Why I FEEL PRETTY Is A Movie Every Woman Needs to See
I FEEL PRETTY is officially out in theaters today and it is a film that you, your mom, sister, aunt, cousin, best friend and every female you’ve ever met should go see.
I had the chance to go see an early screening of I FEEL PRETTY by STXfilms earlier this week. If you’ve been following the film, you know that it had some initial bad press because people assumed this would just be another film promoting “it’s what’s on the inside that counts!” Some even compared it to Shallow Hal. Those reviews and judgments couldn’t be further from the truth.
I FEEL PRETTY is the story of Renee Bennett (Amy Schumer) a closet beauty junkie stuck in a tiny office for the online division of the luxury cosmetic behemoth Lilly LeClair. She struggles with deep insecurities surrounding her appearance and low self-esteem that she constantly let’s hold her back from her dreams. It’s not until a fateful bump on the head (more like devastatingly embarrassing train wreck of an altercation with a SoulCycle bike) changed everything.
Renee awakes to find the shock of a lifetime: she looks in the mirror and sees herself as beautiful. She can officially say I FEEL PRETTY. Little does she realize that her appearance, in fact, hasn’t changed a bit.
I’m not going to ruin the story for you, but in short Renee finally let go of her insecurities and embraces her confidence, lands her dream job and her dream man, but most importantly she finally realizes that she is beautiful just the way she is.
I walked out of I FEEL PRETTY more confident and hopeful for true change in the way women view themselves. It is rare to find a film that not only makes you laugh the entire time, but that you relate to on such a deep level. Everyone woman, regardless of your size, age, or outward appearance, can relate to Renee Bennett’s story. I’ve spoken before about how changing our perception of ourselves, setting an intention to say positive affirmations when we look in that mirror, and practicing self-love in more ways than just appreciating the look of our bodies is how we can finally stop letting our insecurities hold us back from living our best life. I FEEL PRETTY encompasses all of these values and is truly the body positive film our society needs right now. It will make you want to embrace yourself for exactly who you are.
I FEEL PRETTY also stars Aidy Bryant (one of my favorite SNL comedians and celebrity Bravo-fan!) and Busy Phillips as Renee’s best friends. Four-time Oscar® nominee Michelle Williams as Avery LeClair, CEO of LeClair, and Lauren Hutton as her grandmother and company founder. Rory Scovel from The House as Ethan, Renee’s boyfriend. Tom Hopper from Game of Thrones (Hey Dickon Tarly!) as Avery’s playboy brother Grant. Emily Ratajkowski as a seemingly flawless model that Renee meets at SoulCycle who shows that even the most thin and beautiful of the world have issues with self-esteem, too. There are also some amazing cameos from some of the fashion industry’s most elite, including Naomi Campbell and Olivia Culpo.
Now on to one of the most exciting moments of my blogging career thus far. After viewing the film I got to speak with none other than the leading lady herself, Amy Schumer, about her feelings on the film and why it’s positive message is so important to her. This was a phone call with five other bloggers from around the country with a range in specialties from motherhood to entertainment, fashion to travel and food. Read on to see what questions I asked Amy, along with some of those posed by other bloggers on the call.
Logan Russell (LR): “I Feel Pretty is a great example of how being confident in ourselves is the key to achieving our dreams. What’s your advice to women out there who want to feel confident, but might not know how to get there?”
Amy Schumer (AS): “Great question. My advice would be to–I have a lot of advice about this, but to first of all pay attention. Pay attention to the times where you feel your best. Like, clock it and notice it, you know, like, ‘I feel really good right now.’ You know, and for me, it’s when I’m hanging out with my friends or my family, and you’re not even thinking about what you look like and you feel so confident, and trying to carry that with you all the time. And, learning–and this is easier said than done, but, you know, as mothers, you guys are in such a unique position to really help your children love themselves, you know. You have to actually like yourself and love yourself, and I know they say if just one adult makes you feel good about yourself, that children carry that with them all the time. So, you know, I would pay attention to how you talk about yourself. I know people are really affected if their mothers are always saying, “Oh, I don’t–I hate how I look in this, I gained weight,” or something, then your child’s more likely to be critical of themselves that way. So, to be careful about how we talk about ourselves, you know, and we’re all guilty of that. And, you want your child to love themselves like they’re their own mother, you know. So, I think really loving yourself is a great way to start, and I love myself and I love myself because of who I am as a daughter and as a friend and a sister and now a wife and the work I do. And, all of that is what has helped me to be confident, and it really has nothing to do with a mirror, you know?”
LR: “That moment in the mirror really got me. Like, it was so relatable, ‘cause we’ve all been there. I mean, “ugh,” but–”
AS: “–Me, too.–”
LR: “I thought what was amazing is that it’s so rare to find a film where you can relate so deeply to it, but then also laugh so hard in it, which was really great. But, that moment in the mirror [sidenote: you will know what I’m talking about when you see the film!] reminds me of…how self-love and a positive mindset gives you that freedom to have fun with fashion and feel good about what you wear. And, I feel like Renee went through that transformation…her outfits got more bold, they got more fun! You could tell she was feeling herself. Did you have a favorite outfit in the film? And, did you have a hand in the styling at all?”
