Jennifer Aniston’s relationship with her late mother, Nancy Dow, was a complicated one. Sure, there was love there, but it wasn’t always easy. In fact, things between them were often strained—that can happen with that mother-daughter dynamic, but it’s not the relationship anyone hopes for.
So when asked during an interview with The Sunday Telegraph if there were any parallels between her new Netflix movie Dumplin’–where she plays a former beauty queen dealing with her daughter entering a pageant to dispel beauty standards–and her own experiences, Aniston replied, “Where do we start?.” Ha!
“One of the reasons I really loved the mother-daughter aspect of it was because it was very similar in a way to what my mother, and our relationship, was,” Aniston reportedly told the paper. “She was a model and she was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like.”
She continued, “I did not come out the model child she’d hoped for and it was something that really resonated with me, this little girl just wanting to be seen and wanting to be loved by a mum who was too occupied with things that didn’t quite matter.”
Model child or, literally, a model child? Whichever way you look at it, it sucks. Because appearances shouldn’t matter when it comes to your daughter or son, nor should perfection be the expectation.
Dow passed away in May 2016 at age 79. The year before that, Aniston had told The Hollywood Reporter that while things were “fine” between them at the time, it wasn’t always.
“She was critical,” Aniston said. “She was very critical of me. Because she was a model, she was gorgeous, stunning. I wasn’t. I never was. I honestly still don’t think of myself in that sort of light, which is fine.”
That’s the case for many women and their mothers. Ideals are hard to live up to, but when it’s a parent’s high expectations it can be that much worse. Thankfully Jen and her mom were eventually able to get past it, even if it was probably Jen doing most of the work. But despite all that, Jen still has her head on straight.
“My idea of beauty is, is what makes you feel beautiful and what makes me feel beautiful is the people around me, the life that I have,” Aniston added, then threw in a little humour in that typical Ani way. “And maybe a good hair day.”
Because we all know Jen’s the queen of good hair days, so if she has that too? It’s a win-win.