She is now one of the most recognizable faces in the world when her role in Pitch Perfect brought her to success, but that road wasn’t as perfect as some would imagine. Take a look at the amazing transformation of Rebel Wilson, our lovable girl next door.
Rebel Wilson was born on March 2, 1980, in Sydney, Australia. She grew up with her parents and her siblings, Liberty, Annachi and Ryot. “I was so unusually shy, bordering on a social disorder. So my mum — one day she drives me to this community acting class. I was holding on to the car door and crying. She had to peel me off the car. She’s like, ‘I’ll pick you up in two hours,’ and she left me,” Wilson shared with Marie Claire. “My family reckons I’m like, not funny at all. They think they’re all funnier. And I’m like, ‘What professional comedy have you done?'” she joked in an interview with Image.
“After reading that one’s character becomes set in stone at age 15, the formerly shy Wilson decided she’d better ‘get a personality’ before it was too late, so she pushed herself to join debate clubs, to speak up more,” Flare stated. Wilson shared with Glamour about her time in high school. “I was socially awkward… in high school, but [my high school drama teacher] Mrs. Bowmaker encouraged me to enter Tournament of Minds, [an Aussie creative competition] featuring different segments like performing and improvising. I came out of my shell, and if it weren’t for her, I don’t think I’d be where I am.”
Feminist in teen years
“I went to an all-girls [Christian] high school and we were very much encouraged to, like, go after the career that you want, and, go out into the world and pursue what you wanna do and live your dreams,” Rebel Wilson told Flare. “I feel lucky that I’m living in a time when girls can do that, and you can be single and have, like an awesome life. I think the saddest thing in the world is when you see a woman who is really smart and a go-getter and then she gets married too young or has kids too young and doesn’t really fulfill her dreams.”
17 years old
In 1997, when she was 17 years old, Wilson went working for Australia’s Rotary International Youth Ambassador Program. While on a trip to South Africa, Wilson got malaria, and while under the illness, she hallucinated how she won an Oscar. Upon returning home, she went to University of New South Wales and she attended the Australian Theater for Young People. At first, she wasn’t interested in comedy, which she told the New York Times. “I thought I was playing a serious [stage] role, but then I came on and people just started laughing. I got visibly quite angry that people were laughing at me. And then people would laugh more…I thought fat is funny, in a weird way. Or even in a scientific way. People find it easier to laugh at bigger girls. And I thought that’s going to be my game plan.”
Wilson told HungerTV, “Actors who normally come from Australia to America, are usually dramatic. I think I’m one of the first comedy actors from Australia, to come to bring my own style here. So that’s a bit different.” She acted in Pizza in 2000 and Bogan Pride in 2008 in Australia, and she moved to Hollywood in 2010, when she turned 30. “No one thought I would be a feature film actress crushing it around the world, but I beat the odds and have achieved so much,” she shared with InStyle. Even though she moved to the US, she doesn’t have plans to became an American citizen. “I mean, I think I would be [a good candidate] cuz I’m really good at eating hot dogs… really good at like, going to theme parks, like, doing all the American stuff,” she joked on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. In 2015, she posted a tweet, “I don’t like getting political but America you really have to follow Australia’s example re gun laws.”
“Being unique and different was a really good thing. When I walked into my agent’s office for the first time, they looked at me and said, ‘Wow, we have nobody on our books like you.’ And they signed me on my second day [in the U.S.],” Wilson told Cosmopolitan. After getting on board with William Morris Endeavor in 2010, a talent house, she managed to get a role, which put her in the Hollywood spotlight. The role was Kristen Wiig’s roommate Brynn in Bridesmaids (2011). “I wouldn’t ever want to compete with what I call ‘the glamours’ — the really gorgeous people. I’m about the brain, the heart and what’s on the inside. I feel really lucky to be the body type I am.”
“Normally I’m the girl who doesn’t give a s*** what she looks like,” Rebel Wilson claims, “But because I’m in the public eye I have to try a little bit. Living in LA you learn a lot about health. I now drink green juices and I’m trying to do gluten-free. But I don’t do it 100 percent — I’m not a maniac!” She added, “I love me some ice cream or dessert, and it comes at times when I’m happy or sad. So when I have an incredibly successful day, I want to celebrate and reward myself with food. If I’ve had a sad or stressful day, food is also comfort.” She doesn’t concentrate on her body as much as she focuses on her career, stating, “The odds of an Australian girl making it in Hollywood is, like, one in 25 million. I’m lucky…But I also think I worked hard. I deserve it.”
Rebel Wilson rarely talks about her personal life, and when the photos of her and filmmaker, Mickey Gooch Jr. surfaced, everyone was focusing on the hot news. “Rebel Wilson is off the market, Bella Bitches,” reported Us Weekly in 2015. However, they broke up after four months, and Wilson wasn’t looking for anyone new. “I’m very independent and have been single for most of my life. I see people who are very co-dependent and I think they’re missing out on life. My mum really sacrificed her life when she started having us kids, and so she always encouraged us to go out there and chase after our dreams and live our lives. I’m hoping the right guy will come along. But if it doesn’t happen I’m alright. I’m a very independent lady and I’ve got my own stuff going on,” she shared with Cosmopolitan.
