Rebel Wilsons Journey From Fat to Fit Will Inspire You

25 min

There’s no doubt that Rebel Wilson is one of the best comedic actresses today. But her journey to Hollywood has been anything but easy, and with it, she defied the odds showing that you don’t have to fit into the industry’s beauty ideal to make it.

But along the way, her physical appearance, which made her instantly recognizable and desirable as an actress, ended up getting in the way of her relationships and health. After staying a certain size to please Hollywood, Rebel Wilson, decided to take control of her physical and mental health, letting her fans in for every step of the journey. And she had a special someone in her life to support her throughout the process.

How did Rebel Wilson pave her way into Hollywood and how did she transform her life in the process? Let’s take a deeper look into Rebel’s life.

Humble Beginnings

Rebel Wilson was born Melanie Elizabeth Bownds in Sydney, Australia in 1980 to professional dog handlers and showers. But from an early age, Rebel Wilson knew that she was destined for a life much bigger than following in her parents’ footsteps of showing dogs.

The future actress ended up changing her name in 2002 to Rebel Wilson. Rebel’s mom actually initially wanted to name her daughter Rebel, after a student who sang at her wedding, but her father didn’t approve.

But making her way to the top would take more than a name change.Humble Beginnings

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

A Disney Connection

Rebel had an ordinary childhood, growing up in the suburbs of Castle Hill and attending the Tara Anglican School for Girls. Despite going to a private school, Wilson’s family wasn’t super rich and they paid for their daughter’s tuition with their mother-in-law’s help.

Even though she came from an unknown family, Rebel claims that her great aunt is Lillian Bounds, who was married to Walt Disney. The actress even testified to it in court but it’s been disputed by genealogist Dale Sheridan.

Regardless of if this is true or not, Rebel would later prove that she didn’t need famous family genes to become a star.A Disney Connection

Image by Jim Smeal/BEI/Shutterstock (2761024db)

Academic Beginnings

While Rebel would go on to be known for being a comedic actress, acting wasn’t her first career choice—it was math.

“I was very academic at high school and was always good with numbers”, she told The Sydney Morning Herald.

It was during her next chapter of life that Rebel would find out she was destined for life in the spotlight. And the realization was about to come to her in the most peculiar way that was fitting for the plot of a Hollywood movie.Academic Beginnings

Image by Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock (1295425k)

Big Dreams

In 1998, Rebel was a Rotary International Youth Ambassador for Australia, based in South Africa. While there, she came down with a severe strain of malaria and that’s when her future came to her.

In a malaria-induced hallucination from her intensive care bed, Rebel saw herself as a famous actress winning an Oscar and rapping her acceptance speech. That’s when she decided to give acting a shot.

“I was very ill and when you have to lie down for a month it makes you think about life. The whole African experience [took me away from] an academic path and made me want to do something more creative. It helped me to become focused on entertaining others,” Rebel explained to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Who could have thought that this dream would propel her into a career in Hollywood?Big Dreams

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Living Her Dream

To make this dream a reality, Rebel returned to Australia and studied at the Australian Theatre for Young People. She later appeared with the Sydney Theatre Company and performed at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

But when Wilson seriously started pursuing acting in Australia, she had a lot of trouble booking roles. She saw her friends getting jobs and was very frustrated that it wasn’t happening for her. Yet after seeing an agent for a meeting, she learned why she wasn’t landing roles—her looks.

“He said, ‘Well, you’re not going to get a job on ‘Home and Away’ as a bikini beach babe,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

Wilson realized she would have to take matters into her own hands and launch her career in another way.Living Her Dream

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Not Booking Work in Australia

At 22 years old, the actress decided to get her start in acting and as she couldn’t book gigs, she took matters to her own hands and wrote, produced, and starred in her very own play titled The Westie Monologues.

The play was exactly the big break she needed—not only was it her first experience in the industry, it helped her come to the public’s attention and she even earned critical acclaim.

And that was just the beginning of her star potential as she had follow-up productions which included Spunks and Confessions of an Exchange Student.

Now that the rising star paved her way into the industry, what was next?Not Booking Work in Australia

Image by BDG/Shutterstock (1255243d)

Traveling to New York

Bigger and better things were on the horizon for the emerging actress and in 2003, she traveled to New York City to attend a comedy and film workshop run by the New York Film Academy and Second City Television after being awarded the Australian Theatre for Young People scholarship. The scholarship was actually funded by none other than Hollywood actress and fellow Aussie, Nicole Kidman.