AS: “So, fashion has been a really interesting…this is an important question for me. I used to actually really dislike fashion, and it annoyed me…it would bring out my own insecurities…trying something on in the dressing room in that lighting…until I met Leesa Evans, who did my wardrobe on the movie, and also in Trainwreck and Snatched. Lisa really showed me that I could love fashion.”
“Aidy Bryant has taught that to me as well. It’s–you know, there can be so much pain attached to shopping or dressing yourself, especially when you’re not a size two, you know. You almost get punished for going into stores. But, then once you realize, ‘These clothes don’t really fit anybody, nobody really has those, like, tiny frail mannequin shoulders.’ My stylist has done–I mean, she works on movies. She did Clueless. You know, she’s been in this business a long time. She said the only person she’s ever met who had that frame was Rose Byrne, in all of her years…”
“…She introduced me to tailoring…this is why I love working with her, ‘cause the clothes aren’t all, you know, Gucci, Prada. They’re from Forever 21 or H&M, and it’s just a little bit of tailoring and seeing, ‘Oh, I want to accentuate my waist a little more, but have some areas with a little more breathing room.’ And, we’re actually starting out own line, a really affordable and really comfortable clothing for women of all sizes, and–because I also like to be comfortable. I kind of demand to be comfortable.”
“So, we’ve made really comfortable pieces that…we’ll review in the next couple of months. But, fashion for me has taken a major turn. I can really get excited about clothes now.”
“In our first fitting, in my fitting with Lisa for Trainwreck, I cried, ‘cause I’d never had a fitting like that, where I wasn’t made to feel bad by the styling, like my body was wrong or something. And, I’ve really learned that from Aidy Bryant too. You know, the industry kind of tells you what you should wear. Like, “Here’s what you’re allowed to wear at your size,” …but then you go, you find these blogs and these other places that really celebrate women and their bodies. And, you’re like, ‘No, you guys have been lying to me. You guys have just been lazy with what you’ve been offering. And, how dare you try and minimize my experience or what I’m allowed to wear.'”
“So, it’s been, like, a very emotional arch for me, but I really love fashion now. And, in the movie I liked a lot of the outfits, you know. My favorite outfit, I think–oh, it’s tough…I think maybe being naked, you know.”
“Thank you for that and thank you for your work [as a blogger], because I really look forward to a time when it’s not magazines, it’s not like a special plus size issue or a special diversity issue. Like, can’t we just have women of color of people of different sizes without them patting themselves on the back? You know, like, “Oh, look what we’re doing for this charity.” Yeah, it’s like no, guys, this is what women look like in America. You know, you guys are…they’re starting to change. But, it’s not because they got a great moral code all of the sudden. It’s just because they want to make money, and they’ve realized that we’re spending it. And, I love–I follow so many fuller figure models on Instagram, because they make me feel great about myself…”
LR: “Yes! … There is nothing better than seeing someone that you can relate to their body and that they look–they feel good, they feel confident, and it shows you that you can be too. It’s just a change in mindset. That’s all it is.”
AS: “Exactly. It makes me feel so good about myself to see Ashley Graham just, like, cat walking down the beach, you know, or just having fun.”
LR: “Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much, and I’m so excited for your fashion line. I can’t wait to see it.”
AS: “Thank you. Yes, thank you so much.”
Here are some of the other questions asked on our call by fellow bloggers.
Christy Maurer from Christy’s Cozy Corner: “What advice would you give your ten year old self?”
AS: “First of all, I would give my ten year old self a big hug and I would say, ‘Keep going, you’re going to do great things, and the world needs you.’ So don’t listen to anybody else. When someone insults you, it’s saying more about how they feel [about themselves] than how they feel about you. I actually feel bad for bullies, because they must be so unhappy to have to go out of their way to just be unkind. So, I would just sympathize with the bullies and smile at them and smile at myself in the mirror, and say, ‘You know who you are.'”
Stefani Thomas from StefaniNicole.com: “The role of Renee, I feel like, is super relatable to women everywhere, and I think people in general that are trying to just live day to day. What is something that you learned personally from playing the role of Renee?”
AS: “Thanks for asking that. I–‘cause I learned so much. I learned how to–I’ve been pretty kind to myself. Like, I do love and like myself, but playing Renee when she has her most insulated self-confidence and ego, I learned both that it’s important to love yourself, but not to the extent that it hurts anyone else, you know? But, when I was looking in the mirror in that scene where I, you know, discover that I’m suddenly beautiful, as an actress, I wasn’t picturing someone else. I was really looking at myself and being grateful for the package I come in. I was grateful for my strong legs and arms and for being healthy and it just gave me this really grateful sense of the package that I come in, instead of searching for flaws. And, I’ve carried that with me ever since filming and I’m going to keep that with me.”
Holly Rosen from The Culture Mom: “I was wondering, what attracted you to this script? And, I’ve also read that you call this a feminist movie, and I was wondering if you could elaborate on that.”
