Interview With Deidra Edwards, Co-Star of disFIGURED
Interview With Deidra Edwards, Co-Star of disFIGURED
by Jennifer Jonassen
disFIGURED the movie, Written, Directed and Produced by Glenn Gers, Co-Stars Deidra Edwards and Staci Lawrence… 2 graceful women struggling with weight issues from 2 different perspectives. What a pleasure it was to sit down with Deidra for a heart-to-heart about her experience and thoughts on this dynamic, thought-provoking movie…
Jennifer Jonassen: Tell us about the big disFIGURED première!
Deidra Edwards: It took place at the Santa Barbara International Film Fest and it was a dream come true. This is my first feature film, my first lead, my first everything. I have been out here a long time, and this is my first break. It was the first time I saw myself on the big screen.
Jennifer Jonassen: What was that like?
Deidra Edwards: Well you know you never know how you will feel about seeing yourself on the big screen, but I was relieved… I knew that is exactly where I’m supposed to be. Finally! It took me a really long time to get my break.
Jennifer Jonassen: Because you didn’t sell out.
Deidra Edwards: It took me so long when I got out here. I know I have to pay my dues, but I have to be able to sleep at night. I will never, ever be the girl shoveling food in her face for a joke. Ever. It was a long time until I got this break because the things that were offered me were those awful stereotypical roles or I was being offered roles that were 20 years older than me. I was so thrilled to get this opportunity.
View the “disFIGURED” Trailer
Jennifer Jonassen: This is why I’ve wanted to interview you for so long. We are kindred spirits! I was so envious of the love scene you have in the movie. Gorgeous!
Deidra Edwards: These roles are not out there. They are not written.
Jennifer Jonassen: No it doesn’t exist.
Deidra Edwards: Glenn Gers, Writer-Director, says that there really isn’t another scene like that in another film.
Jennifer Jonassen: I can’t think of any.
Deidra Edwards: I am alternately very, very proud but still kind of horrified too that I did it. It can be shocking to see yourself in that situation on screen.
Jennifer Jonassen: Tell us how it all began.
Deidra Edwards: It’s so interesting to me that this is the film that I got a big opportunity in because all it talks about is that subject. Ironically, it’s the subject I am trying to separate from the acting world but what a great story.
When I read this script, well even before I read the script, the character description of Lydia in the breakdown, I couldn’t believe it… the character is very overweight, intelligent, graceful, sensual; like a woman. I read the story and it really moved me. It was real and human and everything in it is truth and I felt so moved to tell the writer thank you that this exists at all in Hollywood. In fact the writer’s representative information was on the script and I wrote Glen a thank you note and dropped it at his agent’s office. Never expecting to hear anything ever, he emailed me and we began this dialogue. He asked me to go to lunch and I remember being so excited that I was going to get to have lunch with the writer, when do you get to do something like that? We were talking about Darcy and Lydia and somewhere in that conversation I started referring to myself as Lydia. But then he said realistically speaking they were looking for big names etc. So I said to him there’s no name for the fat girl so get a name for the skinny girl instead!
Jennifer Jonassen: I love it!
Deidra Edwards: He said he couldn’t promise anything but an audition. Then a whole year goes by. They had to push it back an entire year. He called me back four times! He said he just wanted to make sure that ‘what he was seeing he was really seeing’.
Jennifer Jonassen: But he must’ve known all along you were the one.
Deidra Edwards: We shot the movie in three weeks in a heat wave in Venice, CA. It was a little crazy to shoot something in 15 days that should have had three months. But I was so happy every minute of it. Even through the challenges.
Jennifer Jonassen: What was the biggest challenge for you?
Deidra Edwards: Well the sex scene of course. But also the scene where I entice Darcy to binge. That was challenging to wrap my brain around. But then again it’s not my story. It’s Lydia’s story. Obviously I can relate to the character a lot but there are some differences too. And I think in that moment something clicks in her brain… she has this thought. She needs it right now and she knows she can talk Darcy into it.
Jennifer Jonassen: And the sex scene…
Deidra Edwards: Well Glen had explained to me why he thought it needed to be in the movie and why he thought it needed to be shot the way it was. And I wasn’t thrilled about it in the beginning; I was terrified. I wondered why I had to get my break and be naked.
Jennifer Jonassen: It was incredibly important. It was groundbreaking. It was courageous. We need to see more beautiful women out there!
Deidra Edwards: Thank you so much!
Jennifer Jonassen: What is your dream role?
Deidra Edwards: I want to play women from all time periods and all socio-economic backgrounds. I just want to get in there and play. I want to do it all. Humanity is fascinating. I want to see it from all angles. And I think now is the best time to be in Hollywood… there are so many more possibilities for our type.
Jennifer Jonassen: What do you think of the term plus size?
Deidra Edwards: It’s fine. I tell you what I don’t like. The term “real woman” especially when it’s used to alienate other women. That is the biggest BS ever. I’m a “real woman” because I’m overweight and the girl who is not overweight is not a real woman? That’s the only thing that bothers me.
RealTVfilms Interview With Glenn Gers, Deidra Edwards and Staci Lawrence
Jennifer Jonassen: Does your weight hinder or help your career?
Deidra Edwards: You know all my actor friends have their obstacles. I have the most dazzingly beautiful and incredibly talented friends who have trouble finding quality roles as well.
Jennifer Jonassen: Very true… we’re all in the same boat when it comes to finding good material! I actually think that thin actresses have it harder. They are the ones being criticized about their bodies. No one tells me I’m too fat for a role… Now there is one character in the film that makes fun of you. Tell us about him.
Deidra Edwards: Yes the homeless man.
Jennifer Jonassen: He really harasses you in the movie. He yells at you.
Deidra Edwards: And then I yell back about him being homeless, dirty & smelly and drug infested and then he yells back “yeah but at least I’m not fat.”
Jennifer Jonassen: And that is so true in our culture…
Deidra Edwards: You can be a druggie… you can be anything as long as you’re not fat… but fat is like the worst thing you can be… that it’s worse to be fat then homeless even.
Jennifer Jonassen: That is the way we hurt women. I have said many times if you want to destroy a woman you call her fat. Silly but true. That is why it was so critical for you to do that love scene. Because it shatters the myth that if you are larger you are undesirable. You are so incandescent in this movie it lifts my spirits to see you. And I think the audiences get to walk away thinking, “Wow she looks so great… and maybe I do too.”
Deidra Edwards: Thank you so much for saying that. What really drew me to Lydia is that this is a woman who is trying so hard to find self-acceptance and happiness for who she is and she never gives up.