In her latest film, Dumplin’, Jennifer Aniston tackles a whole new can of worms in her role as a former beauty queen whose plus-size daughter signs up for her mum’s Texan pageant as a protest.
Despite hilarious moments shared on set with Australian actress Danielle Macdonald, 27 (of Patti Cake fame), Aniston, 49, in an exclusive interview with WHO, takes time to reflect on her relationship with her own mother, Nancy Dow, and how it has hindered the course of her life.
Dumplin’ includes a complex relationship between mother and daughter, and looks at what kids do to get their parents attention. Can you relate?
One of the main reasons I wanted to play Rosie was because this was a similar relationship in a way to my mother and so it really resonated. It was really about this little girl wanting to be seen and wanting to be loved and a mum who was too occupied with just the things that didn’t quite matter but she didn’t really know any better.
Then they take this journey together and rediscover each other. Willowdean [played by Macdonald] has resentment towards her mum and the pageants and what that all means and what it looks like and I’m sure the pageant girls had their idea of who they thought little dumplin’ was and what she looked like.
At the end of this movie you realise that all of these people, no matter what shapes or sizes or whatever they look like, they have so much more in common than they probably ever really understood. So it’s only by actually leaning into each other that they get to find themselves.
Did you go through a pageant phase?
Me? Hell no!
You never fantasised about that as a kid?
No, I could barely walk a straight line and not fall on my behind!
Did you ever get over that experience growing up with a disapproving or neglectful parent?
You have to. And it takes a lot of therapy, but you do absolutely get over it. That was her projection. It had nothing to do with me. What do you think about beauty pageants? Oh, I don’t think it’s great at all, especially for younger children. I don’t think people should be judged for their outsides. I don’t love that world and I find it quite disturbing, in a way, what they are striving for.
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