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Jennifer Aniston’s Relationship With Her Mom Shaped Her Role in Dumplin’

Jennifer Aniston’s new film, Netflix’s Dumplin, explores a complicated dynamic between a mother and daughter, which Aniston connected to on a very personal level. In a new interview, Aniston opened up about how her similarly complicated relationship with her mother, Nancy Dow, had many similarities to the one in the film, which follows the journey of a plus-size young woman, Willowdean Dickson (played by Danielle Macdonald), who enters a local beauty pageant that is being overseen by her mother, former beauty pageant winner Rosie Dickson (played by Aniston).

More: Jennifer Aniston Is the Pageant Mom You’ll Love to Hate in First Trailer for Dumplin’

“One of the reasons I really loved the mother-daughter aspect of [Dumplin’] was because it was very similar in a way to what my mother, and our relationship, was,” Aniston told The Sunday Telegraph (as later reported by People).

“She was a model and she was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like,” Aniston continued. “I did not come out the model child she’d hoped for and it was something that really resonated with me, this little girl just wanting to be seen and wanting to be loved by a mum who was too occupied with things that didn’t quite matter.”

Aniston also said Dumplin’ is special because of its message: “It is about stripping away those preconceived notions of beauty, trying to become individuals and not feeling that we have to live up to some unrealistic ideal that society is feeding up to us.”

This isn’t the first time Aniston has talked about her difficult relationship with Dow, who died in 2016 following a long illness. Aniston told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 their relationship was fine, but also said Dow “was critical. She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn’t. I never was. I honestly still don’t think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine. She was also very unforgiving. She would hold grudges that I just found so petty.”

More: Reese Witherspoon’s & Jennifer Aniston’s TV Salaries Are Revealed, & We’re Blown Away

As for her own definition of beauty, Aniston told People, “My idea of beauty is, is what makes you feel beautiful and what makes me feel beautiful is the people around me, the life that I have. And maybe a good hair day.”

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