Sure, we all love the glitz and glamour of red-carpet appearances, but these things are never as easy as they seem. In fact, several actresses have been candid over the years about challenges that go into awards-show season—namely, finding a designer who works outside of limited sample sizes, which are typically 0 through 4.
A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay also spoke out about not finding designers to dress her in a tweet on December 23. “I’m a director, not an actress. Not a Size 0. I like to stay covered. Stylists weren’t inspired,” she tweeted.
They’re not alone: Stars like Leslie Jones, Tiffany Haddish, and Rachel Bloom have found themselves in the same boat and have had to purchase their own red-carpet gowns (we’re talking $$$, of course) to put together their looks. Below, here are 18 times celebrities got real about the red carpet.
Singer Bebe Rexha revealed that, though she’s a double nominee at the 2019 Grammys—for Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance—she and her team have run into some problems securing a look for the red carpet. The reason? Her dress size.”I had my team hit out a lot of designers and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big,” she said on Instagram . “You’re saying all the women in the world that are a size 8 and up are not beautiful and that they cannot wear your dresses. So to all the people who said I’m thick and I can’t wear your dress, f*ck you.” Rexha’s caption for the video was a call to celebrating women of all sizes. “Empower women to love their bodies instead of making girls and women feel less then by their size,” she wrote. “We are beautiful any size! Small or large! And My [sic] size 8 ass is still going to the Grammy’s.”
In December, Megan Mullally took to Instagram to share that she couldn’t find a designer to dress her for the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards in January—even though she was going to be
hosting the entire thing. “Looks like I will be buying my dress online though, as per my usual, even though there is literally a 100 percent chance that I will be on camera, because I’M HOSTING IT,” she wrote in an Instagram post in December. “Designers do not send me dresses.” i’m online scrolling through the gowns sections of various websites- which i know how to do pretty well at this point- and then i tried to order something from Saks fifth avenue and they cancelled my order oh, the glamour of it all.” Luckily, Christian Siriano stepped in, commenting, “I would love to dress you!” It’s TBD on whether she’s accepted his offer.
Bryce Dallas Howard
For the Golden Globes in 2016, Bryce Dallas Howard decided to grab her Jenny Packham gown from Neiman Marcus. “I like having lots of options for a size 6, as opposed to maybe one option, so I always go to department stores,” she told E!. Her pick? Downright gorgeous.
Fans of the
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star praised Rachel Bloom when she got candid about designers’ not dressing her for the red carpet: “I bought this dress because Gucci is not lending me a dress. I love it, and I can resell it,” she told E!’s Live From the Red Carpet. “So I said in an interview before, sometimes it’s hard to get places to lend me dresses because I’m not like a size 0, but also I can afford it so it’s OK.”
Aidy Bryant shared her excitement when Eloquii approached her to design a custom-made gown specifically for her red-carpet appearance—a relief, she said, for plus-size women who struggle with dress options. “I think it’s a different experience for plus-size women in film and television to get clothes for events,” Bryant told
People. “It’s just not as welcoming for us to get cool clothes that are like equal in glamour, in style to what, I am going to say, ‘small size’ costars get to wear. So I’ve had experiences on photoshoots or wherever, where there just aren’t options for us. So to have this experience where they approached me and it’s not us begging them…and they’ve been like, ‘Let’s make this special.’ It’s been very glamorous to me in ways I maybe haven’t experienced before. So it’s been really, really positive…it’s been such a delight.”
Around the time
Ghostbusters premiered in 2016, Leslie Jones went on Twitter to talk about how hard it had been to find a designer to dress her. “It’s so funny how there are no designers wanting to help me with a premiere dress for movie,” she wrote on Twitter. “Hmmm that will change and I remember everything.” Luckily, Christian Siriano saved the day and put her into one of the most stunning red gowns we’d ever seen.
Tiffany Haddish has been
very real about the fact that if she’s going to be spending $4,000 on a dress, she is going to get her money’s worth—so she’s worn this white Alexander McQueen gown on four separate occasions, including to the Oscars and on SNL. Apparently her stylist had told her that if she was trying to make it to the “next level” in her career, she had to spend some money. “So I wear it for Girls Trip, and then they give me the receipt,” she told W. “When I saw the receipt, I cried. The dress was $4,122! So I’m wearing it multiple fucking times.”That’s a down payment on a car, that’s a medical bill,” she continued. “So, even though everyone says I shouldn’t wear the dress in public again, I’m wearing it.”
This Is Us star Chrissy Metz looked stunning on the 2017 Golden Globes red carpet in a purple gown by Nathan Paul, but the look was a surprise: Originally, she was slated to wear two custom gowns by Christian Siriano. She explained that her last-minute switch came from a surplus choice in designers for the red carpet—something that doesn’t happen often. “I had a couple choices for dresses, which, wow, I didn’t think I’d have—what an honor,” she said. “And I just was like, ‘I want to feel comfortable, I love purple, why the hell not?’ It spoke to me.”