And this once in a lifetime opportunity wasn’t even the biggest thing waiting for Rebel Wilson. She was about to break into the world of television and film in her native country.Traveling to New York

Image by David Fisher/Shutterstock (4301801bw)

Fame in Australia

During the 2000s, Rebel Wilson starred in tons of Australian TV series and films. Her breakout role was in the SBS comedy series Pizza where she starred as Toula from 2003-2007 and she played the role in the 2003 film based on the series titled Fat Pizza. While starring in the series, she was also a regular on the sketch comedy series The Wedge playing many characters including Lucy, Fat Mandi, and Karla Bangs.

Some of her other roles included starring in the films Ghost Rider and Bargain and the TV series Thank God You’re HereBorgan Pride, and Monster House.

And this was just the beginning for the up-and-coming actress.Fame in Australia

Screenshot from “Ghost Rider”

First Hollywood Role

And soon enough, the Hollywood agencies started calling. Rebel was about to land her first Hollywood role!

You may remember Rebel Wilson from 2011’s Bridesmaids. What you probably didn’t know is that Rebel auditioned for the role that ultimately went to Mellissa McCarthy. But producer Judd Apatow and director Paul Feig were so impressed by the Australian actress that they created a part especially for her.

“I really could have ended up having zero lines in that … It did pop, and people went: ‘She’s interesting. We want to see more of that girl,” she explained to The Daily Telegraph.

And while she was only in four short scenes, playing Matt Lucas’ lookalike sister, within the first week of the film’s release, Rebel signed onto five new films.First Hollywood Role

Image by Stewart Cook/Shutterstock (1310628ai)

“Pitch Perfect”

One of those movies happened to be 2012’s Pitch Perfect. Rebel was in fact the first one cast in the ensemble for the film where she played Fat Amy, a sluggish rude Australian who is a member of the Barden Bellas. She starred in the film with Anna Kendrick, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, and Adam DeVine.

In the film, when she introduces herself to the Bellas she says she calls herself Fat Amy “So twig bi—es like you don’t do it behind my back.”“Pitch Perfect”

Screenshot from “Pitch Perfect”

Critical Acclaim

Not only did Pitch Perfect end up being a huge box office success that two follow-up films were released, but Rebel also received critical acclaim for her role as Fat Amy.

In 2012, she was nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award and at the 2013 MTV Movie Award she was nominated for three awards and went home with two—one for Best Breakthrough Performance and a shared award with her cast for Best Musical Moment. That same year she was also nominated for three Teen Choice Awards and won for Choice Movie Actress: Comedy.

While she received rave reviews from fans, what was it like for Rebel playing a character named Fat Amy?Critical Acclaim

Image by Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock (2295932z)

Fat Amy

There’s no doubt that Fat Amy is an extremely likeable character and we can’t help but laugh at her misfortunes like when she’s participating in the group’s running exercise and is caught doing “horizontal running” or when her catsuit splits at the crotch when she’s performing for the President.

But what was it like for Rebel playing the character? “Even when I’m playing someone named Fat Amy, it’s all about confidence and attitude,” Rebel said.

But along with the rave reviews that she got for playing Fat Amy, people also started commenting about her weight.Fat Amy

Screenshot from “Pitch Perfect”

Other Film Roles

Soon after Pitch Perfect, Rebel Wilson landed roles in other films including BacheloretteSmall ApartmentsStruck By LighteningWhat to Expect When You’re ExpectingHow to Be SingleIsn’t It Romantic, and The Hustle.

But all of the characters she was playing seemed to have something in common—Rebel’s always the funny, over-the-top, chubby, best friend who is passed over as a love interest and adds comedic value to films.

How does Rebel feel about being typecast as these characters?Other Film Roles

Image by Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock (4300856p)

Playing Bigger Characters

Early on, Rebel realized that if she was funny, she had to be the funniest. In fact, when she wrote her first play, she cast alongside herself another girl who was bigger than her and she noticed that people were laughing at the girl. This made her think about how she could get more laughs.

“I thought: ‘How can I get more laughs? Maybe if I was a bit fatter …’ And then suddenly I was fatter, and doing comedy,’” she recalled to The Daily Telegraph.

She started seeing her size as a positive.

