I’ve actually thought of Jennifer Aniston and her mother Nancy Dow several times as I’ve covered various stories about the Duchess of Sussex. Hear me out: Meghan’s strained relationships with the White Markles just reminded me so much of Aniston’s estrangement from her mother. The estrangements, for both Meg and Jen, came after their family members sold them out publicly, sold lies about them to the press, and simply refused to recognize certain boundaries (of decency and respect, mostly). In Jennifer’s case, her mother had so warped Jen’s sense of self that it took decades of therapy for Jen to really work through it. Jen has talked about it many times, how her mother was always vocally disappointed in Jen for not being pretty enough. Jennifer’s estrangement from her mother lasted for years and years, and I’m not even sure that Jennifer saw Nancy before Nancy’s death a few years back.
Jennifer is currently promoting Dumplin’, where she plays a former beauty queen raising a plus-sized teenage daughter. Obviously, this film raised a lot of old issues for Jennifer about motherhood and beauty and body image:
In Dumplin’, Jennifer Aniston plays a former pageant queen whose plus-size daughter enters her competition to make a point about beauty standards. Aniston, 49, told The Sunday Telegraph about the parallels between her experiences with Dow and her role in the movie. When the reporter asked Aniston if her relationship and the one in Dumplin’ are alike, Aniston reportedly replied, “Where do we start? One of the reasons I really loved the mother-daughter aspect of it was because it was very similar in a way to what my mother, and our relationship, was,” Aniston said, according to the publication.
“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 is proud of the movie’s message. “This movie is so special because 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,” she explained. “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.”
Much like Dumplin’ resonated with Aniston, this interview really resonated with me. My mom wasn’t and isn’t sh-tty like Nancy Dow was, but it really is amazing and universal how our mom’s words stick with us. I can still remember every negative thing my mom has ever said about my appearance, and if I’m being honest, a lot of that still affects the way I see myself today. Poor Jennifer – she was always going to be sort of screwed up because of her sh-tty mom.
Photos courtesy of WENN.