Jen Ponton is an actor who can be seen on the new show Dietland on AMC but her career stretches back to Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife, 30 Rock...all your faves! She resides in New Jersey with her hubby and dog. Many of her first acting roles were not determined by her size which is a refreshing approach, especially after being cast as an older woman in her entire theater career.
Jen uses the word fat to describe her body after finding the fat positivity space and reading fat positive authors. Her and Jana discuss the political journey toward identifying as fat, finding a community of size activists to encourage this progression and the way that fatness transcends other social issues. As Jen's career has escalated, she's noticed where size acceptance changes at various levels. She discusses how her character types have normally been characterized as thin and midwestern but that she otherwise completely fits the bill. She says that the doors open up again when you get to the point where you're having leading roles where good performing and ensembles make magic. Until that point though, she finds it challenging to beat the normalized beauty standards. Jen talks about reading for a role in a tv show that got renamed after they cast a non-fat actress.
Despite this, Jen is happy looking forward to a fatphobia free future in the entertainment industry as more developers follow the money. When we watch BBC drama we see people of varying size and it's clear that actors are being hired for their acting skill over beauty or appearance. Jen discusses her journey through drama and comedy. She talks about being able to make people laugh early on in her career and feeling the same casting restrictions as a young woman so she wrote for herself. So, as we do, we write for ourselves. The two women get into discussing screenwriting and imposter syndrome in the writing world.
Jana asks Jen what it was like to star in the film Love on The Run and the cinderella experience of being a lead in a dramatic role. She gets to have a sex scene in this movie, which she describes but it's very worth a watch. Highly recommend! Jen discusses the character arch in the film and how it's written as well as her experience filming a steamy sex scene. Jana squirms like a little brat because she's not mature at all about that but Jen is really transparent in discussing her experience.
Jen and Jana shout out other women of size nailing it out there, Nicole Byer and Bridget Everette. Jen gives us some awesome insider info about Chrissy Metz writing a new memoir and just being an incredibly body positive woman. Then Jana asks Jen if she's ever men Tom Seleck (on behalf of her gay roomie).
Jen's One Cool Thing is the ice skating duo, brother sister from Canada: Tessa Virtue and Scott Voyer. It's a great rabbit hole! Jana's One Cool Thing is Powerful Women Rising owned and founded by Sara Maldonado.
You can find Jen on Instagram and Twitter @jenponton.
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