Melissa McCarthy: Why I'm Starting a Plus-Size Clothing Line

06/04/2014 at 12:18 PM ET

Melissa McCarthy Matt Jones for Redbook

Melissa McCarthy has always been vocal about her inability to find red carpet-ready dresses, going so far as to design her own Emmys gown when she hated everything off on the rack. And she shares that not much has changed, despite her A-list status.

“When I go shopping, most of the time I’m disappointed. Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me. I asked five or six designers — very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people — and they all said no,” she says in the July issue of Redbook. That’s why she teamed with couturier Daniella Pearl (her Emmys dress co-designer) to create a line of plus-size clothing for women who might not have access to a seamstress-slash-friend at their disposal.

RELATED: Get the latest on plus size style with our blogger Allison Teng!

She hasn’t always been an arbiter for style at any size, though; McCarthy also shares her college yearbook photos are more embarrassing than most. “I wore white kabuki makeup, had blue-black hair. At one point I shaved an inch and a half around my hairline and continued the white makeup up so it made my head look slightly deformed,” she says. “I thought it was hilarious. I was in a little town and I just got a kick out of it. I was never sullen. I was a terrible punk — I was still so chatty.”

These days that sense of humor is paying off, especially in her marriage with fellow comedian Ben Falcone. “We have a great marriage, and outside forces can’t really change that,” she says. “Success doesn’t define us, even though we love what we do. The important thing is our family and kids.” For more from McCarthy, including how she teaches her kids about fame, check out the new issue (on stands June 10) and tell us: Are you excited to see McCarthy’s designs? How much would you love to see those college photos?

–Alex Apatoff

FILED UNDER: Fashion , Magazine Covers

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Showing 38 comments

NW Mama on

What a great idea and for all those girl’s looking for a prom dress as well who need a plus size.
You Rock Melissa!!

Ale on

It would have been great if she had mentioned the designer’s names. Idiot designers who only make clothes for über skinny women.

Marcie on

Good for her! I can’t believe designers would say no, she’s a pretty big celebrity to say no to. She’ll do really well. I wish her the best of luck :)

maryhelenc on

Good for her for starting her own clothing line! I hope it all works out well for her.

Guest on

If she had healthy eating habits and a healthy weight she could choose from the rack. It is not hard but definitely requires work.

sal on

Love her!!! She is fabulous!

Butler Girl on

I think it is a fabulous idea for her to create something that makes her happy and feel good about helping others… But I must say something about the Comment left by Guest …Your words were If she had healthy eating habits and a healthy weight she could choose from the rack. It is not hard but definitely requires work….ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME… YES IT IS A LOT OF WORK BUT SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST SMALL OFF THE RACK KIND OF SIZES… AND IT IS EXTREMELY HARD AS A PLUS SIZE PERSON TO BE HEARING THINGS LIKE THAT… ALL OF US ARE DIFFERENT AND THAT MAKES US SPECIAL…AND REMEMBER WHAT EACH WERE TAUGHT AS A CHILD – IF YOU HAVE NOTHING NICE TO SAY – KEEP YOUR DAMN MOUTH SHUT

Johanna on

Sookie!!!!

Jojo on

They all say that but they never do. Can’t find a designer who wants to tag their name to plus size clothing.

It's Me on

What happened to her? She had some kind of weight loss surgery back in her Gilmore Girls days and she lost a lot of weight. Now she seems bigger than ever. It’s great she is starting a plus-size line, but if surgery can’t even solve someone’s obesity issues I think it’s important to focus not only on outer appearance but to resolve the issues that led to weight gain.

Dana on

She has great style and her line will do well..

Dee on

@Guest – I eat in a healthy manner and exercise regularly. I still have a hard time finding off the rack formals that aren’t made for super lean women who apparently wish to look like hookers.
Everything is so cookie cutter out there. Strapless, sequined monstrosities.
It would be nice to see a designer come up with a line of formal wear that is attractive but not ridiculously revealing and unflattering on 95% of women.

Meat on

She is so adorable! Thank you for being you.

ELC on

Melissa is a hoot…love anything she’s in except her show Mike and Molly. Her talent is wasted there. Good for her on designing her own clothes…its sad that they only design for the ubber skinny. I hope Melissa comes out with clothes the regular person with size issues can get into. Good luck Melissa-stay as down to earth as you are now-pls don’t go Hollyweird on us.

kat on

Thank you” love her!

jefra on

what a fat cow. her husband looks like a dwarf next to her.

she has to design her own clothes! she probably wears 5 XL. Look at that fat cow!

and mike & molly isn’t funny anymore.

Diana A on

you go Melissa. Some of have medical issues and we gain weight like mad even with a health diet:(

janet on

Good Luck…..A great idea..