Ariel Winter is known for her daring red-carpet style, but the
Modern Family star didn’t always have her choice in dresses. In an exclusive interview with Glamour, the actress shared that, for years before her breast-reduction surgery, she was confined to one dress style for appearances because it was the only one that fit her body type. “It was really hard,” she said. “There was so little that I could wear that was age-appropriate. I’d have to wear the dress that was supertight and form-fitted everywhere because if I didn’t, it didn’t look good.”
Ashley Graham has rocked the Met Gala red carpet—in custom Prabal Gurung and H&M, respectively—for the past two years. Before that, however, the model revealed to
New York Magazinethat she couldn’t attend the 2016 Met Gala because, she said, “I couldn’t get a designer to dress me.”
We’ve explored the pre-Kanye and post-Kanye style of Kim Kardashian before—and through that style evolution came a bevy of designers looking to dress her. “I always thought I had really good style—until I met my husband and he told me that I had the worst style,” Kardashian said.
Eep. But even after Kanye famously cleaned out her closet, designers still refused to lend clothes to her for shoots or dress her—until Riccardo Tisci, a close friend of Kanye’s and then-creative director of Givenchy, embraced her. “He was the first person to really take a chance on me, and he would teach me so much about the fits and cuts and how I should wear things,” Kardashian said. From there, it was Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing who she became close to—he “started to design things that were more curvy and that would fit someone who had more of my body type,” she’s said. Safe to say, the rest is history.
In August 2010—three years after
Mad Men‘s first season took the world by storm—Christina Hendricks was still struggling to find designers who would dress her famous curves. “People have been saying some nice, wonderful things about me. Yet not one designer in town will loan me a dress,” she told the Daily Recordin 2010. “They only lend out a size 0 or 2. So I’m still struggling for someone to give me a darn dress. She wound up wearing Christian Siriano for the 2010 Golden Globes, and he told Glamour.com that she was instrumental in giving him exposure as a designer: “Christina [had] a big impact because she was so early on in my career, and she was choosing me to have these custom gowns made for some of the biggest red carpets. [Mad Men] was such a huge show, so she really pushed me in very public directions,” he said. “As the years have gone on, we’ve found such a beautiful relationship together. Whenever she needs something, I make it for her.”
“When I go shopping, most of the time I’m disappointed. Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me,” Melissa McCarthy told
Redbook in 2014, referring to her 2012 Oscars appearance. “I asked five or six designers—very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people—and they all said no.” It spurred the actress, who had studied fashion design in college, to launch her own plus-size fashion line with couture dressmaker Daniella Pearl—and you can peep the red-carpet result of the dress she co-designed above.
“These designers are tripping. There’s 67 percent of women that are in this plus-size world that we live in. And that’s over half of the women in the world,” Danielle Brooks pointed out in a 2016 interview with
People. “So why are we not dressing for [them]? I don’t see why I can’t get to wear Tom Ford, or why I can’t wear Gucci or whatever those big name brands are. I don’t understand why I can’t be your It girl.”
“It’s funny that a lot of the brands are dressing people who are not offering anything as far as talent, they’re just out there,” Dascha Polanco shared with
Vogue in a 2016 interview about size inclusivity. “I understand that it’s business, but still, it’s like, really? My industry friends, who are clear and honest with me say, ‘Girl, they don’t have your size, and you’re not at that level yet, so you have to either move that way or just build those relationships so that later in the future maybe it happens.’” To fight against brands that refuse to offer her size, Polanco noted that she tries to only work “with up-and-coming designers who will make things for me and who will collaborate with me—people who love my curves and embrace them as much as I do.”
Most designers would do just about anything to get Beyoncé to wear their looks, but, according to the singer that wasn’t always the case. While accepting her Fashion Icon Award at the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Beyoncé praised her mother for designing most of Destiny’s Child’s looks back in the day because high-end labels “didn’t really want to dress four black, country, curvy girls.”
“I definitely think the fashion industry, and people in general, look at me more now that I’ve lost weight,” Khloé Kardashian revealed in an interview with
Harper’s Bazaar. “Even on shoots, I would never have options for clothing. There would always be this attention on Kourtney and Kim, but I was too much work for [stylists] or they had nothing in my size. I wasn’t even that crazy big!” Now, when any brand who once refused to send things her way approaches her to dress her, she shares one simple message: “I’m just like, ‘Fuck you. I’m not going to reward your bad behavior.'”
“When I started having to dress for appearances, it wasn’t an easy task,” Ava DuVernay tweeted on December 23. “I’m a director, not an actress. Not a Size 0. I like to stay covered. Stylists weren’t inspired. Until #JasonBolden. He creates double digit slays for me without a shoulder or kneecap in sight. And is kind.”