‘Gilded Age’s Louisa Jacobson Had to Take ‘Corset Breaks’ On Set: ‘My Ribs Were So Sore’

Louisa Jacobson talks about the 'beauty standards' of 'The Gilded Age' in a new interview, detailing how she 'couldn't sleep' due to the period costumes of the HBO series.

Louisa Jacobson
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Image Credit: Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO

Louisa Jacobson is revealing how she is happy to be a “female identifying person” in the current time since the “beauty standards” set for 19th century women were definitely “crazy!” In a new interview on the Reign With Josh Smith podcast, Meryl Streep‘s daughter, 30, shared how it took her “a long time” to get into the corsets she had to wear for HBO’s period piece The Gilded Age, especially “after wearing sweatpants for so long.”

“Every day when I took it off, I was so grateful 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,” she shared on the show. “The things women had to do, it was crazy. I realized how I’ve internalized beauty standards so intensely.”

Louisa Jacobson
Louisa Jacobson in ‘The Gilded Age’ (Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO).

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

Although she succeeded in looking “snatched” in her role as Marian Brook in the historical drama, which is set in 1890s New York City, she revealed how she ultimately “suffered” from that choice. “They measured and sewed all my costumes based on how tight my corset was in the fitting when I had been really ambitious about making it very tight,” she shared. “I would say three or four months into shooting, I actually had to ask them to take out my dresses from the waist because it was just too much, it was taxing physically and mentally, I couldn’t sleep on my side for a long time because my ribs were so sore.”

Thankfully for Louisa, a member of the costume department would come to her aid between takes, loosening her corset before it had to be tied back up again. “They would have corset breaks because we were there for 15 hours and to have that on for that long is bananas,” she said. “The women back then — actually in the Gilded age — they would change their clothes three or four times a day to take a break.”

Louisa Jacobson, Jeanne Tripplehorn
Louisa Jacobson and Jeanne Tripplehorn in ‘The Gilded Age’ (Alison Cohen Rosa/HBO).

Even with the restrictive costume measures, Louisa still expressed how grateful she was to make her major television debut in the series, previously telling British Vogue how working alongside Cynthia Nixon and Christine Baranski has been like a “TV masterclass” for her.

“I had like 17 surrogate moms during filming; I just felt surrounded by this really nurturing energy, which made it much less daunting and scary,” she told the outlet. “Working with Christine and Cynthia has been like a TV masterclass, honestly. Cynthia is so involved politically, so between scenes she would be telling me about whatever campaign she was working on at that moment, and then Christine would be memorizing her lines for The Good Fight while shooting for The Gilded Age.”

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