Lea Salonga opened up about her struggles with weight loss in a Facebook post on September 14.
Lea shared, “I’ve struggled with my own weight for as long as I was old enough to go on a diet. I’m not morbidly obese by any means, but by ‘showbiz standards,’ I’m not the norm.”
The Tony Award winner recalled her days in Miss Saigon where she struggled with her weight. Lea shared, “Imagine how this struggle became amplified while I was working on Miss Saigon where Kim is envisioned to be tiny.”
Lea said that there was a chart in the company office that monitored her weight and that she had to do weekly weigh-ins. The pressure to lose weight was everywhere and Lea added, “Or the resident choreographer would be sent to my dressing room to tell me to lose the weight. Or a letter from another producer that saw the show would write to Cameron [Mackintosh] to tell him, and then Cameron would tell me.”
The pressure to shed weight left Lea feeling isolated and alone. “I know the company meant well, and I get the demands of the show and that role in particular, but this wasn’t helpful to me or my impressionable young psyche. No one else in the cast carried this on their shoulders, so I oftentimes felt isolated and alone,” Lea revealed.
“Fat-shaming isn’t helpful, I agree,” Lea continued. “And folks that are overweight to whatever degree are already painfully aware that something isn’t right. We do really try to do right by our bodies not just to look great but to live long for ourselves and those we love.”
Lea’s post comes on the heels of talk show host James Corden as he spoke up against fellow talk show host Bill Maher’s segment on fat-shaming on his show Real Time With Bill Maher.
In the segment, Bill said, “Fat isn’t a birth defect. Nobody comes out of the womb needing to buy two seats on the airplane.” The host also added, “Fat-shaming doesn’t need to end. It needs to make a comeback.”
Meanwhile, James said during his show The Late Late Show With James Corden, “We’re not all as lucky as Bill Maher. We don’t all have a sense of superiority that burns 35,000 calories a day.” James added, “In the meantime, Bill, while you’re encouraging people to think about what goes into their mouths, just think a little harder about what comes out of yours.”
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