Oh, Melissa McCarthy. There’s something special about an actress whose genuine belly laugh is recognizable from a mile away. She won our hearts as Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, and she made us pee our pants laughing on Bridesmaids. At this point in her career, Melissa McCarthy is a household name, but she’s also one of the few A-list actresses who seem so humble and down-to-earth that we genuinely think we could be friends with her.
Melissa McCarthy is one of those celebrities everyone roots for. We want her to succeed because she seems like a such a nice person! Not just that, but her subtle (and not-so-subtle) wit has us rolling on the floor. Whether you’re a fan of her work or not, there’s no doubt this stunning actress is making waves and taking names, and she’ll be in the Hollywood spotlight for many years to come. Though she’s remained true blue since she emerged in Hollywood, she’s also evolved in both her professional and personal lives. Here’s the stunning transformation of Melissa McCarthy.
The Early Days
While McCarthy grew up on a farm in southern Illinois, she began her career as a standup comedian in New York City, performing at well-known clubs, like Stand Up New York and The Improv, before moving to Los Angeles where she still lives today.
Upon her move west, McCarthy joined a comedy group, The Groundlings, where she trained with future SNL legends Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph, and learned some tough lessons as an actor. “Crazy’s just crazy and there’s nowhere to go. You can have a point of view, it can be very strange, but we have to know your reasoning,” she told The New York Times when referring to her training and diving into the difference between characters who are just crazy and those who are more eccentric.
Playing Sookie St. James
One of the first roles many of us would recognize McCarthy for is playing Sookie St. James, the fun and eccentric chef, and best friend of Lorelai Gilmore, on the popular series Gilmore Girls. McCarthy even made a return to her role of Sookie in the Gilmore Girls revival, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. Speaking to E! News, she said, “I get so sentimental to be back on those sets and to see everybody. It was amazing how we just all fell back into it.”
Appearing in Mike and Molly
After Gilmore Girls came to a close, she went on to star in the comedy Mike & Molly, where she received an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. McCarthy told Entertainment Tonight of the characters on the show, “I liked that they had real jobs. He wasn’t a cop by day and a superhero by night — which I love those too but I liked that I was like, ‘I know these people.’ I’ve got cops in my family. I just bought it all. It just all seemed easy.” After six seasons on air, the series came to and end in spring 2016.
Becoming a Bonafide Movie Star
Bridesmaids wasn’t Melissa McCarthy’s first film appearance by a long shot, but it was definitely the first time she truly stole the show — and became a breakout movie star. She even garnered an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress, though she was bested by Octavia Spencer. Still, that opened up an entirely new set of doors for her, and she began her ascent to mega-stardom.
Since then, she’s appeared in a number of films: She played Maggie in St. Vincent, Diana in Identity Thief, Susan Cooper in Spy, Michelle Darnell in The Boss, Abby Yates in Ghostbusters: Answer the Call, Deanna in Life of the Party, and Detective Connie Edwards in The Happytime Murders.
Will McCarthy ever be a contender for another Oscar? Signs point to yes, as she generated some Oscar buzz for her work in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, according to USA Today. McCarthy is quick to say that the film’s success was a team effort, and the buzz was the “cherry on top.”
Needless to say, we’ll be keeping an eye out on McCarthy’s film career!
Starting Her Own Clothing Line
Growing up, McCarthy was obsessed with fashion. “All through high school I was very tunnel vision on, ‘I want to make women’s clothing,'” McCarthy told Forbes. After attending Southern Illinois University for two years, she transferred to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, though she quickly dropped out to pursue a career in stand-up comedy.
While it is safe to say she has reaped the rewards of that decision, McCarthy is finding her way back into the fashion world through the release of her own women’s clothing line Seven7, launched in 2015. The most important part of her line is that the pieces come in every size. “I’ve fluctuated, I’ve been every size in the rainbow, but when I got to a certain size I couldn’t find the clothes that still made me feel modern,” McCarthy told Forbes. So, she made sure her line would fit women of all sizes, ranging from size 4 to 28. “I think you should dress exactly how you want to dress — then you always look your best.”
Discussing Body Image and Her Size
“In my 20s I used to cry about why I wasn’t thinner or prettier, but I want to add that I also used to cry about things like: ‘I wish my hair would grow faster. I wish I had different shoes,'” she told People. “I was an idiot. … It’s a decade of tears.”
What’s even more amazing is her reaction to body shaming. When she was referred to as “tractor-sized Melissa McCarthy” in a review for Identity Thief in the Observer, McCarthy told The New York Times, “I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that’s someone who’s in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs.”
She then told the Today show, “I know I am not the ‘norm.’ It never occurs to me in terms of being a role model, though, because I don’t know any perfect women. If I, off the top of my head, name 20 of the most amazing women in my life, it’s all shapes, sizes, ages, colors, jobs. I can only go off my reality.”
A Little Bit of Joy Goes a Long Way
From her clothing line for women of all shapes and sizes to her thriving acting career, it is safe to say Melissa McCarthy is just getting started. Even better, this self-proclaimed feminist is working hard to change the way we compare ourselves to others and is a true role model for girls and women of all ages. “The small happy moments add up. A little bit of joy goes a long way,” she told Redbook.