“I saw my size as being an advantage,” she says, “whereas so many women see it as a disadvantage.”

But this didn’t stop Rebel from still having her doubts about her size.Playing Bigger Characters

Image by Toby Hancock/Shutterstock (4452195bz)

Being Pretty and Funny

Fat Amy is so much more than just a character—Rebel has paved the way for other comedians who don’t fit in with Hollywood’s beauty standards.

“When I first started, I never felt that you could look good, because there’s this notion that men can’t laugh at women who are pretty–they find it too threatening. So at first I wanted to play Fat Amy as a complete feral. I thought if I had my hair and makeup done, it would make me less funny. I was wrong,” Rebel shared with The Guardian.

But soon enough, being the funny chubby friend, just wasn’t enough for Rebel.Being Pretty and Funny

Image by Willi Schneider/Shutterstock (4734694d)

Year of Love

Rebel’s love life is actually pretty similar to the one from her movie Isn’t It Romantic. She isn’t that experience in love.

So, she decided to make 2019 her “Year of Love”.

Throughout the year, she went out and dated a lot of different people and put all of her effort into finding love.

“Last year was the year of love, that’s why maybe I’m still so obsessed with dating and stuff because I deliberately went out and I dated a lot of different people …. And so I went out and just gave it my all, tried really hard to find love and stuff,” she told People in 2020.Year of Love

Image via @rebelwilson/IG


What is Rebel looking for in a partner? “[I’m looking for a guy with] definitely some kind of strength. I I feel like I could beat them in a jelly wrestling competition, then maybe that’s not the dude for me,” the actress told Us.

In March 2019 she was seen attending Cats‘ screening, which she also starred in, with The Anheuser-Busch brewing dynasty’s Jacob Busch. Around the same time, she was also seeing Beacher Media Group founder Jeff Beacher and the two made their relationship official in May 2019.

And love wasn’t the only thing Rebel was focusing on in 2019.Dating

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

VivaMayr Wellness Center

In late 2019, Rebel traveled to Australia and booked a stay at the well-known wellness center VivaMayr, which uses the Mayr Method and emphasizes daily fitness.

The Mayr Method aims to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. It includes doubling down on fiber-rich staples, reducing gluten and dairy intake, and chewing food for longer. The meals feature whole foods that are high in alkaline like veggies, sheep’s milk, and fresh fish.

While staying at the clinic, Rebel had “amazing results”, the source told People.VivaMayr Wellness Center

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Year of Health

After finished her program at VivaMayr in late 2019, Rebel decided to dedicate 2020 to her “Year of Health”.

“For the last few years, I’ve been theme-ing my years. So, I had the ‘Year of Fun,’ last year was my ‘Year of Love,’ and this year it’s going to be the ‘Year of Health’ because I turned 40 this year in March,” Rebel said in an interview on The Drew Barrymore Show.

“I never really focused on my health, which was probably obvious. I was going all around the world jet-setting everywhere, and eating a ton of sugar. That was kind of my vice.”

The actress even documented the whole thing on Instagram so fans could be part of her journey.Year of Health

Image by Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock (10229607bg)

Announcing Resolutions

“Okay so for me 2020 is going to be called ‘The Year of Health’—so I put on the athleisure and went out for a walk, deliberately hydrating on the couch right now and trying to avoid the sugar and junk food which is going to be hard after the holidays I’ve just had but I’m going to do it! Who’s with me in making some positive changes this year?” the actress wrote on Instagram on January 2.

And so, Rebel set herself a goal weight of 75 kilos or about 165 pounds, so she would have a tangible way to keep track of her goal.

Why did Rebel choose 2020 as the Year of Health?Announcing Resolutions

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Paid to Stay Bigger

For Rebel, the year of health wasn’t about losing weight or reaching a certain number on the scale, it was as much about being mentally healthy as it was about being physically healthy.

For years, the actress was paid to stay a certain size, which took a toll on her wellbeing.

“It’s not like I want to lose weight and get to around a certain number … it’s about dealing mentally with why I was overeating and I had a job where I was paid a lot of money to be bigger, at times which kind of can mess with your head a bit,” Rebel explained to The Sun.Paid to Stay Bigger

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Holistic Approach

To get in shape both mentally and physically, Rebel took a holistic approach. Instead of obsessing about her weight and an arbitrary number on a scale, she chose to focus on her nutrition and exercise to become an overall healthier person on the inside and outside.

