Beyoncé was barely in her twenties when superstardom led her to her most memorable movie role as Foxxy Cleopatra in 2002's Austin Powers in Goldmember. But the now 40-year-old megastar was clearly ahead of the times back then, when she says she called out the inappropriate marketing decision to slim down her curvy frame in the official movie poster.
Thanks to Vulture’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of the spy comedy flick, which happens to focus mostly on Beyoncé’s contributions to her character, fans are getting some extremely relevant behind-the-scenes gems. Makeup artist Kate Biscoe spilled the beans about the infamous Austin Powers movie poster that the publicity team had signed off on, thinking it was a done deal—until the future Queen Bey rejected the image and called for a re-do.
“When we were shooting, someone brought her a poster that would be promoting the movie. 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, according to Biscoe, the “Crazy in Love” singer simply gestured at her hourglass shape as a reference, prompting the team member to acknowledge they had go back to the drawing board and say, “Okay, we’ll fix that.”
Briscoe recalls Beyoncé returning back to work on set after the exchange, leaving the makeup artist and the marketing executive transfixed by what had just occurred. “She walked away to go do the scene, and I looked at him and smiled, like, ‘Is that the first time that 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.’”
It turned out to be the right call—and major kudos to a celebrity having the foresight to be mindful of how her frame was being marketed to impressionable young fans, who may not always see through those photoshopped illusions.
The real rub, here, is that even before marketing executives chose to slim down her body for the poster, Beyoncé had already been forced to lose weight for the movie. Goldmember producer John Lyons told Vulture that the Grammy-winner had to undergo a “really tough physical regimen and diet” to prepare for the films and was restricted to a 1200-a-day caloric intake. That’s legit insane, but she looked incredible in the film, and it actually boggles the mind that Hollywood still wanted her to be thinner.
Lyons went on to establish that the star’s team at the time was “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.”
Either way, it’s refreshing to know that even at the ingenue stage, Beyoncé was empowered enough to speak up and against erasing what her mama gave her in beautiful abundance.