Issa Rae Initially Didn't Think Her Body Was 'Ready' for 'Barbie' Role

This Barbie is a body-positive queen — and her name is Issa Rae.

“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,’” Rae, 38, told Glamour in an interview published on Friday, July 21. “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 [Gerwig]‘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.”

The Insecure alum plays President Barbie in the highly anticipated flick, which hit theaters on Friday. The movie — costarring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling — brings Mattel’s beloved doll line to life as Robbie’s Barbie and Gosling’s Ken journey from the pink-accented Barbie Land into the real world. The OG toys were primarily known for their slim physiques and perfectly coiffed blonde locks, images that initially worried Rae.

“That was something that I was concerned about too — who are the other Barbies, and what do they look like?” she confessed to Glamour, noting director Gerwig, 39, prioritized casting a diverse crop of actors. “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. Some able-bodied, ages, genders. Greta did her best to try to include everybody.”

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Rae continued: “Barbie Land is perfect. Everyone in Barbie Land is a perfect Barbie. I found that so beautiful. 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.”

Barbie features a star-studded lineup of actors, including Nicola Coughlan, Ritu Arya, Sharon Rooney, Hari Nef, Kate McKinnon, Dua Lipa, Simu Liu, Kingsley Ben-Adir and Ncuti Gatwa.

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Liu, 34, has similarly praised the film’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity, proving that every type of individual can be a Barbie or a Ken.

“Greta was very, very conscientious about who she cast,” the Marvel star gushed to Vanity Fair in January. “We were able to cast people of different shapes, sizes, differently abled, to all participate in this dance [scene] — all under this message of, ‘You don’t have to be blonde, white, or X, Y, Z in order to embody what it means to be a Barbie or a Ken.’ I felt like I was going to work every day with a cast that really celebrated each other and celebrated each other’s differences, no matter where we came from. I think when you watch the movie, you’ll see that reflected on the screen.”

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