Two kids and a neuroscience doctorate down, the actress formerly known as Blossom Russo has decided to get back into acting. Obviously, as mentioned by Hortense, she called Clinton and Stacy. There was just one problem:
Writes Bialik in Tablet,
The WNTW producers asked if I have any clothing restrictions. Deep breath. "I don't wear pants," I told them. "I prefer skirts." You see, I am what I guess you'd call a Conservadox Jew. I started embracing certain aspects of Jewish modesty, or tzniut, before my second son was born, and although I know many Orthodox women who don't observe tzniut, the boundaries and framework of privacy it provides appealed to me.
Although Bialik isn't that strict - she doesn't, for instance, refuse to wear 3/4 sleeves - her demands do put a bit of a kink in WNTW's style. It's a smart, well-written piece, but there are two kind of hilarous parts. I think - but am not positive - that the following is deliberately tongue-in-cheek.
Growing up, I lived a pretty normal life; I had my own prime-time network TV show from the ages of 14 to 19, which meant my physical appearance and clothing choices were dissected on a weekly basis in gossip magazines and on television.
But this, I'm sure, isn't: "During the days of the sheva brachot, the seven traditional feasts celebrated in the days after the chuppah ceremony, I tentatively covered my head with scarves and crocheted hats." Tentatively? Blossom lived in hats! Hell, she made them a thing! I had a sunflower hat!
Anyway, one has to wonder if WNTW was the only way she could smarten up her act; she's not the first actor, after all, who's used it as an optimistic bit of new-push PR. But hell, we'd do the show if it meant we could hang out with Clinton and Stacey! And we wouldn't even give them any problems about wearing the satin reveal dress, or the A-line skirt, or the nipped-in jacket that shows off the waist and the girls! Indeed, it's always seemed a bit irrational for those who knowingly agree to the makeovers - as opposed to those intransigent types humiliated into it by secret footage - to give the team a lot of problems. But in the case of religious objections? It doesn't seem like anything the dynamic duo couldn't surmount.
So, how'd it go? Well:
I got wonderful new clothes, jewelry, and vegan shoes (one of my other preferences). When we filmed me revealing the final outfits they picked, I gently pointed out that skirts above the knee are not something I'd wear, and that I wouldn't wear sleeveless shirts or dresses without something to cover my arms once I left the set. When the show aired, I saw that my qualifications and explanations did not survive the cutting room...I don't wish to claim that there is an "immodest agenda" on WNTW. It's a show for the average American, who is most likely not Jewish, and if she is Jewish, she's most likely not observant. In spite of the fact that the hosts kept telling me that I needed to be "sexy" and not "hide" in my clothing, I loved being a part of the show. They were right to encourage me to wear clothing that was my size, and to emphasize my figure where it needed emphasizing. But sexy doesn't necessarily mean scantily-clad.
The final twist is that when Bialik does go in for a part, it's that of a Hasid. So it's hard to say who wins the battle of wills. But our money is usually on Stacey and Clinton.
What Not to Wear - Season Premiere Sneak Peek [YouTube]
Blossom's Mayim Bialik: I Needed a Makeover! [People]
Related: Jezebel Faceoff: Blossom Russo Vs. Clarissa Darling