Fisher told Good Housekeeping U.K. that she was pressured to lose 35 pounds before reprising her role as Princess Leia during the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
“They don’t want to hire all of me — only about three-quarters!” she told the magazine. “Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.”
But she did it, and her accomplishment came through good old-fashioned diet and exercise.
“I did it the same way everybody has to — don’t eat and exercise more! There is no other way to do it,” she said. “I have a harder time eating properly than I do exercising. It’s easier for me to add an activity than to deny myself something.”
However, Fisher’s lifelong battle with her feelings about her appearance is still ongoing.
“When I do lose the weight, I don’t like that it makes me feel good about myself. It’s not who I am,” she explained. “My problem is they talk to me like an actress but I hear them like a writer.
“We treat beauty like an accomplishment and that is insane. Everyone in LA says, ‘Oh you look good,’ and you listen for them to say you’ve lost weight,” she explains. “It’s never ‘How are you?’ or ‘You seem happy!'”
“I looked at my mother [actress Debbie Reynolds] and said, ‘Wow, she is gorgeous and I don’t look like her, therefore I’m not pretty,'” she explains. “‘And my father [singer Eddie Fisher] doesn’t visit — I mustn’t be pretty because he likes pretty women.’
“You think, ‘I’ll go into show business because then I’ll get enough love and they will put makeup on me properly and then my life will work.'”
But Fisher is doing her best to ensure the next generation of Hollywood women doesn’t suffer the same way she has — she already warned Star Wars co-star Daisy Ridley not to let herself be pushed into sex-symbol roles.