Louisa Jacobson says Gilded Age corset left her unable to sleep on her side: ‘My ribs were so sore'

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Louisa Jacobson says Gilded Age corset left her unable to sleep on her side: ‘My ribs were so sore’

Louisa Jacobson describes emotional and physical toll of corsets on The Gilded Age

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Louisa Jacobson has opened up about the difficulties of wearing a tight corset for her role in The Gilded Age, with the actor revealing she couldn’t sleep on her side because her ribs “were so sore”.

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Jacobson, 30, reflected on her experience with the constricting garment while filming the HBO series set in New York City during the late 1800s during an appearance on the Reign with Josh Smith podcast this week.

According to Jacobson, who plays Marian Brook on the show, it was especially difficult at the start of filming for the period piece to wear the corset because production was delayed as a result of the pandemic and she had gotten used to wearing loungewear. “It took a long time to get used to that corset after wearing sweatpants for so long,” she said.

Global Tech News Daily

Jacobson then revealed that every day when she took off the corset she was “so grateful,” adding: “And I will never take for granted being a female-identifying person in 2022, who does have the freedom to put on a pair of pants that are kind of loose and call it a day.

“The things women had to do – the corset was crazy.”

During the podcast interview, Jacobson was also asked about the ways in which the garment influenced her thoughts on body image, with the actor revealing she has “internalised beauty standards so intensely” that she asked for the corset to be tightened when she started fittings for the show’s costumes.

“You’ve seen Cinderella, you’ve seen any Disney movie. Have you seen Frozen? Their waists are like the size of my finger. All the main princess characters just have these tiny little waists and you grow up seeing that,” Jacobson said. “I walked on set and I was like, in my fittings too, I was like: ‘Just tighten it. I wanna look snatched.’

“And I really suffered from that decision because they measured and sewed all my, they built my costumes, based on how tight my corset was in the fitting, when I had been really ambitious about making it really tight.”

According to Jacobson, the corset was so tight that she had to ask the show’s costume designers three or four months into shooting to take out her character’s costumes from the waist because “it was just too much”.

“It was taxing physically and mentally,” Jacobson recalled. “I couldn’t sleep on my side for a long time because my ribs were so sore. And that’s when I realised I really needed to loosen this up.”

The actor also revealed that she required breaks from the corset while filming, explaining that she would ask her dresser to untie the corset “after every take or between setups”.

“They were called corset breaks,” she said, adding that the actors often filmed for 15-hour days and that “to have that on for that long is bananas”.

Jacobson also noted that women who lived during the Gilded age time period would change their clothes “three or four times a day,” which she said was assumed by someone on set to be because they also needed breaks from wearing corsets.

“And they wore them tighter than we did,” she added.

While Jacobson acknowledged the toll the corset had on her both mentally and physically, she told Smith that it helped her embrace her character, who she said “wants to break down, or break through these boundaries a little bit”.

“I think that feeling of constriction, of wanting to break free, was a very useful tool for me to get into her character and her space,” she said.

This is not the first time Jacobson, who is the daughter of Meryl Streep, has opened up about the difficulties of wearing a corset for the period drama, as she previously told Today that she asked for the garment to be loosened because it was “literally taking my breath away”.

At the time, Jacobson’s The Gilded Age co-star Denée Benton, who plays writer Peggy Scott on the show, shared some of the tips she has learned for making the corsets more bearable, including going “with a full stomach to your fitting” and taking “the biggest breath”.

Jacobson is not the first Hollywood star to discuss the physical toll of corsets, as Rachel Brosnahan previously revealed that she suffered a “corset-related injury” while starring in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel as Midge Maisel.

“We talk so fast on the show that to get all the words out you can’t really take very many breaths. I think I wasn’t breathing a lot and I was a bit constrained and apparently some of my ribs are sort of fused together,” Brosnahan told James Corden and Ru Paul during an appearance on The Late Late Show in January 2020.

According to the actor, who played a housewife pursuing a career as a stand-up comedian in the 1950s, the injury means she “can’t take super-deep breaths anymore”.

Kim Kardashian has also spoken about the restrictive garments, with the Skims founder revealing that she has “never felt pain like that in my life” after she wore a corset underneath her custom-made Thierry Mugler dress for the 2019 Met Gala.

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