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MAR
4
3 YEARS

'GCB' Star Jennifer Aspen: How a Size 4 Becomes TV's 'Chubby Girl'

The former "Glee" and "Party of Five" actress describes the lengths she goes to make sure she's staying true to her curvaceous character on the new ABC series.

Jennifer Aspen GCB Headshot 2012
Bob D'Amico, ABC

ABC’s GCB has been fending off critics regarding its portrayal of Christian women and Dallas society. But, there hasn’t been much uproar over the fact that Jennifer Aspen plays a former beauty queen who has really let herself go since high school.

VIDEO: 'GCB's' Leslie Bibb on Playing a Reformed Mean Girl: 'There's Still a Little GCB Up in Her'

Part of the lack of uproar over Aspen’s portrayal can be attributed to choices the actress who plays Sharon Peacham made after landing the part.

“When I got this role I was a Size 4,” Jennifer Aspen tells The Hollywood Reporter. “And I was happy to have the part, because I love Sharon. She just fits in my heart. You know this character so much. But, it was important to me that we don’t put a Size 4 on television and say, ‘This is the chubby girl.’ ”

Contrary to everything she knows as an actress, Aspen began eating more to gain weight.

VIDEO: 'GCB's' Miriam Shore and Marisa Nichols Discuss Their Characters

“People thought I was crazy,” the former Glee and Party of Five actress says. “It’s crazy to do it. Nobody is asking me to do it. But I felt like this was Sharon and this was the right thing to do, and I had to do it. And it was the first time in the history of my career that I wasn’t trying to diet and lose weight and get into Spanx. And do all that before doing a role, you know?”

Beyond gaining weight, Aspen, 38, says, “I also use padding on the show to enhance my figure to make it even bigger and curvier. I don’t have to wear Spanx, which was a halleluiah for me. And I would choose clothes that weren’t slimming, still beautiful, but not slimming.”

She says that she plans to get back down to her previous size when the show goes on hiatus, but for now she’s proud of all that she’s done to make the character believable.

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“Even what I hopefully will be calling my hiatus weight, back to a Size 4, you know there are a couple of girls on the show that are smaller than that,” she says. “You know, we’ve got a couple of girls that are a two or a zero -- or in Kristin [Chenoweth’s] case, a Gap Kid’s size. So, I just feel very responsible to my characters, I really do. I feel like if I don’t do what I know is right for them -- even if it means my own pride is out the window -- then I’m just a complete a-hole.”

Watch a scene from the premiere below.

 

GCB airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC. For more info, visit the show's site.

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