Joy Nash, who plays Plum on AMC’s Dietland, talks about her character’s evolution over the course of the season and what she walked away with after wrapping.
Q: How would you describe Plum’s evolution over the course of the season?
A: She’s definitely evolved, right?! [Laughs] I think she started out really sheltering herself from the world. She was afraid of what it had to offer. She’s kind of come out of her shell and maybe found out that the thing she was afraid of, she should have been afraid of. I think she gets blinded with her own pain and she can’t see the pain of others or the pain that she’s causing people sometimes.
Q: The season starts out with Plum ghostwriting to Kitty’s girls and ends with her revising Jennifer’s manifesto. Any thoughts on how she’s using her own voice to make a difference in the world?
A: It gives her a boldness that she’s finally standing behind her own words. She gets in trouble like that, too. It’s asking more of her to put her name attached to it. Maybe she hasn’t completely considered what that means. I think she sees that these are the first people who really accept her and see her as special. The thing that she’s good at, they need. She’s valuable and I don’t think she wants to leave that.
Q: In the end, it’s Verena who gives up Jennifer. What does that represent to the story?
A: It’s a pretty big betrayal, but everybody’s doing what they think is right. It’s hard to draw a line and say what’s right or wrong because they’re all pretty out there. I came at it from this myopic view. From Plum’s point of view, it’s been the whole world against her and now she feels like she has some agency, so she’s going to take it. She’s not entirely considering every step of the way. I don’t know that she has a delineated view of what’s right and wrong. She’s just doing something different.
Q: Can you talk about that scene in Episode 9 where Plum is talking to Sana about her date with Jake? Were you able to lean on Ami [Sheth]?
A: She was amazing. I’m so grateful for her and for the whole crew. It felt like such a safe space to do that. When Plum leaves Calliope, she’s alienated her friends and made people feel unsafe. She’s outed them. I think her response to that is to be like “F—ck it! Why not go on a date and enjoy myself? Here’s someone who seems happy to be around me. Maybe it’s not perfect and maybe he’s a little creepy. Whatever.” Then, what happens to her happens to her, but Sana is still so kind to her in that scene. It was tough.
Q: What did you make of Plum’s decision not to get her surgery in the end?
A: Personally, I’m thrilled. I believe that everybody should do whatever the hell they want with their own body, but I think Plum was looking to have the surgery for extrinsic reasons. She is healthy and has a perfectly able body. She hated it for reasons that other people hated it. It’s a great body. It can do everything she needs it to. I think she realizes that and that’s why she makes the choice not to go through with it. I see that as a victory.
Q: On that note, in addition to harassment the show has spoken so openly about body image, acceptance and self-love. Are those topics you related to, personally?
A: Absolutely. They’re things I think about constantly. I’ve definitely experienced my share of harassment. Nobody can ever ask for something like that, but I think abusers have a sixth sense and they pick out the weak link. As Plum gets her inner strength, she’s harder to tear apart. Once we become a more formidable enemy, people think twice about picking you because you might fight back.
Q: From the cast to the crew, what was it like working with so many women on set?
A: It was absolutely nurturing and supportive. You never felt like you had to explain your point of view because we all shared such similar experiences, even if they weren’t identical. We could remind each other of things that might color something one way. It was cool getting to act with such strong and talented women.
Q: What did you walk away with after working on a project like this?
A: I kind of can’t believe it happened. [Laughs] I love that we’ve been getting tweets like: “I can’t believe they let you do this!” And it’s true on every level. I can’t believe they let a fat lady have her own TV show. I can’t believe they let us talk so openly about what happens on a daily basis. I can’t believe they let women run the show. I was listening to a podcast the other day about unrealistic portrayals of women… Largely, those women are written by men. No wonder you don’t know any women like that. Give a woman a chance to talk about her life and her friends’ lives and then we get to see ourselves represented accurately.
Read an interview with Ami Sheth, who plays Sana.
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