I need to rewatch the 1988 version of Hairspray, and possibly look up the coverage. I remember the movie was a big hit, then, without any need to put name stars in drag. And while I’m seeing a whole lot of praise for how this movie is such a positive force for plus people, I can’t help but think of what happened with Ricki Lake, who went from plus size force of nature to skinny talk show host catering to the narrow minded and superstitious of North America. Interestingly, Ricki Lake will have a cameo in the new version of Hairspray.
I have to wonder – and worry – what advice she would give to Nikki Blonsky. There’s an enormous pressure on women outside the norm in Hollywood, and let’s face it, despite the fact that they’re the world center of entertainment, when it comes to their perceptions of women as characters, they’re some of the least imaginative people in the world out there. If Nikki were to lose weight for career reasons alone, rather than from some other organic change, it would indeed be a loss, much as the impact of the first Hairspray movie was quickly negated.