Romola Garai reveals the brutal misogyny and body-shaming on the set of the critically panned “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”.
Garai, 17 at the time, starred as Katey Miller in the 2004 prequel to the 1987 hit dance drama starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. The movie was a critical flop, but no critic’s words could be as harsh as those of the film’s producers, Garai told The Observer.
The British actress reflects on one instance when a female producer told the then-teenager that her thighs weren’t “good enough.” Garai claims she was weighed every day by a dietitian, whose job it was to keep the star’s weight down.
“It screwed me up for years,” she explains. “Not only did it completely change how I felt about my body, but I felt like I’d failed because I hadn’t fought back. I felt complicit, because I didn’t say no. I signed off on Photoshopped images and felt terrible for perpetrating this… lie.”
“Someone said the only thing that was convincing in the whole film was the look of pure misery in my eyes,” she adds.
After filming wrapped with co-star Diego Luna, Garai had a “feminist epiphany” and returned to university. Since then, she has turned to non-Hollywood projects, including the new British drama “Born to Kill”.
“I did a bit of modelling when I was a teenager and, even then, nobody asked me to lose weight,” she reveals. “It’s different with film, because it’s not about weight, it’s about control. It’s an industry with a clear agenda of ensuring women’s relationships with their reflection on screen make them feel inadequate.
“I never went back to Hollywood again.”