AS: “What attracted me to the script was the message, the idea of getting out of your own way and confidence being so mental, and really letting in a love for myself and, you know, the way you want your best friends to see yourself. Well, why not extend that same love and courtesy to yourself? It’s so much easier to comfort our friends, but this movie’s really about being open to loving yourself and not looking for other people’s experiences to define yourself.”
“Everything I do, I do as a feminist, which it means that I am for the equality of women socially, economically, and politically. And, I think this movie is such a great message because it empowers women and that’s what–that’s all I want to do with this movie. I think we can’t live up to our full potentials unless we feel comfortable in our own skin. I think women really get held back with any perceived flaws they have of themselves. If there’s something we’re uncomfortable with or we’re afraid, we’re going to be insulted. I think that’s a really big part of what holds women back from speaking up, from raising your hand in class. And, I think my character, Renee, she wants to–she really does feel invisible and she doesn’t really want to be looked at at the beginning of this movie. But, once she has the confidence and gets out of her own way, she’s able to live to her full potential and become really active at work and share her ideas and her thoughts.”
“I think that feminism and women getting actual equality is essential, and we still have a lot of work to do. But, if we get out of our own way and, you know, take away the concerns of those–and the fear of somebody saying something mean to us, or all these things that we wait for somebody to say something mean. You even kind of physically put yourself through that experience. You do your own damage before anybody else actually says anything to you. So, a huge part of all the work I do is wanting women to…achieve equality, and that’s what feminism is. And, that’s what this movie’s about.”
Dwan Perrin from LifeFamilyJoy.com: “I want to kind of piggyback on the get out of your own way message. Do you have any rituals that you do to get yourself ready to take stage, for standup or in this case, for filming, that kind of helps you get out of your own way and put yourself out there?”
AS: “Great question. I meditate. I started about five or six years ago, twice a day for 20 minutes a day, meditating and really just close my eyes and breathing and shutting my phone off, just twice a day. And, that’s really helpful, because when we’re in our phones all day or we’re on the internet, you know, we have all these outside sources telling us how…that we’re not good enough so we buy their product, just to tune all of that out twice a day has been really helpful.”
“But, also, I make a real habit of looking myself in the mirror and smiling and appreciating who I am, not wanting to look any different, appreciating the package I come in today. Having those thoughts, being grateful for who I am, what I look like, everything, just being grateful for it. And, I’ve gotten a lot better about it. I used to… I’m standing there in my Spanx, I added that moment in because it’s a moment that I’ve had so frequently and that we’ve–I think we’ve all experienced. And, I don’t have those moments anymore. I was looking at myself, almost angry and disappointed. I was born looking how I look… I want to just be grateful for the package I come in, and also just, I’m in a unique position where I’ve spent a lot of time with women who are famous models or actresses. I know that they don’t feel any better about themselves than my friends who are nurses and teachers. And, having that commonality, it really shows you how much it’s all mental, and it’s just such a waste of energy. So, having all that knowledge, and just keeping that at the forefront of my mind, looking in the mirror and smiling and meditation.”
Stefani Thomas: “Last night when I saw the movie, I really, I think, enjoyed the most, looking around and seeing other people’s reaction and feeling like I was in really good company with the relatability of everything. Just watching people’s reactions and, like, it was bringing up tears for some people, it was bringing up laughter for other people… My question for you is what was your favorite scene in the movie where you feel, like, proud of that scene or what was something that touched you that you went through in filming and watching back, you’re like, ‘Wow, that really–like, that hits home with me’?”
AS: “Thank you for saying that…I sat through, you know, focus testing and then a couple different screenings and the premier. But, my favorite experience of seeing the movie, I personally organized a screening for just teenage girls, and that was, like, the gift I gave myself, because…I really want women of all ages to see this movie…But, really, I wanted to reach teenage girls.”
“To give myself the gift of getting to watch it with them and a theater filled with, you know, these girls who were 13, 14… it was so fun to watch with them. I loved–first of all, they didn’t have their phones out, and not because they were told not to. They just didn’t, which I thought was cool. And, they were really laughing along with it and these moments. You know, the scene where I almost kiss the brother, they were going, ‘No, no, no, no,’ you know, like, really participating. And, then at the end, giving the speech, they were wiping tears and, like, kind of holding each other and just, you know, you could hear a pin drop.”
“And, so I think while I filmed the movie–the scenes all–there were so many that felt really important to me…that speech at the end where I really just got to say these things that I wanted them to hear and, you know, Marc and Abby wrote this movie, but I wrote most of that speech. And, getting to see it affecting them, and then getting to, like, you know, take pictures with all them after and hanging out and talking, I could see that it had really woken something up in them that I don’t know if they’ll just have it for that night or if they’ll carry it with them ‘cause it’ll be something that continues to fuel them. But, that speech and getting to see those girls experience it is–it made it one of the best nights of my life and it’s something that I will be so proud of forever and carry with me.”
You can watch the full trailer for I FEEL PRETTY below, out in theaters today, April 20. Thank you to STXfilms for inviting me to the eary screening and facilitating the interview with Amy Schumer. To Amy Schumer: thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us and for the work you’re doing. P.S. Can we be friends? K, thx bye 😀
Images and videos in this post were provided on behalf of STXfilms. As always, thoughts and opinions are of my own.