Beyoncé thought an original 'Austin Powers' poster made her too skinny: 'It's not me'

A woman with curly brown hair posing in a sparkly fringe dress
A woman with curly brown hair posing in a sparkly fringe dress  

Beyoncé was not satisfied with her appearance in the original movie poster for "Austin Powers in Goldmember."

According to Vulture's recent retrospective on the cult classic, which turns 20 this summer, the actor and singer voiced concerns on set that early marketing materials for the project made her appear unrealistically thin. In the third installment of the "Austin Powers" franchise, a young Beyoncé played chic FBI agent and nightclub singer Foxxy Cleopatra, a Pam Grier-esque character modeled after divas of the blaxploitation film genre.

"When we were shooting, someone brought [Beyoncé] a poster that would be promoting the movie," makeup artist Kate Biscoe recalled for the piece.

"He showed it to her, like, 'Do you like it?' And she was kind of like, 'Yeah.' He goes, 'What's the matter?' And she says, 'You made me too skinny. It's not me.' Then she did this hourglass shape. And he said, 'OK, we'll fix that.'"

When the "Say My Name" hitmaker was out of earshot, Biscoe inquired, "'Is that the first time you've ever had an actress ask to make her body bigger?' He was like, 'Yes. It's going to cost me thousands of dollars, but I am going to do it.'"

While preparing to star in "Goldmember," Beyoncé "put herself on a really tough physical regimen and diet" of 1,200 calories per day, according to producer John Lyons.

"She and [her parents] Matthew and Tina were keenly aware of the expectations that both the music business and Hollywood frequently have for how young, beautiful women should look and were smart about making those ideas work to their ends," Lyons told Vulture.

At the time "Goldmember" was filmed, Beyoncé had established herself as the breakout star of girl group Destiny's Child and was poised to embark on a solo career pending the release of the pop trio's final album. (Her song on the "Goldmember" soundtrack, "Work It Out," technically counts as her first solo single, a year before "Crazy in Love" ascended to the top of the music charts.)

Back then, the multihyphenate entertainer still went professionally by her full name, Beyoncé Knowles, and had only appeared in one other movie.

"We knew that we were searching for a young Black actress," Lyons recounted. "I was originally a casting director and always loved looking at musicians for parts, and I remember Sharon Sheinwold Jackson, the agent, telling me that the lead singer for Destiny's Child was really special."

By all accounts included in the Vulture article, Beyoncé was a consummate professional on the set of "Austin Powers," albeit a little nervous.

"She became this incredible light" while filming her musical number for the movie, said Candy Walken, head of the hair department. "She was 19 years old and had such command of that stage when she stepped onto it. None of us really knew why they'd chosen her for this character, and then we understood."

Vulture's oral history of Beyoncé's role in "Austin Powers" comes weeks after the release of the single "Break My Soul," from the singer's upcoming seventh studio album. The artist's latest record, "Renaissance," is set to arrive July 29.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.


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