She put in the hard work and started incorporating healthy practices into her overall lifestyle, which wasn’t an easy process.

So, what changes did Rebel make towards this path of leading a healthier lifestyle?Holistic Approach

Image by Anthony Harvey/BAFTA/Shutterstock (10543585ez)

Changing Eating Habits

Prior to starting her wellness journey, Rebel ate almost 3,000 calories a day, which mostly consisted of carbohydrates. And even after she was finished eating, she was still hungry.

Now, she’s working on retraining her bad eating habits. She’s staying under 1,500 calories and following a high protein diet, which includes lots of fish and chicken breast, and she makes sure to drink tons of water.

The actress is also a huge fan of mindful eating, which is when you feel satisfied you stop eating.Changing Eating Habits

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Emotional Eating

One of the hardest things for Rebel was working on her emotional eating, which she did to cope with the stress of being a movie star.

“I think what I really suffered from was emotional eating and dealing with the stress of becoming famous internationally. There is a lot of stress that comes with it, and I guess my way of dealing with it was just eating doughnuts,” she said on The Drew Barrymore Show.

After years of emotional eating, Rebel was finally starting to value herself.Emotional Eating

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Everything in Moderation

For Rebel, she’s all about moderation and no food is off-limits. As a kid, she used to eat fast food several times a week and prior to starting her Year of Health she was consuming almost 3,000 calories a day, mostly consisting of carbs.

While she still follows the Mayr Method, which is pretty restrictive, the actress has found a healthy balance and she enjoys eating some of her favorite foods. Nothing is forbidden—If she’s craving a burger, she’ll still eat it, but now she’ll eat half of it, along with some fries of course.Everything in Moderation

Image via @rebelwilson/IG


But healthy eating was only half of it, Rebel also got really into fitness. Like everything she does in life, she puts in 100% when training. She trains with celebrity trainer Jono Castano seven days a week! Yep, you read that right; SEVEN days!

Her training is 60-minutes long and includes cardio, interval training, and TRX training. Rebel’s even posted herself flipping tires and doing battle ropes on Instagram. And trust us when we say, the workouts are intense.

When she doesn’t have time to fit in a training session due to her busy schedule, she hikes or sprints.Exercising

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Cracking Jokes While Working Out

And she’s still the same old Rebel—cracking jokes along the way.

“Starting the week off right! Look out @chrishemsworth & @liamhemsworth Australia’s latest action hero is turning it up!”, she captioned a video doing flipping tires with her trainer cheering her on.

We certainly wouldn’t mind another film with Rebel Wilson and her Isn’t It Romantic costar Liam Hemsworth.

Can you imagine how epic that action film would be? With Rebel anything is possible!Cracking Jokes While Working Out

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Favorite Exercise

Even though Rebel has an amazing trainer, her favorite exercise is walking. And while she’s walking, she enjoys listening to audio books, playlists, and podcasts.

“I’m in a lucky position … I do have access to really amazing personal trainers but I want you guys to know that the majority of the exercise that I’ve done this year has just been me going out for a walk,” she said. “That is free, you can do it, it’s safe,” Rebel said on Instagram Live.Favorite Exercise

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

She’s Still Funny

Rebel even makes time for fitness while traveling in style. In September, while on a yacht the actress shared her workout routine when she travels on Instagram and the actress demonstrated herself doing bicep curls with 4.5 liters of Gray Goose vodka, calling it the “Monaco routine”.

She even suggests putting the vodka over your shoulder and running up and down the stairs with it.

While the video is a good laugh, Rebel’s lifting game is on point. She’s funny and strong—now that’s a dangerous combination in Hollywood!She’s Still Funny

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Dating Life

Rebel hasn’t been on this health and fitness journey alone—she’s had a very special person by her side along the way to cheer her on.

In 2019 during her Year of Love, Rebel went on many dates, two of which were with Anheuser-Busch brewing dynasty Jacob Busch and Beacher Media Group founder Jeff Beacher. She made her relationship with Beacher official in May 2019, but the two didn’t last long.

In September 2020, she revealed that she was seeing Busch again by sharing an adorable photo on Instagram of the pair together boarding a helicopter with Helen Mirren and Kate Beckinsale. Talk about a star-studded plane!

