Jennifer Aniston is opening up about her late mother Nancy Dow as she gears up to debut her Netflix film about a complex maternal relationship.
In Dumplin’, Aniston plays a former pageant queen whose plus-size daughter enters her competition to make a point about beauty standards. The Office Christmas Party actress, 49, told The Sunday Telegraph about the parallels between her experiences with Dow and her role in the movie.
When the reporter asked Aniston if her relationship and the one in Dumplin’ are alike, Aniston reportedly replied, “Where do we start?”
“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 said, according to the publication.
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“She was a model and she was all about presentation and what she looked like and what I looked like,” Aniston 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.”
Aniston is proud of the movie’s message. “This movie is so special because it is about stripping away those preconceived notions of beauty, trying to become individuals and not feeling that we have to live up to some unrealistic ideal that society is feeding up to us,” she explained.
“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 noted. “And maybe a good hair day.”
Dow, who acted in shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and The Wild Wild West, was married to Jack Melick from 1956 to 1961 and Aniston’s father, soap star John Aniston, from 1965 to 1980. Aniston was 9 when her parents divorced.
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In May 2016, Aniston told PEOPLE in a statement that Dow died at age 79.
“No matter how complicated and difficult the relationship between Nancy and Jennifer may have been, it is heartbreaking for any daughter to lose her mother,” a source close to the family told PEOPLE after Dow’s death.
“Nancy fought a very long battle, with many ups and downs, and Jennifer is grateful for the happy times they shared,” the source added.
In 2015, Aniston told The Hollywood Reporter about her relationship with her mother, which she said was “fine” at the time.
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“She was critical,” Aniston continued. “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.”
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