Issa Rae Discusses Body Image and Playing President Barbie in the Barbie Movie

Issa Rae had concerns about her body being “Barbie-ready” for the Barbie movie, but she quickly realized that the film embraced all body types. In an interview, she discusses her experience playing President Barbie, the secrecy surrounding the movie’s plot, and her memories of Barbie growing up.

Rae’s initial reaction to the Barbie movie, which she watched at Margot Robbie’s home theater, wasn’t what she expected. She found it challenging to discuss the film due to the need to avoid spoilers. The movie has been heavily promoted through collaborations and merchandise, but the actual storyline has been kept tightly under wraps.

Rae expressed her fear of overhyping the movie and acknowledged that everyone has different expectations and opinions about Barbie. However, she believes that the film has something for everyone, regardless of their love or dislike for the iconic doll.

As the release date approached, the movie received glowing reviews and even Oscar nomination speculation. Rae, who is also an executive producer on another project, shared her thoughts on body image, her role as President Barbie, and her experiences growing up with the doll.

She described the Barbie movie as self-aware, self-deprecating, and reminiscent of iconic films from her childhood like Clueless and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion. Rae missed the Barbie slumber party organized by director Greta Gerwig but heard stories about it. The cast of the movie is diverse and impressive, and Rae explained how she landed the role after meeting with Gerwig.

The plot of the film was kept extremely secretive, with Rae having to go through a process to read the script on her iPad, which was watermarked and restricted. She accidentally took a screenshot, leading to the temporary suspension of her access.

To prepare for her role as President Barbie, Rae aimed to portray a youthful and energetic president, inspired by Greta Gerwig’s desire for a female president. Despite her initial concerns about her body shape, she felt less insecure when she realized that Barbie Land embraced all body types.

Rae highlighted the importance of representation and inclusivity in the Barbie movie. She recalled her childhood experiences with Black Barbies and the influence they had on her understanding of identity. She appreciated the effort made by Gerwig to include diverse Barbie characters in the movie.

The interview also touched on Rae’s personal memories of playing with Barbies, creating storylines, and using her imagination. She discussed the misconceptions people have about Hollywood and emphasized the hard work and challenges that come with a career in the entertainment industry.

Rae revealed some details about her character, President Barbie, including her platform of universal free everything and love for dance parties. She mentioned the Easter eggs in the production design and set design of the movie and shared her experiences with the hair and makeup routine, which involved airbrushing and body makeup.

Among the cast, Rae bonded with Alex Shipp, who showed her support by ensuring she had a cast chair with her name on it. She also mentioned Scott Evans as her “Ken” in the movie and expressed her admiration for him.

In conclusion, the interview provided insights into Issa Rae’s journey with the Barbie movie, her personal experiences with Barbie, and her thoughts on representation and body image in Hollywood.

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