Margaret Cho Embraces Her Age and Size

At 43, the hilarious comedian has moved past anorexia and bulimia and feels sexy doing it. Read the edited version of our interview with her below about her role on "Drop Dead Diva," the stand-up show she's headlining and how the two promote what she's learned to believe in

by Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
margaret cho image
Photograph: Sony Pictures Television

More: Congratulations on another successful season of Drop Dead Diva.
Margaret Cho: Thank you. I think we are all really happy with it and the finale. There were a lot of twists and turns that took our audience on quite a ride.

More: So many people think of you as a stand-up comedian on the live stage. What sparked your interest in joining this cast?
MC: I love the show and I loved the concept behind it. We, as women, are put in so many different categories, like Are pretty or are we going to be smart. This show allows a character to be both and prove you don’t have to conform to society and pick just one, because you can be all things. The message here is you have the power to be everything.

More: Plus it also proves size isn’t everything.
MC: I rarely see anyone on television that I can identify with physically. So many people on TV are way outside of my realm; I just could not visualize myself like that. On Drop Dead Diva, I think our characters are real and relatable women. You can look at them and see how beautiful all people can be. Our lead character is someone I can relate to, and when you are watching a show, you as a member of the audience want to relate to the character you are watching. To put someone in a lead role like that on TV is both rewarding and validating.

More: Speaking of stand-up shows, you are headlining “Mother,” which centers around how society looks at maternal figures and strong women in queer culture. Why do a show about motherhood when you aren’t a mom yourself?
MC: My show is a lot about my mom and the influence she had on me and my career. I wanted to put all of these different stories together and do a tribute to her. Also, now, at 43, I am at a point in my life where I feel as if I am in a maternal place. I know people view me as a maternal figure, which I think is great.

More: Age has something to do with that?
MC: When you get to your forties, you wonder if you are still sexually viable, when people see you as a maternal figure. I think I am, but I have to say that to myself. I always have to reinforce that idea because women in our society, or at least in the acting world, often become invisible after the age of 40. A lot of times you have the young girlfriend roles, and then as you get older there are different opportunities, but I feel there are not a lot of choices during the in-between period. I think people are finally realizing the importance of this time by making sure we as women stay viable and sexy.

More: What makes you feel sexy?
MC: What makes me feel sexy is appreciating my age and my wisdom. I also take care of my body in a way that is appropriate. I am not necessarily in desperate need to be super skinny. I did the anorexia and bulimia when I was in my twenties to be thin. Now I am too old to mess around with food, so I have to come at it from a more holistic point of view.

More: Such as?
MC: I am into yoga and I have learned the many different ways to appreciate food, such as cooking. Now I spend time with food so I can have a healthy relationship with it. Look, it took me about 40 years to get to this place, and for the first time I am really comfortable with it.

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