Do the absurd diets of Hollywood actors reflect who they are as people?


The absurd, indomitable and down-right cartoonish celebrity diet is itself a staple of popular entertainment. On one level, we like to scoff, thinking ourselves so superior. Surely we’d never be so vain, or consumed by work, to subject ourselves to such torture? No! We’re the sensible ones, with our pastry-punctuated no-carb diets and our electric Abdominizers secured safely in the attic – under a layer of protective dust.

But we know we doth protest too much! There is no human being alive, for instance, who would be able to look at the positively mountainous midriff of Chris Hemsworth or the atom-splitting cheekbones of Keira Knightly and not feel themselves to be in the presence of something approaching the 21st century’s Sistine Chapel.

And so, we love and loath the perfect celebrity actor and their perfect and miserable celebrity diet.  It’s both beneath us and above us. It’s something to sneer at and aspire to – just like celebdom itself. But might there be even more to the Hollywood celeb diet than meets the eye? Even more, perhaps, than I’ve been able to wring out of this intro? Surely not. Alright – I’ll cut to the chase.

The extreme diets of Hollywood actors say more about them as artists than they do about them as the playthings of personal trainers and nutritionists. We’ll be taking a look at what this means with some key emblems in the celeb world. Let’s start off with an easy one.

Jennifer Lawrence

Source: Jennifer Lawrence is so Perfect via Facebook

Jennifer Lawrence the person and Jennifer Lawrence the actress seem like completely different people. But are they woven together by Jennifer Lawrence the diet? It seems so. I’ve always had trouble reconciling Lawrence’s phenomenal range as an actor with her one-of-you-guys interview persona. I’ve always believed anyone capable of playing a superhero in a big cooperate franchise (that’s Mystique in X-Men for the rock-dwellers among you) as well as she did (very well, come out from under that rock!) while still being totally believable in Indie classics like Winter’s Bone, makes her some kind of superhuman.

She cannot be down to earth or folksy at all. Can she? But how did supposedly pizza-loving Jen get in Hemsworth-ian shape for her own superhero caper? Completely naturally, as it turns out. I’ll spare you the details, but she basically ate much healthier versions of all the rubbish she usually eats. Think air-popped popcorn and high-cocoa chocolate ice-cream. Thus Jen’s persona is born out in her diet – she is one of us.

Hugh Jackman

After seeing Jackman appear on The Graham Norton show alongside Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, I was struck by the contrast between his bubbly demeanour and the terse, prickly nature of most of his roles. Jackman was spotted at a Halal food festival in preparation for his new role in Angry Man Who Never Speaks. You needn’t have, Hugh – they do delivery. But possibly adopting a religious dietary restriction is not the only way Hugh has restrained himself for future roles. In addition to heavy gym sessions and dehydration tactics, Jackman is a faster – going without food sixteen hours in every twenty-four. Does his diet point to a kind of self-erasure? A psychiatrist would say no; I say yes.

Russell Crowe

I include this last because I feel my celeb-diet analysis techniques have become too persuasive. I must be challenged. For Gladiator, Russell Crowe opted for a gluten-free diet, which is now something lots of people do. However, we all know that Russell Crowe is a terrifying madman – back to the drawing board.