Kate Winslet praises young stars' stand against fat shaming after 'borderline abuse' early in career

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Kate Winslet has praised young actresses for fighting back against damaging body stereotypes as she opened up about enduring criticism over her appearance throughout her career.

During her interview on NBC’s The Today Show on Monday, host Hoda Kotb hailed the Oscar winner as a “champion for women”.

Ms Kotb added: “But your journey wasn't always paved that way, similar to many young actresses.”

Winslet replied: “It's really interesting how much it has changed. And I think about the moments I did have to kind of say, 'Well look, I'm going to be myself. And I have curves. And this is who I am.’''

Winslet added that "fat-shaming" used to be widespread "back in the day", but she's glad to see attitudes in the industry evolving.

She said: “That has changed. And it's changed because young women now, they're born with a voice. They have a voice, they're learning how to hang on to it, they stand up for themselves.

“They know that they matter. They count for something. They're great together.

“It's an exciting time, I think, for younger actresses to be coming into an industry like this one, which is huge. But to feel held, supported, nurtured, it's changed so much. It's wonderful.”

The British star previously spoke about the bodyshaming she experienced around the time that she shot to fame 1997’s Titanic.

She recalled being told she would be cast in “fat girl” roles while she was a student.

“It can be extremely negative,” she told the Sunday Times in 2021. “People are subject to scrutiny that is more than a young, vulnerable person can cope with.”

“But in the film industry it is really changing.

“When I was younger my agent would get calls saying, 'How's her weight?' I kid you not. So it's heartwarming that this has started to change.”

Winslet pictured on the Today Show in the US (NBC)
Winslet pictured on the Today Show in the US (NBC)

The following year, Winslet spoke about body criticism she experienced around the time that she starred in the James Cameron blockbuster, specifically after her scene on the door in the water with Leonardo DiCaprio's Jack.

“Why were they so mean to me? They were so mean. I wasn’t even f***ing fat,” she said on an episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast.

Looking back on the experience, Winslet described what she would have wanted to say to her critics and said how the criticism was “borderline abusive”.

She said: “I would have responded. I would have said: ‘Don’t you dare treat me like this. I’m a young woman, my body is changing, I’m figuring it out, I’m deeply insecure, I’m terrified, don’t make this any harder than it already is.’

“That’s bullying, you know, and actually borderline abusive, I would say.”