**Leave a comment for Bethany for a chance to win a tote bag. See the end of the interview for details.**
Tonight you’ll see Bethany Kay as Janice on Dietland (known as Janine in the novel), who crashes Plum’s Waist Watchers meeting and makes an unforgettable impression. I predict that Bethany as Janice – GODDESS!! -- is going to become a meme, and rightfully so!
Bethany has an MFA in Acting from the New School for Drama. She has performed for numerous special events at the long-running Off-Broadway phenomenon Sleep No More, and she’s an opera singer, model, and improviser. She’s going to be in BLITHE SPIRIT at the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ this August.
Here we go!
SARAI: Janice has a small part in the show, but she makes such a big splash. At a recent screening I attended, she got the biggest laughs. How did you approach playing this role?
BETHANY: Well thanks, you! So much of Janice was right there on the page from the get-go in both your novel and in what Marti and her team wrote... this vibrant woman being told she was quite literally too big for that room (and the world) is something that I sure as hell relate to.
Let’s be honest, it hurts to be outed as “other” every single day. And I wanted to make sure in that scene that you see her trying to remind all of those women (and Karen specifically) that the amount of space they take up is not only valid but beautiful. ...But don’t be fooled, Janice is very much reminding herself that too. But she chooses to bring herself back up by empowering the women around her and calling out another woman who is cutting them all down...THAT is badass.
SARAI: I loved writing Janice/Janine in the book because she's so confident, bold, stylish and kick-ass. I aspire to have her fashion sense, but I admit I often hesitate to wear outfits that draw a lot of attention. Like Janice, you have a fabulous sense of style. Do you have any advice for those of us plus-size ladies who lack your flair and confidence?
BETHANY: That’s so interesting that you ask that question because ever since reading DIETLAND my New York uniform of all-black pencil skirts and Bardot tops has taken on SO much more color. Because why shouldn’t we wear our bright and bold larger than life hearts on the outside too, ya know?
My advice? Take it one step at a time. I dressed rather conservatively through my mid-20s and then happened into a Bold Lip Moment...quite literally picked up some red lipstick and made that my signature. Then came a face-defining headband, a nice wide “look at my waist!” belt, a neon shoe... these were my steps but you find whatever screams LIFE to you and layer it in. If you feel good you’ll look good.
SARAI: You describe yourself on Twitter as a "curvy gal." Do you think there are more opportunities nowadays for actresses who are plus-sized?
BETHANY: No doubt. No doubt at ALL that the opportunities are changing. I don’t know that I’d say “more” opportunities, but I’d say different ones, ones that allow us to bring more nuance and full-bodied life to roles that for a long time were generally more two-dimensional.
I made a decision very early in my career to be discerning with what jobs I’d take on. I have been clear all along that I did not want my size to make me the butt of the joke on camera: we all know those roles, don’t we? I never wanted to have to go there but of course the career opportunity temptation was there.
But I’ll never forget watching Cynthia Ettinger on the FANTASTIC but short-lived HBO Show Carnivale: she created this vibrantly sexy maternal figure that wasn’t attractive in spite of her curves but because of them; she was just effortlessly confident and able to be vulnerable within that. Her work signaled to early 20s me that there was a place for me to hold onto my dignity in this industry. And actresses like Ashlie Atkinson and Christina Hendricks and America Ferrera along with our very own Joy Nash continue to prove what a viable entertainment industry force we curvy gals can be when writers like you keep on sharing our stories. I mean...I get to call myself a Goddess on television with absolutely no hesitation at all: THAT is a gift.
Connect with Bethany:
Go to my FB author page or Instagram feed (see links in bottom right corner) to leave a comment for Bethany. Everyone who leaves a comment will be entered into a random drawing for a Loving Your Body Is a Radical Act tote bag. This contest is open to anyone in any country. There is one tote bag available in total, and the deadline to post a comment is 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time on June 5th, 2018.