Issa Rae admits feeling ‘insecure’ with her body before arriving on the ‘Barbie’ set

As ‘Barbie’ continues to dominate theaters, co-star Issa Rae opens up about the diversity and inclusivity of the film’s cast. 

The “Barbie” movie is a record-breaking box office smash. According to Issa Rae, it’s also a champion of inclusivity. 

When Rae, who plays President Barbie in the film, first got the call to join the cast, she questioned whether she was in “Barbie shape.” Then she learned director Greta Gerwig had a much broader idea of who and what Barbie is than most who grew up with or knew of the doll. Ahead of the film’s release, writer, producer and actress Rae opened up to Glamour magazine about playing a version of the iconic toy. 

Issa Rae, Barbie, Barbie movie, Barbie movie diverse, Barbie movie inclusive, body positivity, Ivy Park,
Issa Rae attends the June 30 “Barbie” celebration party at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia. She talked to Glamour about her early trepidation about her movie role. (Photo by Hanna Lassen/Getty Images)

Hilariously, Rae told the publication that she had been busy letting herself go before she was offered the role.

“Right before [the role came to me], I was post-’Insecure,’ post-’Rap Sh!t,’ and post-the-final-season-of-’Insecure’-press-tour. I was like, ‘Well, I’m going to let myself go. I’m eating everything,’” she told Glamour.

“And then I got the call to do ‘Barbie’ and was like, ‘Oh, no, I am not Barbie-shape ready.’ But then I realized Greta’s Barbie world consists of all body types. So, while I was still on my fitness journey, I felt less insecure about my Barbie body or lack thereof,” she added.

Rae stressed that despite Barbie’s complicated history in both pop culture and the body positivity movement, Gerwig and those involved with the film all held inclusivity as a top priority. Rae recalled initially wondering, “Who are the other Barbies, and what do they look like?” 

However, as Rae soon found, “That was so top of mind for [Gerwig]. I saw that immediately on my first day when I was doing the dance sequence rehearsal. There were so many different types of Barbies, and so many different types of Kens.”

Rae said the Barbies she met that day spanned different mobility levels, ages and genders. 

“Barbie Land is perfect. Everyone in Barbie Land is a perfect Barbie,” Rae said. “I found that so beautiful. Almost everyone in the world is represented in some way here.” 

She added, “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.”

While the film’s press run has been interrupted by the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike, Rae has been at her dazzling Black Barbie best in various pink looks. Over the weekend, as thousands crowded local theaters to see the movie on the big screen, Rae stunned on Instagram in sultry pool shots, modeling a bikini from Beyoncé’s latest Ivy Park drop. 

“Found Issa in paradise,” Ivy Park captioned a post

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