Harry Potter star, Jessie Cave (Lavender Brown), reveals she felt invisible on set after natural weight gain, due to extreme pressure to be thin.
Harry Potter actress Jessie Cave revealed that she felt invisible on set after gaining weight. The film adaptions of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series began in 2001 with the release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and concluded in 2011 with its eighth film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Cave starred in the last three Harry Potter films as Lavender Brown, a Gryffindor student of Hogwarts who joined Dumbledore’s Army and fought heroically in the Battle of Hogwarts.
The role of Brown in the films was significantly smaller than her role in the books. Also, a bit of confusion was created when Cave took over the role of Brown in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince after being portrayed by Jennifer Smith in earlier films. Cave’s Brown didn’t enter the films until her romance with Ron Weasley began and her earlier role in Dumbledore’s Army was ignored. Having one’s character slighted in the films could, understandably, have been difficult for the actors and actresses, even more so if it was complemented by other negative experiences behind the scenes.
As reported by People, Cave opened up about the negative experience she had on the Harry Potter set after gaining weight. Cave revealed that she gained a bit of natural weight between her first and second films, simply from growing older and not starving herself. While she admitted some of it might have just been her insecurity, she felt like she was treated differently on set after her weight gain and felt invisible. Since then, she has had a difficult relationship with work and weight and dislikes how immensely pressured women are to be thin. Check out her statement below:
I gained a lot of weight after doing Harry Potter[and the Half-Blood Prince], just because I wasn’t starving myself. And I was growing up and that’s just what happens. I was treated like a different species. It was horrible. It was probably more me and my insecurity, knowing that I wasn’t fitting into the same size jeans, but it wasn’t a time where actresses were any bigger than a size eight. And in the previous film I had been, and now I was a size 12. So that was horrible. It was a really uncomfortable experience. And since then, it’s made me have weird issues with weight and work. And it’s so f—– up, but it’s just how it is. Women have to deal with that all the time.
Her weight gain and how she was treated afterward made the Harry Potter experience ‘horrible’ for her. She went on to criticize acting altogether, describing it as a “toxic relationship” where one does well for a while but eventually faces rejection. After Harry Potter, she chose to step away from acting for the most part. She said if she had been uncomfortably thin, she might have gotten more roles. Now, she is happy that she did not become unnaturally thin because it led her away from acting and towards writing, which is her passion.
While the Harry Potter films were delightful to watch, it is not surprising that some of the cast and crew found the experience difficult. Harry Potter was one of the biggest film franchises of all time, and many of the actresses and actors were very young and vulnerable when they were cast into the spotlight. Meanwhile, for the actors and actresses, such as Cave and Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), who joined the cast later in the series, there was the added pressure to measure up to the established stars of the franchise.
The high-pressure environment in itself would be difficult for any young individual to deal with, and to add the pressure of being thin is especially damaging. Cave’s story illustrates just what women go through when their physical appearance is given more attention than their talent or worth. It is comforting that Cave has found peace with her ultimate career path and that she did not sacrifice her health or comfort to measure up to impossible standards. Hopefully her story will be heard and will illustrate the change that the industry, and society itself, needs to undergo to embrace all body types.