Guest on

To all who criticize her for her weight, I used to be skinny until I got sick and had to go on steroids. Even on 500 calories a day, I could not lose weight. You don’t know her personal and private health issues that she may not choose to publicize. You don’t know how much she eats or exercises. Stop judging people you don’t know.

Anon on

Her face is so gorgeous.

More To Love on

I know she’s good with comedy, but why do they always have to show the heavy girls in clown or goof-off poses? Plus size women can be chic too. And I wish she named the designers who refused her. I am plus-sized, earn a really good income, have money to spend on clothes for myself – and as gifts for friends and families. If designers don’t make a plus component, then I don’t buy anything from them (clothing gifts, bags, shoes, scarves – NOTHING). I hope others do the same.

Fegs on

She should list the designers who turned her down. They should be boycotted.

Nina WALL on

fantastic I love Melissa McCarthy and I want to know where I can get some of her clothes im plus size too .

Sarah S. on

I will buy her clothing if the price is right. It’s hard to buy some nice & economical plus-size pieces that don’t make me look like a senior or even bigger than I am. I wish her the best!!

Barbara on

What an EXCELLENT idea Melissa! I can’t wait to see what you come out with!! Keep us posted!

Susan Ranahan on

Looking forward to seeing your designs!! Please for the love of God do not make them 100% polyester!!! Why the heck they do that to us plus side goddesses I will never know!!!

Love ya Melissa!!

gina on

Melissa (sooky) Cannot wait to see your line !!! As a plus size girl from the south suburbs of Chicago all I ask is make affordable….Remember what your income was in Plainfield ??

Lexie on

Now here’s some wonderful news. Not everybody is a size 2-4-6-8-10. Please give us a little larger some cute, cute clothes to choose from!

Connie Hanner on

Outstanding that a celebrity has taken on the style industry and will champion the frightening world of plus-sized clothing. I’m tired of wearing a modified Mumu. You cannot take a size 12 fashion and simply increase the size. The proportions are all wrong. Curvy women have issues with bust lines not fitting correctly, shoulder lines accentuating rather than minimizing a large silhouette. Please help those of us who would like to wear something that fits! Bravo Ms. Melissa. Let us know where we can see it, try it, buy it…or better yet, weigh in on the design of what we really need in plus sized fashion. Thanks! :)

Janet on

I think it’s great that she is going to start her own clothing line. Although she should have called out those designers who wouldn’t dress her, it wouldn’t have done any good because today’s society is based on looks, plain and simple. When her clothing line comes out, my wish is that they are affordable, good quality, and made in the USA.

Faye on

Awesome idea Melissa.. I can not wait to see the line of clothes. What price range are you thinking of.. This very exicting
You go Girl!!

GG on

Melissa is a wonderful role model for plus size women.
Her attitude is inspiring. She tells it like it is.
I’m a fan- she’s talented, funny and beautiful.

Lynette Stamper on

I would love to see the clothing line you have. Started .my only. Son is getting married October 18 2014. And I cannot. Find a long dress in a brown, tan,or safe green that will look nice on me I want to look perfect. For the special. Day please help needs be long. Or tea length with a. 3/4 sleeve length jacket. I am so excited for you and your. Success in you. Clothing. Line please if u can help me find the perfect dress

Chef King on

Would love to see someone design plus size clothing that #1 – didn’t have horizontal stripes which are a no no, #2 doesn’t look like a circus tent, #3 designed more 3/4 length sleeve tops, #4 didn’t cost a fortune and #5 modeled the clothing in plus size models, not skinny minnies!

skyangl55 on

These Designers judge a book by it’s cover and if you’re not a svelt size 4 you’re basically screwed.Mellissa has the means and determination to start her own line of plus sized fashion and I wish her well,she;s going to be just fine at the size she is and shouldn’t change for anybody else but herself,Rock on Girlfriend !!!

Castiel on

Just hope her clothing line doesn’t include the Lane Bryant, floral sh_it. Being plus size, and caring about how I look, I refuse to wear the floral tents sold in plus size stores.

Allyssa on

I absolutely love Melissa. She is so talented and funny and stunningly gorgeous. I am super excited for her to come out with a plus size clothing line. I will definitely be wearing it. And heck if she needs a plus size women to help model her clothing line, I’m down

Deb Werth on

What is wrong with you people????? Melissa McCarthy is a beautiful, funny, talented woman. Those of you who commenting on her size or weight should be ashamed of yourselves. You obviously have severe problems, mental, that makes you try and hurt others by your nasty remarks. I think you are awesome Melissa and I am not someone who gets on these comment pages unless I really have a gripe. It is all those snide, self absorbed, morons that I have a problem with. You are perfect the way you are and I love you and your movies are spectacular. I did want to let you know however, that in my doctors office there is a nurse there that is your twin. I told her that and she was all excited about being told that she looked like you. You have a twin in Colorado.

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