On March 4th, 2016, at the Directors Guild Theatre in Manhattan, NYU alum Marlee Roberts premiered her first feature film: Little Miss Perfect. LMP, an abbreviated title of the film, follows the story of one young girl’s battle with an eating disorder and how the public deals with the struggle of addiction. Belle is portrayed by Marlee’s younger sister Karlee, a sixteen year old Columbia student who is also studying film. The sisters are using this film to shed light on the pressures of body image and to empower youth by “exemplifying their perseverance, strength, and success as young female artists and professionals.”
Throughout the film, Belle struggles with the pressure of being class president, having a boyfriend, and maintaining close relationships. The film is a beautiful portrayal of what happens when social media and expectations take a wrong turn and how it can impact and destroy someone’s life.
After the film ended, we had the opportunity to talk to Karlee and Marlee Roberts (pictured at right below) and some other women in attendance about the importance of discussing eating disorders and how this film came to be.
Marlee explains how the idea for this film actually came out of a class assignment. The assignment was to create a scene or two with inspiration from a Disney classic and Marlee chose Beauty and the Beast. But instead of just a scene or two, she created an entire script. Marlee loved the idea of creating a character that was both Beauty and the Beast, at the same time. This idea is shown through Belle’s struggle with anorexia and the belief that “thinner is winner.”
Although Marlee never personally struggled with an eating disorder, she did come across a few blogs when she was in high school that were pro anorexia. She was shocked yet intrigued with what she saw and wanted to understand it more. This type of blog is seen in the film and that is was prompted Belle to stop eating in the first place.
When speaking with Karlee after the film, she said that overall Belle was difficult character to play. But when asked what the hardest part was, she says, “I think the hardest part of doing that was when she was self harming. Even though I didn’t actually do it and the blood was fake, it was still bizarre to have such a powerful tool in your hands and to take it out on yourself. I would say that was the part that most hit me.”
There were many times when Karlee had to shut everyone else out on set in order to get into character. The character that she plays is in such a dark place and that is out of character for Karlee. When we met with her, she was so positive and upbeat, definitely a contrast to Belle.
At the premier there were also a few celebrities who are very passionate about cyber bullying and teens suffering from eating disorders. Kirsten Haglund, who was Miss America 2008, says that having a close community of friends when you are dealing with something as serious as an eating disorder is crucial. She says, “to be a positive influence, a lot of the times the way that you behave around food and talk about your body, talk about other women’s bodies, is an example to your peers. So to be aware that it can be a huge problem and to be aware that you can be a role model an example of a healthy body image is really important. And to just remember to have the courage to say something when you see something. Because a lot of the times when a person is struggling with their food or weight, they aren’t going to be comfortable going to a counselor, or professor, or their parents. They want to talk to their friends. So being able to be that person, an ear, a shoulder to cry on, someone to help them as they go on this journey.” And we couldn’t agree more.
Sharleen Joynt, a contestant on The Bachelor season 18, expresses the importance of staying positive. When asked what she would tell someone who is suffering from an eating disorder or bullying, she says, “It gets better… It gets so much better when you get out of there.” Olivia Caridi, a contentest on this season of The Bachelor, also agrees with that, as someone who has struggled with bullying her whole life. You can read more about what Caridi has struggled with, here.
Overall, the film touches on so many important things regarding life, love, happiness, and survival. The film is now available for download on iTunes here and will be available on other mediums soon. If you can get out and see this film, trust us, it will change your life. You can learn more about the film here:
Official Little Miss Perfect Website: http://www.
LMP Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/
LMP Twitter: https://twitter.com/LMPMovie
LMP Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/
Watch now on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/little-miss-perfect/id1165225473