In a recent Lifetime film, Jennifer Grey portrays Christian diet guru Gwen Shamblin Lara and is hardly recognisable. The performer claims that her “outrageous” appearance aims to raise awareness about eating problems.
The “Dirty Dancing” diva discusses her transition into the late, flamboyant church leader for “Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation,” which premieres on Lifetime on February 4. She did this in an interview with TODAY.com after her broadcast appearance on Jan. 31.
“I love the idea of playing someone so different from me, which I rarely have been able to do,” Grey says.
The 62-year-persona old’s is based on Lara, a real-life woman who started the Remnant Fellowship Church in the late 1990s and the Weigh Down Workshop, a faith-based diet program, in the 1980s. The HBO Max documentary “The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin” centers on her contentious life.
Lara was renowned for her petite frame, bleach blond hair, and distinctive clothing. Grey struggled to achieve this unaccustomed appearance.
“The wigs and the makeup are about two hours before getting into wardrobe,” she says. “So that’s a lot, especially when you’re working 14-hour days and then driving an hour to location.”
Like her real-life journey, Lara’s appearance changes throughout the movie as she assumes more leadership responsibilities for her church.
Grey claims that Lara’s conduct is a result of body dysmorphia when asked how she believes this happened. In a recent interview with TODAY, Dr. Katharine Phillips, an associate professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, described body dysmorphia as a disease in which patients are concerned with their appearance and its perceived defects.
“I believe her dysmorphia was more than just her weight because she did shrink and shrink and shrink as she got older. And as she got smaller, her hair got bigger and higher and more outrageous,” Grey says. “She couldn’t see that that was not a natural head of hair.”