Hinton Magazine Q&A : Lucy Frederick
In Big Fat Wedding Lucy Frederick makes a rallying cry – we need to join together and battle to stop making ourselves smaller for the comfort of others. She brings her comedic skill to bare on the relationship we all have with our bodies. This is an uplifting show, packed with laughs that will resonate with anyone who’s tried to plan the perfect day, and wildly entertain those who haven’t.
Lucy is a comedian, writer and an accomplished character actor. She has most recently been seen performing as Myra DuBois’ sister Rose Lavender on Britain’s Got Talent and in the hit online show Myra DuBois: A Problem Shared. In London Lucy is a popular MC with a residency at The Poodle Club. As an actor, Lucy won a scholarship to train at the prestigious East 15 Acting School, and her writing has been performed in a number of off West End theatres. She has also been published in Aquila children’s magazine and The Guardian.
We chatted to Lucy about her show, the meaning of weddings in our lives and how to make the best of them.
Do you think marriage would be better off without a wedding?
Certainly not. The big party is the best bit. Of course, I am (mostly) joking about that. I think weddings are lovely if you like that sort of thing. But they're not for everybody and if a couple think weddings are daft then they can always just nip down to the Registry Office. But marriage itself is about making a commitment to stick at it with someone whatever happens; it's about accepting and celebrating every facet of your partner - all the sexy fun bits sure, but also all the grubby wobbly bits. And you can deffo do that without a big wedding.
On the other hand, should we allow people to have weddings just for the sake of it, free from the burden of an ensuing marriage?
I think we don't celebrate enough stuff. Big celebrate-y parties should be for couples who don't want to be legally married, for single people living their best life or for anyone who is just doing their best to keep going to be honest. Normalise big dresses and veils for going to the pub I say. Every Saturday is a special day if you want it to be. On our wedding day, one of my friends pointed out that your wedding is often the only day in your life that you get everyone you love together for a drink and a laugh - until your funeral. And that's kind of sad I think. So, crack on I say - have a 'Pretending' or something.
Do you feel that in the digital age, the pressure on slimming down for a wedding is even higher than beforehand?
I think it's always been there. Lots of us had mums in the 80s who sweated through aerobics or step classes and grimaced at salads while the kids ate fish and chips. I'm of the generation that hit their teens in the 90s when waif-like thinness was in fashion; so way before the digital age women were worrying about their waistlines. It's just so depressingly normal. Getting married? Diet starts now. You've not succeeded unless you arrive at the altar absolutely starving. If anything, I hope that the digital age brings women who subvert that course into contact with each other. There are brilliant women out there shouting about the fact that not losing weight before your wedding (or at any time) is a viable option that still involves looking and feeling great.
Why do you think so many women accept society’s demands that they should try to become smaller for the comfort of others?
I think most women feel they are doing it for themselves. It takes a bit of a shift in perception to realise that we want to be thin because society has told us it is good and healthy and correct. Television, film, fashion - wherever you look, the default to be is thin. Anyone who isn't tends to be some sort of exception. We say meaningless things like 'all bodies are beautiful' but we never bother to untangle the
concept of beauty from thinness which leaves fat people feeling that the best they can ever hope to achieve is 'beautiful adjacent'. Research suggests that our perception of fat people is that they are lazy, less intelligent and even less clean - and who wants to be that? No wonder women spend so much money on the quest to be thinner. And then if you're stuck in that cycle, seeing a woman who is proudly,
unashamedly fat - wearing clothes that make her feel wonderful and celebrating the thing you've spent a lifetime running from (sometimes literally); I think that can make you pretty uncomfortable. And I think that's why happy fat people sometimes feel that the world is asking them to take up less space; we represent an alternative that means you don't need to wait until you reach a magic number on the scales to be happy.
Do you feel that a physical and mental collapse is completely inevitable prior to a wedding?
Not at all! I loved planning my wedding. But then I love a spreadsheet and I suppose not everyone does. I really enjoyed scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram for ideas and choosing flowers and all that jazz; it was really fun! So fun that I wasn't that sad when we had to change the wedding plan entirely due to the old Pandemic. The only minor meltdown I had was over the dress. I've worked hard over the years to love my body and fostered a really positive relationship with it, but I feel like it's something that takes quite a lot of maintenance. With all the scrolling and trying dresses on, I'd forgotten to keep an eye on all that so I suddenly found that I was feeling crappy about my body. For the first time in a long time, I was wondering if three weeks of Slim Fast was the way forward. But it wasn't (because it never is) and in the end the amazing lady who made my wedding dress helped me get that beautiful feeling back.
Do you feel that celebrating at weddings is one of the best ways to channel positivity?
Weddings done properly are such wonderful celebrations of hope and love. It's really easy to get tied up in all the rules and traditions of weddings and make them not that fun. All they really need to be is a big party with enough to eat and drink and hopefully not too many people are sick in a bush. Only one person was sick in a bush at our wedding so I see that as a success. Weddings can remind you of what you haven't got if you're not careful. I've been to weddings before and felt kind of lonely. They can be one of those traditional markers of how well your life is going and if you don't have a life that fits into that pretty rigid path then being a guest at a wedding can make you feel a bit blue, I think. But a good wedding is joyous and uplifting - it's about two people saying 'I'm betting on you and me' with hope and positivity. There are lots of bad days but a wedding is one of the good ones.
Lucy Frederick’s Big Fat Wedding, Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose (Coorie), 3.40pm, 3-28th (not 16)