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‘Yellowjackets’ Stars Defend Melanie Lynskey From Body Shaming On Set

Let Melanie Lynskey LIVE!

Melanie Lynsky as Shauna in 'Yellowjackets'

The finale of Yellowjackets airs tonight, bringing Showtime’s twisty horror series to a stunning conclusion. Yellowjackets tells the story of a New Jersey girls high school soccer team whose plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness on the way to nationals in 1996. The team survives 19 long months in the wild, where they suffered trauma both real and supernatural, that led to violence, cults, pagan worship, and (most likely) cannibalism. The show moves back and forth through time, following the girls survival story in the woods and their present day lives as middle-aged women still carrying the scars of the past.

The series has quickly garnered an ardent fan base, with Reddit pages filled with complex conspiracy theories, memes, and and a celebration of the 90s girl culture nostalgia. It’s also earned raves for its terrific cast, especially 90s icons Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Tawny Cypress, and Juliette Lewis, who play the four survivors the series centers on.

But for many fans, the series has been a long overdue showcase for beloved character actress Melanie Lynskey. Lynskey rose to fame playing a teenage murderer in Peter Jackson’s stunning 1994 film Heavenly Creatures. But as her co-star Kate Winslet went on to leading roles in films like Titanic (and the ensuing super-stardom) Lynskey carved out her own path in supporting roles in films like Ever After, Coyote Ugly, and the series Two and a Half Men.

Despite not fitting into the waifish Hollywood ideal, Lynskey has become an in-demand actress. But despite some changes in Hollywood’s treatment of women, she still encounters sexism and body-shaming, even on the set of her own series. In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Lynskey describes being body-shamed on the set of Yellowjackets, saying:

“It wasn’t just online trolls being passive-aggressively insulting. Lynskey says a member of the Yellowjackets production commented critically on her body during filming: “They were asking me, ‘What do you plan to do? I’m sure the producers will get you a trainer. They’d love to help you with this.’ ” Her three veteran co-stars, Cypress, Ricci, and Juliette Lewis, banded together to support Lynskey, with Lewis in particular writing a letter to the producers on her behalf. It all seems to be a litmus test for how, even post-MeToo, Hollywood still views women of Lynskey’s age and size as essentially disposable, something Lynskey feels she has a responsibility to try to change through her role on Yellowjackets.”

It’s absolutely infuriating that Lynskey would have to suffer this kind of treatment on the SET OF HER OWN SHOW, let alone anywhere else. And it’s a stark reminder of just how pervasive sexism and body-shaming are on set, even in 2022. But Lynskey refuses to let this kind of behavior impact her character or her work on the series.

“It was really important to me for [Shauna] to not ever comment on my body, to not have me putting a dress on and being like, ‘I wish I looked a bit better,’ ” she says in the interview. “I did find it important that this character is just comfortable and sexual and not thinking or talking about it, because I want women to be able to to watch it and be like, ‘Wow, she looks like me and nobody’s saying she’s the fat one.’ That representation is important.”

(via Rolling Stone, image: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.