“I’m currently like a size 18, sometimes a 16 depending on how good I’ve been, so I’m kind of just a bit too big for most regular clothing,” Wilson shared with People. Wilson collaborated in 2015 with plus-size brand Torrid. Wilson wasn’t really sure about it at first. “I didn’t think I’d be able to design clothes. I thought, ‘That’s not in my repertoire.'” But, as it turned out, it was very successful. “I want people to be a rebel in their own lives. I’ve always been a non-conformist. That’s actually what my high school principal wrote in my final school report. I never just accepted things as they were, especially if they were unfair. I want this energy to rub off on other people and encourage girls and women out there to go out and crush it in their lives.”
“That’s life now,” Rebel Wilson shared, “You can spend time with family or friends in a very low-key situation, or you can be on a private jet flying somewhere to introduce Miley Cyrus. Even though, yes, now I am in movies or whatever, I am still that [dorky] girl. People think you’re really confident because you’re an actress or whatever, but I’m like the worst.” She recalled how was it working at an Australian movie theater at the opening of her first movie in 2003, saying Seth Meyers, “When people were leaving the cinema, I’d be there holding the trash bag… And they’d be like ‘Hey, like, weren’t you in that movie?’ and I’d be like ‘yeah’… A week later I had to quit.” Wilson is now a major star, but she never forgets where did she come from. She is a supporter of a Tanzanian school in Africa, where she once lived as a youth ambassador, and she is financing scholarships for the Australian Theater for Young People.
Despite the fact that she made a career out of her body, she is not a fan of nudity. “[Filming The Brothers Grimsby] They wanted full-frontal nudity. We write in the contract, specifically, ‘No nudity’. They got in another girl — this larger burlesque dancer from South Africa — to be a nude double. And they got her to do all this stuff. [Sacha Baron Cohen] would go, ‘See, she looks good.’ I’m like, I’m not doing it. I don’t care what you say,” Wilson shared with Marie Claire. “You want to know that the people [behind the camera] have a certain sensibility and decency. And a lot of times in comedy they’re not those people.” She confessed that she gained weight to get some roles that were funnier. “I saw my size as being an advantage, whereas so many women see it as a disadvantage,” she said to Marie Claire. “I’ve always tried to use my brain to get places.”
Preparing for the roles
When Pitch Perfect was about to make its second installment, Wilson revealed how does she get her American accent in place. “I want, like, a real, genuine American accent, so I watch shows like Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I’ve been watching a lot of Honey Boo Boo. I do, actually, watch them, and just like repeat them when they talk,” she revealed on Conan. “I got a personal trainer,” she confessed. “I’m not doing it to look great or whatever but to have the energy to do all that [producing and acting] work. People wouldn’t think it looking at me, but I can exercise!” She likes to keep her body in top condition. “You need to be physically strong for this job. I like to have the stamina to work 16 hours a day. I may eat a lot, but I am very healthy.” She overcame her acrophobia by doing her own stunts in Pitch Perfect. “I stretched every day to be able to do [the stunts]. I’m afraid of heights, so…I told them, ‘I’ll do it three times. I’ll crush it, so turn all your cameras on.’ And I nailed it.”
“I got asked to present with Kendall and Kylie at the recent VMAs and said ‘no’. It’s not that you hate any of them individually, but it’s just that everything they stand for is against everything I stand for. And they’re not famous for talent. I worked really hard to get where I’ve gotten to,” she shared with Australia’s KIIS FM. Wilson obtained a law degree, has several MTV Movie Awards, Glamour’s International Woman of the Year, and LA’s Australians in Film Award. “I mean… Kim Kardashian got famous from the sex tape and I just went to acting school and worked really hard.”
Even though almost everyone she knows gotten married, including her sisters, she expressed her opinion with Flare, “Interestingly enough, I caught up with some of my girlfriends from high school when I was back in Australia … and a lot of them weren’t very happy with their situations and were envious of mine. I’m definitely not lonely in any way. I love being by myself. I don’t think I’ll be getting anything this Valentine’s Day. But there was a line in this movie The Diary of a Teenage Girl where the main character goes, ‘I wonder if anybody loves me who I don’t know about,’ and I was like, ‘That’s interesting: you never know.’ On Valentine’s Day, you could get sent something.”
“I feel really lucky to be a woman in Hollywood doing comedy right now. Now that more writers are getting a chance to create these scripts, it’s just more edgy. Girls [are often] relegated to just being the love interest in a guys’ movie… which is a waste,” Wilson revealed to Marie Claire. “As a teenager, I’d put Ab Fab on instead of working. Jennifer Saunders was the first woman I ever saw on TV who wrote and performed her own material.” She noted that being a woman in the men’s world is an uphill fight. “I do two types of [jobs],” she told Elle, “Dream jobs like female-driven comedies and the other job, which is basically the boys’ club…but you have to find a way to work that system. You aren’t being paid much… you don’t have any cool jokes and you’re there to support the male actor. If you are a woman in that situation you work harder, sharpen your skills more; you need to be two or three times as good as the guys. I just go in there and try and crush it.”
Keep on hustling
Pitch Perfect 3 made its debut in 2017, and an all-female reboot of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is making Wilson busy, she is excited for what the future has installed for her. “I’ve started to get offers for more serious roles and when I trained as an actor you don’t just train in comedy, of course. Someone who I really admire is Robin Williams, who is such a genius comedian but when he did dramatic roles they were such good dramatic turns, so yes, I’m sure there’s something around the corner,” she revealed to Glamour.