The couple made their red carpet debut not long after, attending the Monte-Carlo Gala For Planetary Health in Monaco.Dating Life

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Size Isn’t Everything

Rebel made sure to let fans know that you don’t have to look a certain way to get a boyfriend. When someone asked her during an Instagram Live session if “the hot guy on your Instagram is your boyfriend” the actress confirmed it and added, “So that goes to show you, ladies: you don’t have to be a certain size to get a boyfriend.”Size Isn't Everything

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Shared Interests

Rebel’s even posted photos of her and her boyfriend working out together on Instagram. Jacob’s very health conscious and the two motivate each other to stay healthy.

And it’s not just fitness that makes the couple a great match—both are very successful in their own fields.

“This is the first guy she’s met who is a match for her humor and personality. Someone who has his own life and success and isn’t intimidated by her. He’s entrepreneurial and they’re both very business-minded”, friends of the couple shared with People.Shared Interests

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Returning to VivaMayr

To end 2020 on a strong note, Rebel went back to the place it all began—VivaMayr.

After working on project after project, the actress booked another stay at the wellness center to lose the last two kilos (approximately 4.5 pounds) of her goal weight of 75 kilos or about 165 pounds.

While there, she swam laps in the resort pool, went on lakeside hikes, and relaxed in the steam room.

“Enjoying a morning walk amongst health treatments at the glorious @vivamayraltaussee. Finishing my Year of Health off STRONG at the place that gave me that first kick-start,” Rebel posted on Instagram in November.Returning to VivaMayr

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Reaching Her Goal

After working hard all year, Rebel revealed on November 29 that she reached her goal with one month to spare!

She revealed the news on her Instagram Story while emphasizing that her goal was never to be super skinny.

“Am I glad that I did it? Yeah … the goal was never to be skinny,” she said. “It was never to fit into a certain dress size. I put in a goal weight there because I needed some tangible thing.”

What an accomplishment!Reaching Her Goal

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Sticking to Goals

And the journey wasn’t easy for Rebel Wilson. At times the actress thought about giving up, but she stuck to her goals.

So, what advice does Rebel have for those starting a wellness journey?

“Even if you have to crawl towards your goals, keep going x it will be worth it. Try and give a little bit of effort each day… I know some days are frustrating as hell, you feel like giving up, you get annoyed at the lack of progress… but good things are coming your way,” the actress wrote on Instagram.Sticking to Goals

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Ending 2020

Rebel Wilson ended 2020 in typical fashion—with an Instagram post. On December 24 she posted a photo of before and after photos writing, “Okay signing off for 2020! I like these two pictures cause together they represent the UPHILL JOURNEY I’ve been on this year with my YEAR OF HEALTH mission.”

She even thanked fans for following her journey while posing the question about what her goals for 2021 should be.

“Guys, now I gotta think: what will my goal/s be for 2021?? Thanks for following my adventures this year and to all the people who made 2020 so special! What are your goals for next year?”Ending 2020

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Fans’ Response

After she posted the December 24 photo, fans were quick to congratulate Wilson and share their experiences with her. Which just proves how much of an inspiration the Pitch Perfect actress is.

“What a great close to a crazy year! So much love for you, Rebs!” director Mark Hapka commented.

Another fan wrote, “Your journey has been the most wholesome thing to see in 2020. Regardless of body size or not your smile is beaming of confidence and self assurance. I have walked the same path and it is not easy! I just wanna commend you.”Fans’ Response

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

How It’s Changed Her Career

2020 was about so much more than getting fit and healthy for Rebel Wilson, the year was never about trying to get skinnier, it was always about being healthier. And in the process, the actress gained control of her life, which will help her professionally as well.

“I feel more in control. I get to produce movies now—which is amazing—and have more control over the content. Everything seems to be coming together,” Rebel said on The Drew Barrymore Show.How It’s Changed Her Career

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Future Projects

What’s Rebel Wilson got in store for 2021?

The actress will put her background of growing up with dogs to good use hosting the U.S. version of the hit dog grooming show Pooch Perfect.

She hosted the Australian version of the show in November 2020 and the U.S. series will be eight episodes featuring 10 of the best dog groomers in the country and their assistant, competing in outlandish themed challenges.

We can’t wait for Rebel Wilson to show of her new, fabulous look and crack some jokes along the way!Future Projects

Image via @rebelwilson/IG

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
The Classic Internet Listicles
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Photo or GIF
GIF format