Dakota Fanning’s The Alienist Corset Actually Changed Her Body

Dakota Fanning, star of TNT miniseries The Alienist, recently opened up about one of the most challenging aspects of embodying her Victorian-era character: the corsets.

During her first costume fitting, the 24-year-old said she actually fainted.

“I had just landed,” Fanning began, “It was before we started shooting. I had just gotten of the plane, you know you’re sort of swollen and tired and jet lagged and all that. And they put the corset on, and yeah, I was like, ‘I’m going down. I’m going down!’ I had to sit. And then they would try and be like, ‘OK, are you all right now?’ I’d be like, ‘No, nope. Still gotta sit.’”

Despite a rocky introduction, Fanning’s body quickly adapted to the restrictive garment. “My body completely changed,” she said. “I mean, I’ve worn corsets before but never for this long of a period. Seven months; your body completely changes. You can get it on without even lacing or unlacing. By the end I was just snapping it on, snapping it off. It was like second nature.”

“For better or for worse, the corsets kind of put you into the character because it does literally affect everything that you do: Breathing, walking, running, sitting, standing, and definitely eating,” she continued. “Yeah, you do kind of have to time it out because it can not feel so good after lunch.”

There’s a reason the actress’s body became more receptive to the waist-cinching device: it literally changes the shape of your body. Studies (terrifying, terrifying studies) have shown that corset-wear actually deformed the skeletons of women in the Victorian age. Proven effects include the misalignment of their spines, the warping of their ribs, and an actual change in position of their organs .

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