Aidy Bryant may be best known for over-the-top musical parodies or biting political caricatures on Saturday Night Live, but the comedian’s latest project is far more down-to-earth — and personal.
Bryant has a key role in the rom-com I Feel Pretty, which stars Amy Schumer as an insecure woman who hits her head and wakes up thinking she’s the most gorgeous girl in the world; Bryant and Busy Philipps play her best friends, who try to keep her head (at all other times) in check. “I find that when I’m with my friends, I’m never thinking like, ‘Ooh, my thigh is wide,’ or like, ‘My stomach is big,’ or whatever,” Bryant says with a laugh. “I’m always just thinking: ‘My friends are beautiful! They’re so funny, they’re so smart, they’re making me laugh.’”
Some audiences are curious whether I Feel Pretty perpetuates negative stereotypes about body type and beauty, but Bryant says the film’s message isn’t about specific standards — it’s about self-confidence. “The movie really tells the story that the battle is in the brain, and it’s not at the gym or in the mirror,” she says. “It’s in your mind, and I hope that’s what people take away from it.”
Ever since joining SNL in 2012, at age 25, Bryant has found herself a sort of accidental activist for body positivity, just by working in the public eye.
“It is a weird thing to grapple with when I just want to make people laugh,” Bryant, now 30, admits. “But I realize now that’s a luxury, and there’s so much work to be done.”
She says she’s often sent scripts where “the entire plotline is that no man would ever fall in love with me unless a magic spell was cast on him,” so she only picks projects that take advantage of her comedic voice (like The Big Sick and Girls) and don’t use her body as a punchline. “It would be weird for me to be in this position and never acknowledge that I look different from, like, 90 percent of my costars,” she adds. “That’s my greatest strength. It gives me a point of view, and I couldn’t do it without it.”
I Feel Pretty is in theaters April 20.