As women, we are pretty good at convincing ourselves that we just don’t measure up to some standard we have in our heads. Whether that standard is the unattainable Victoria’s Secret model, which if you really think about it, boils down to genetics and a fluke of nature, or the soccer mom that you see every day with a body that you know has to have implants or lipo involved somewhere. We look at ourselves and the first thing we usually see is the dreaded ‘muffin top,’ that bit of overindulgence that makes itself known when you break out a pair of skinny jeans that make you feel like a Jimmy Dean sausage link. What if you could actually look at that ‘muffin top’ and see something positive? Well, in the new movie Muffin Top: A Love Story, writer, director and actress Cathryn Michon does just that, focusing on the fact that to find true love, you must first love yourself!
Been There, Done That, Got the T-Shirt to Prove It!
Cathryn Michon has done it all, from writing for TV for shows like Designing Women, Sisters, and China Beach, to penning the best-selling books ‘The Grrl Genius Guide of Life’ and ‘The Grrl Genius Guide to Sex (With Other People),’ to hosting her own TV series, AMC’s ‘Grrl Genius at the Movies’ and also performing stand-up comedy. But with her latest project, ‘Muffin Top: A Love Story,’ Michon wrote, directs and stars in this romantic comedy where a roll of fat takes center stage. Partly inspired by her own ‘messed-up’ life, Michon published a novel ‘The Grrl Genius Guide to Sex (With Other People)’ in 2004 about a woman going through a humiliating divorce, and how a downward spiral in self-esteem can begin. Feeling old, fat and unwanted, the woman still comes out on the other end, living a much better and more authentic life. In a recent interview, Michon said, “I wouldn’t say that the character in the movie, Suzanne Nicholson, is me, but my own fat does ‘star’ as her fat. There are things very different from me, but at its core, the idea of feeling so worthless when you end a marriage and then growing to love yourself, is 100 percent me.” Like her character in the movie, it took a lot of self-reflection to learn to love herself, and even a little liposuction. “I got liposuction after my divorce. No one noticed, and it really didn’t make much of a difference because I am a fit person anyway, but it made me feel better at the time,” said Michon. Beyond making the statement about loving yourself no matter what stage you are in life, or what the scales tell you, Michon also spoke up for women in Hollywood who are in the business of making movies.
Buying Tickets, but Not Making Movies….Yeah, I Don’t Think So!
Michon’s research into the movie making industry in Hollywood revealed that ‘only 15 percent of current films feature women with significant speaking roles and only 4 percent of Hollywood directors are women.’ Although 52 percent of movie ticket buyers are women, they aren’t represented behind the scenes and Michon wanted to change that.
When Michon couldn’t get a Hollywood studio to invest in the project unless she gave up her role as director, she turned to her friends in the business to act in the movie, and then friends and people who saw the story behind the movie online to fund the production. And this production has some well-known actors like David Arquette, Melissa Peterman and Marissa Jaret Winokur, as well as others who got their first break in the movie. “Because this movie was made for less than 5 million dollars, it is considered an ‘indie film.’ Many of the actors agreed to ‘defer’ their compensation in order to get the film made, which is an enormous compliment to the script. If the movie is successful, they will get the money they should’ve gotten upfront. After we made the movie, we turned to Kickstarter, an online funding platform for creative projects where people can pledge donations toward the project. The funds from Kickstarter have been used to finance the nationwide tour, bringing it to local theatres across the country, like the showing we had in Winston-Salem, NC, this past November. Since we have no money for advertising, we are counting on enthusiasm to carry ‘Muffin Top: A Love Story’ and its message of loving yourself now, not five pounds from now, forward. People sharing about the movie on Facebook pages, writing online reviews at Amazon and Rotten Tomatoes – these are the ways we feel the word will get out. We are so grateful to have a passionate, activated fan base that loves “Muffin Top,’” said Michon.
For more information on “Muffin Top: A Love Story,’ visit www.muffintopmovie.com for a full listing of the On Demand channels like Amazon, DirecTV, Vudu and Vimeo. The movie will run in theatrical release in 27 select theaters and tickets for these screenings can be purchased online through the website.