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This Is Why Sarah Paulson Hates Wearing Pants

Getty Images/Courtesy of the Hammer Museum
Sarah Paulson

Even gorgeous actresses have body image issues ("I actually have ass-phobia," says Paulson), but power stylist Karla Welch is pushing her to embrace her figure.

There’s no easy way to spill it: Sarah Paulson hates wearing pants.

Maybe "hate" is too strong a word, but the actress — currently starring in American Horror Story: Hotel, the latest incarnation of Ryan Murphy’s creepy Fox franchise for which she has scored three Emmy nominations — is not fond of the process of putting her legs into a pair.

"I’m really pant-phobic," Paulson explains to THR during cocktail time at the Hammer Museum’s glitzy Gala in the Garden fundraiser (honoring her close friend Diane Keaton and artist Paul McCarthy and sponsored by fashion house Bottega Veneta) Oct. 10 in Westwood.

See more Our 10 Favorite Looks from the Hammer Museum's Gala in the Garden

It’s a condition one could imagine the versatile actress nailing given the AHS storyline (remember, she played conjoined twins last season and this season is drug addict Hypodermic Sally), but she doesn’t need a writer to craft any sartorial solutions to sort out the issue.

"I’m working with a new stylist who is really pushing the pants, but it’s a rare occasion that you’ll see it," Paulson explains of her new red-carpet relationship in the form of power stylist Karla Welch, who also works with Olivia Wilde and Amy Poehler. "I actually have ass-phobia, but Karla has been pushing me to be more bold. She’s saying, 'The time is now and you’re a beautiful woman and you can rock it, what’s your problem?'"

Paulson then laughs because she knows what the problem is: "I’m scared."

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But there is a valid reason for Paulson’s fear, one that many females can relate to if they’re among the masses who hold up the media’s ideal of what a woman should look like. “There is this normal ‘Hollywood girl, Barbie doll look’ of which I do not fit,” says the 40-year-old Florida native, who, by the way, is wearing a lace Bottega dress with shoulder pads. (“They showed me the collection and I was like, that dress with the shoulder pads — throw that at me right now,” she laughs.) “I have really wonderful people in my life who say, ‘You need to do this and stop talking to yourself in that way.’ "

Changing the dialogue starts and ends with honesty, Paulson concludes.


FROM LEFT: Elizabeth Banks, Sarah Paulson and Selma Blair in Bottega Veneta looks. (Getty Images courtesy of Hammer Museum)

“People like to talk about the way that they look as if it is sort of all God-given. I don’t like people who pretend that they are not working hard at it. It doesn’t come naturally to me to be lean. It’s better to say that then to pretend that I just fell off the truck that way because I didn’t,” says Paulson, joined at the Hammer by her longtime best friend, Amanda Peet, in a complementary lace Bottega creation. (Also wearing Bottega and mingling with the fashion house’s Tomas Maier were Julia Roberts, Elizabeth Banks, Emma Stone, Salma Hayek, Matt Bomer, Selma Blair, Mia Maestro and Kiernan Shipka.)

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“Sometimes you have to really work at it, and I’m working at it. I wish I had someone who said, ‘I’m working at this and I’m doing leg lifts and pushing my ass into the air because I want to feel strong and toned.’ I don’t need it to be small, I just want it to be fit. I come from a generation of people who are not tall beanpoles. I come from women who are Southern women — women who are full breasted and full assed. Really just women. In Hollywood, that’s not really been allowed. So I try to straddle what is healthy for me and what my body wants to look like but also being strong and fit.”


GOOD TIMES: Sarah Paulson and Diane Keaton toast the occasion in style. (Getty Images courtesy of Hammer Museum)

That means having her food delivered and working out, despite how difficult that may be. “It’s a slog,” she jokes. “I don’t really want to do it, but I want to be healthy and live long and act until the end of my days. If I want to do all of those things, I have to participate in the kind of lifestyle that isn’t necessarily comfortable for me.”

Read more Diane Keaton Confused by Hammer Museum Honor: 'What Have I Done to Warrant It?'

What's easier is spending the night with her best friend at a fancy museum gala for a chic girls’ night out. “We get to wear matching Bottega dresses with shoulder pads and lace and we have a tequila and then by 8:30 p.m., we say, ‘This is a big night out and it's time to go home.’ ”


BESTIES: Sarah Paulson poses with Amanda Peet, both in Bottega Veneta. (Getty Images courtesy of Hammer Museum)

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