Patricia Arquette on sexism in Hollywood: ‘Nobody minds if Jack Nicholson has a potbelly’

Patricia Arquette is opening up about Hollywood’s double standard when it comes to age and beauty.

During an interview with Deadline, Arquette discussed her two Emmy-nominated roles that forced her to undergo a dramatic physical transformation – abusive mom Dee Dee Blanchard in Hulu’s “The Act” and prison worker-turned-criminal Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell in Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora,” both real-life characters. 

“We really haven’t heard the story – or even talked about – females being sexual beings if they don’t look a certain way,” she said in the interview, published Wednesday. 

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This image released by Showtime shows Patricia Arquette in "Escape at Dannemora." Arquette was nominated for an Emmy Award for outstanding lead actress limited series. (Photo: Christopher Saunders, AP)

Arquette said she was challenged to embrace the sexuality of Mitchell while downplaying her own beauty, a double standard she said male actors rarely face. 

“Nobody minds if Jack Nicholson has a potbelly in a movie and is a sexual guy or a playboy. But it’s a different story when you have sexual women that don’t look a certain way,” she said. 

The Oscar-winning actress continued: “Of course, there are millions and millions of women who don’t have that ‘normal’ body type, who have sex and are sexual beings, but we act like there’s a meteor hitting the Earth or something.”

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Patricia Arquette and Joey King in a scene from the Hulu original series "The Act." (Photo: The Motley Fool)

Arquette said she’s not exempt from the pressure to look a certain way in the entertainment industry. 

“It’s like, ‘We’ll hold you to it as long as humanly possible.’ And you go from being an ingenue to the beautiful, she’s-still-got-it-together mom. It’s really not that fun,” she adding, “I just really want to expand the art form and I want us to look at different stories.”

Regardless, Arquette acknowledged that she’s “grateful to be an actor, and to have this opportunity to make a living acting.”

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