Issa Rae Was Worried Her Body Wouldn’t Be 'Barbie-Ready' Ahead Of The 'Barbie' Movie
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Issa Rae Was Worried Her Body Wouldn’t Be 'Barbie-Ready' Ahead Of The 'Barbie' Movie

If there’s a President Barbie world run by actress Issa Rae, then I absolutely want to live in it. The Insecure creator has had a fairytail trajectory from shooting her own YouTube series, Awkward Black Girl, to becoming thatgirl on the big screen in this summer’s box office smash, Barbie. And while she easily has the most epic glow-up of our generation, the 38-year-old isn’t afraid to speak on the pressure she felt to be “Barbie-ready.”

In a recent interview with Glamour, Issa Rae opened up about her challenges with body image taking a toll on her preparation to play President Barbie following the end of her hit HBO series, Insecure.

“Right before [the role came to me], I was post-Insecure, post–Rap Sh!t, and post-the-final-season-of-Insecure-press-tour,” she recalls to the publication. “I was like, ‘Well, I'm going to let myself go. I'm eating everything.’ And then I got the call to do Barbie and was like, ‘Oh, no, I am not Barbie-shape ready.’”

Thankfully, Rae realized that the reimagined Barbie world that director Greta Gerwig was creating reflected bodies of all shapes and sizes. “So, while I was still on my fitness journey, I felt less insecure about my Barbie body or lack thereof,” she says.

Rae’s “youthful, fun” and fresh take on the president is one that is inspired by the childhood version that she always envisioned. Growing up, she remembers how her mother and aunties making a point to give her Black Barbies made her “hyperaware” of her Blackness from an early age, which served as a gift in representation that she understood as she came of age.

“In some ways, I was made hyperaware of my Blackness because of how intense my mom and aunt were about, ‘We're giving you Black Barbies,” she shares. “They said, ‘It's important for you to play with dolls that look like you,’ which I didn't really understand. I was like, ‘Okay, more toys, thank you.’”

She continues, “I never played with Christie. I don't think I knew about Christie until later. It was just Barbie with blackface kind of, and it didn't necessarily have Black features. It didn't really mean anything to me until I got older and understood why it was so important for my mom and aunt for me to have this.”

What is expected to be a “self-aware” take on Barbie’s existential experience, the new Barbie movie imitates life in a way that represents the full spectrum of what Barbies of today would look like. With actresses like America Ferrera, Margot Robbie, and Alexandra Shipp all starring in the film, Rae emphasizes that no matter her shade or background, there’s a Barbie in this Barbie world for you.

“Everyone in Barbie Land is a perfect Barbie. I found that so beautiful,” she says. “Almost everyone in the world is represented in some way here. That's not an easy piece. I'm sure someone might be like, ‘Where am I?’ But know that there was such an effort made to have Barbie Land be inclusive.”

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Featured image by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Shipt

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