+

You might remember actor Sam Claflin as Finnick, the uber-athletic former champion from the "Hunger Games" movies.

Sam Claflin. Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images.

He's also played a leading man in a number of other films and TV spots, including "Me Before You" and "Snow White and the Huntsman."


But he said making a career out of playing the heartthrob ain't what it used to be, according to a recent interview in The Sydney Morning Herald. In fact, he says there's an ugly side to becoming an action star these days that people don't seem to want to talk about.

Claflin said men in Hollywood face enormous pressure to live up to unrealistic body standards.

The last time most of us saw him on screen, Claflin was sporting a lean and athletic look, but there was a lot we didn't see.

"I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going, 'You need to lose a bit of weight,'" he told the Herald. "This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat."

If it sounds familiar, it's because women in show business go through this all the time. The truth is that the constant pressure to look flawless in front of the camera is damaging for men, too.

"I'm not saying it's anywhere near as bad as what women go through but I, as an actor approaching each job, am insecure — especially when I have to take my top off in it — and so nervous," he said. "I get really worked up to the point where I spend hours and hours in the gym and not eating for weeks to achieve what I think they're going for."

It wasn't always this way. There was a time when actors didn't have to appear chiseled out of stone before they'd be considered for a role.

James Bond then (1980s) and now (2000s). Photos via Central Press/Getty Images and Damian Oswald/YouTube.

"In the '50s and '60s, it was never an issue," Claflin said. "James Bond never had a six pack. He had a hairy chest. Marlon Brando​ in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' had an incredible body but he was by no means ripped to within an inch of his life. There's a filter on society that this is normal but actually it's anything but normal."

While actresses are being held to absurd standards of beauty and told they're too old to play the lead by the time they hit 30, men have it a little different.

They're spending months and months working themselves into peak physical condition through brutal exercise and diet regimens and dropping to almost dangerously-low body fat and dehydration levels.

All in the name of looking ripped.

The pressure on professional actors to push their bodies beyond their limits is bad, but the effect it has on regular people might be worse.

When the only women allowed to appear in movies have to fit a certain aesthetic, it rubs off on young women everywhere. It's similar for men when every time they turn on a movie or TV show, all the guys look like bodybuilders.

Some studies are finding that men, and young men in particular, are turning to dangerous steroids to bulk up. This pressure to be big and muscular is wreaking havoc on their self-esteem.

It's time for Hollywood to loosen the reigns and display more body diversity on-screen.

We get it — Thor has to have big muscles. He's a demigod. But does every spy, dad, police officer, and accountant we see have to have six-pack abs? Does every actor need to dehydrate themselves before each shoot so you can see the veins in their biceps?

The effect on-screen may be striking, but the effect it's having on people in the real world is anything but.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75

Lynch is part of a growing line of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory

Upon first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


Addie Rodriguez was supposed to take the field with her dad during a high school football game, where he, along with other dads, would lift her onto his shoulders for a routine. But Addie's dad was halfway across the country, unable to make the event.

Her father is Abel Rodriguez, a veteran airman who, after tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was training at Travis Air Force Base in California, 1,700 miles from his family in San Antonio at the time.

"Mom missed the memo it was parent day, and the reason her mom missed the memo was her dad left Wednesday," said Alexis Perry-Rodriguez, Addie's mom. She continued, "It was really heartbreaking to see your daughter standing out there being the only one without their father, knowing why he's away. It's not just an absentee parent. He's serving our country."

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.