"I finally was like, 'What if I put all of that energy into just trying to like myself and focus on the things I actually want to do as opposed to this thing that’s like a made-up concept?' And I’m not kidding, my entire life changed after I did that," she continues. "Within two years, I was hired by Second City; two years later I was hired by SNL. I stopped letting it be an all-day, everyday thing that defined everything that I did. And it worked."
While Bryant has had a booming career since joining SNL in 2012, she once again felt aware of her size when she had to do magazine photo shoots with her co-stars. The comedian recalls a shoot with Kate McKinnon and Cecily Strong where she had to wear her own clothes because the stylists didn’t have more options for her.
"It was just humiliating. The other girls had racks of clothes to choose from and were wearing these thousand-dollar dresses, and I had two sacks or like one matronly mother-of-the-bride dress," she shares. "Those were the first times where I was like, 'Something is different here and this isn’t fair. This is a f**ked-up situation, and it’s purely because of my body. Not because I’m less funny -- it’s my body. It’s the only reason that I’m treated differently right now.' And it lit a f**king fire in me."
Now, Bryant works with designers to custom-make most of her clothes and is creating a clothing line for women size 12-24.
"I didn’t try to get on SNL to be a body-positivity activist, but apparently just being there makes you one, she expresses. "It’s this weird kind of thing where you’re like, I guess I kind of am. It’s literally just not what I came here to do."
"It sounds so corny now, but representation does f**cking matter. And I remember how, as a child I was obsessed with Rosie O’Donnell even though that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but I was like, 'Oh my god, someone who’s a little bit like me on TV,'" she adds.