Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alum Aidy Bryant ’09, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s BA Program in Acting and now a regular cast member on NBC’s Saturday Night Live, is getting lots of media attention for her new series Shrill, now streaming on Hulu. The show, which premiered March 15, was featured in a round of publicity interviews that Bryant did with outlets ranging from Glamour magazine to National Public Radio.
Based on blogger Lindy West’s memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, the show stars Bryant as Annie, a young woman trying to make it as a journalist while the world around her deems her not good enough because of her weight. As Glamour magazine’s entertainment reporter Christopher Rosa puts it in his article “Aidy Bryant Is Living Her Best Life,” published March 11: Annie is “a self-proclaimed fat woman who’s on a mission to love her body exactly as it is.”
Bryant is a co-writer and producer on Shrill as well as its star. “It truly is my baby, and I’m incredibly proud of it,” Bryant says in the Glamour interview. “I really like to write my own stuff. I like to be in there with it and make aesthetic choices. To find my own tone. I’m realizing, ‘Oh, you’ve got to do it yourself if you want to have it a certain way.’ And I like that.”
Glamour writer Christopher Rosa says that Shrill is “a series that pushes plus-size representation forward. . . . On Shrill, Bryant represents fat women proudly. Annie is cool, full stop; she has great friends, a chic fashion sense, an active sex life.” The Glamour interview quotes Bryant: “I don’t know that this show has existed quite yet. . . . There’s something very thrilling about seeing a character who would typically just be the friend, be the lead of the show. . . . I went to a sporty high school [in Phoenix] with a lot of very thin, very athletic girls. I always felt like, I don’t fit in, and I should, and that’s what matters. Then I went to Chicago [to study at Columbia College] and met these girls who were big, like I was, and fashionable and had boyfriends. They didn’t seem encumbered by their own thinking of themselves. I remember being like, Well, I want to be like them. That was a big game changer for me.” To read the whole Glamour interview, click here.
In a March 14 interview on National Public Radio, Bryant — a veteran of Chicago’s Second City comedy theatre and training center as well as Columbia College — told interviewer Terry Gross that “the second I stopped being afraid of someone calling me fat, I was able to start to focus on my goals and my dreams. . . . I think part of what compelled me to want to make this show was I got to Saturday Night Live and I thought, ‘I made it. I made it. I got the dream!’ And then I got there and I would do photo shoots with my castmates, who are smaller women, and they would have 50 dress options and I would arrive and I would have two, and they both looked like something that the mother of the bride would wear — and I was 25 years old. I just felt, like, this isn’t fair, and it’s not my fault. I came here. I did my job. I’m funny. I wrote my way to this position, and now a stylist or a magazine or whoever is responsible, like, it’s their job to dress me, and dress me appropriately for my age. Those were the kind of moments where I was like, ‘I want to talk about this.’ ” To access the whole NPR interview, click here.