Sarah Paulson Regrets Wearing a Fat Suit and Reflects on Criticism

  • Sarah Paulson is “reflecting” on criticism she received for wearing a fat suit to play Linda Tripp.
  • Paulson gained 30 pounds for the role and put on 4.5 pounds of extra padding every day for the role.
  • She said: “Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question.”

Sarah Paulson said she regrets “not thinking about it more” while wearing a fat suit to play the late Linda Tripp in the upcoming third season of “American Crime Story.”

The “Ratched” actress opened up about her transformation into the former White House employee in an interview with The Los Angeles Times published on Thursday.

Set photos from “Impeachment” of Paulson as Tripp surfaced on social media in April, with Paulson bearing a striking resemblance to Tripp in a blonde wig and white sweater.

Fans expressed astonishment at Paulson’s transformation, and some criticized Paulson for wearing a fat suit for the role. 

Paulson told The Los Angeles Times that it’s “very hard for” her to talk about the criticism “without feeling like I’m making excuses,” adding that she thinks the controversy over her wearing extra padding is “legitimate.”

“I think fat phobia is real,” she told the publication. “I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm. And it is a very important conversation to be had.”

Paulson added that while she understands the criticism, she doesn’t believe that the actor shoulders the “entire responsibility” for taking on “the challenge of a lifetime,” which in her case involved wearing 4.5 pounds of extra padding and gaining 30 actual pounds to play Tripp. 

“I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part,” Paulson said about her role in “Impeachment.”

She also acknowledged “the magic of hair and makeup departments and costumers and cinematographers” in her transformation into the controversial civil servant. 

Paulson added: “Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question.”

Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp in "Impeachment: American Crime Story"

Paulson as Tripp.

Kurt Iswarienko/FX

Paulson also said in Thursday’s interview that it’s “important” for her to “think about and reflect on” the feedback she received from social-media users who said “Impeachment” should have had a plus-sized actress play Tripp instead of casting Paulson in the role. 

“You can only learn what you learn when you learn it,” Paulson said. “Should I have known? Abso-f—ing-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”

Paulson previously told reporters at a virtual Television Critics Association panel held on August 20 that it took the hair and makeup teams “about three and a half hours” every day to transform her into Tripp.

The upcoming season of the FX series follows the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton (played by Clive Owen) and the intense scrutiny then 24-year-old Monica Lewinsky (played by Beanie Feldstein) faced after the public found out about her 18-month-long affair with him.

“Impeachment: American Crime Story” premieres September 7 on FX.

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