Rebel Rising: A Memoir

Rebel Rising: A Memoir

by Rebel Wilson
Rebel Rising: A Memoir

Rebel Rising: A Memoir

by Rebel Wilson

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Overview

Notes From Your Bookseller

Getting into Hollywood is the dream of many and the outcome of few. Here, Rebel Wilson details her road to that promised land, the bizarre detours it took and the lessons she learned along the way. All in her usual hilarious way, of course.

From the scene-stealing star of Pitch Perfect and Bridesmaids comes a refreshingly candid, hilarious, and inspiring book about her unconventional journey to Hollywood success and loving herself.

This “beautiful, brave book,” (Jenna Bush Hager, the Today show) is the story of Rebel Wilson’s remarkable personal transformation, from a painfully shy child in Australia who literally had to be dragged to drama classes and achieved break-out success in the US through iconic roles in Pitch Perfect, Bridesmaids, and Isn’t It Romantic.

Through “stunningly personal revelations” (The New York Times), Rebel shares the extraordinary experiences that shaped her life. A malaria-induced hallucination? An all-style martial arts fighting tournament? Junior handling at dog shows? And this was all BEFORE she moved to Hollywood!

From her painful relationship with her father, weight gain and loss, a late-in-life sexual awakening and fertility issues, Rebel shares her incredible journey to self-love in writing that is “frank and fun.” (CBS Sunday Morning) Rebel leads you through her hard-fought path to “making it,” constantly questioning, “Am I good enough? Will I ever find love? Will I ever change and become healthy?”

This extraordinarily entertaining memoir shows us how to love ourselves while making us laugh uncontrollably.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781668007242
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/02/2024
Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format: eBook
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 15,560
File size: 38 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

Rebel Wilson is an Australian actress, director, comedian, writer, singer, and producer. She’s known for her roles in the Pitch Perfect series, Bridesmaids, How to be Single, Senior Year, The Hustle, Jojo Rabbit, and more.

Read an Excerpt

TWO
The Fertility Doctor
 
So here I am, waiting to see a well-respected fertility doctor. On the outside my life is a fucking Lizzo song—“It’s bad bitch o’clock, yeah, it’s thick thirty!” On the inside, well, who cares what’s happening on the inside. Emotions, ewwwwwww. I save them for the “very sad, handwritten book” that is my diary (which you’ll be hearing excerpts from soon enough! Stay tuned!). But I am starting to feel this biological clock tick inside me. I can’t ignore it. I am rapidly approaching the big 4-0, and it’s like I am the bloody crocodile in Peter Pan. Tick, tick, tick. (Oh, and yes, just to let you know, reader, I will be referencing ten billion movies in this book . . . so maybe as a drinking game, take a sip every time you read one . . . or eat a chip, I don’t know . . . I’m just imagining you on a sexy beach right now reading this with a margarita, or bag of chips, in hand.)
I’d never quite thought about my ovaries—apart from when I was twenty-one and was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). The doctor just put me on birth control pills and neither of us ever spoke about it again. Like my uncle’s craziness at Christmas, “better NOT to talk about it.”
But now it was like my little cyst-y ovaries were yearning. “Rebel!!! Don’t you wanna have kids? It’s the smart thing to do.” Shit. I am smart. That one got my attention.
Sometimes it was like my ovaries were yelling at me, muffled of course by my FUPA, but I could still hear them: “Hello! Can you hear us down here? We’re your ovaries. Activate us!”
My Year of Love, this little experiment I was doing for my fortieth year, was feeling like a failure, so I didn’t have a partner. But now I did really want to become a mother. Every time I’d see a baby my heart would feel warm—like the gooey inside of a chocolate molten lava cake. “Awwwwww,” I’d think to myself, “how cute.” I’d look at mothers breezily sipping coffees in cafés with their beautiful babies: Oh, look, there’s a mum now pushing her newborn down the street in a stroller whilst taking a business call—she looks good. Has she had a blowout? Like she’s not a vapid shell of a human being who trudges around like the “house-elf” in a twelve-year-old stained nightgown . . . what is this? She’s conducting important business AND has a baby. Wow. And then look over there, some cute kids at the park playing. I power-walk by them alone . . . in leggings, followed by a pap, naturally. Can I go into the park? No, better not. That park is for KIDS and PARENTS. That’s a club I’m not a part of despite my VIP status. I have created so many things in my life artistically, created a career and a name for myself, but having a baby . . . well, this is the ultimate—this is creating LIFE.
Ummmmm . . . where is this fertility doctor? I’ve almost finished my free bottle of water and am about to move on to the free candies in the bowl by the window. I am paying an extra $5,000 for this VIP experience, so I may as well.
What am I going to be like when I’m “old Rebel”—like when I’m in my eighties or nineties (hopefully still acting up a storm like Betty White)? If I don’t have a family, will I be even lonelier than I am now? Not that I’m sad or anything, I’m crushing life, as I’ve mentioned. I post a fun picture of myself on Instagram and get two thousand likes instantly. There, that’s not lonely.
I think I am becoming slightly less selfish at thirty-nine years old. Before, the thought of putting someone else first seemed alien to me; now it isn’t so much.
Yes, it’s true, reader, the entertainment industry breeds egomaniacs—and you have to be some level of egocentric to survive. Because in my business YOU are your product. I am my face, my tortured hair, my overweight physique, my brain, my personality. You have to care about YOU. It’s YOU that has to perform. So my life, my journey, has been primarily about me.
But meeting the Tennis Player in my Year of Love (and yes, we’ll get to that story too . . . sorry, I know I’m a tease) taught me that I could put someone else’s needs ahead of my own. I was ready to give up on my own career to follow them around the world. Because of love. It shocked me that I could put someone else first. I was changing—I was different. I have so much love to give. I am READY. Ready to have a baby.
Bang! The special nurse suddenly opens the door and takes the clipboard with my forms. “Ready?” she says.
“Ready,” I think.
I get ushered down a corridor and into the fertility doctor’s office. Oooooh, it’s got a nice view of Beverly Hills below. From up here the people down below look like little Chanel-wearing ants.
On the desk, there are some plastic models of female reproductive organs. There are framed certificates of qualifications on the walls. Photos of babies that he helped conceive, I think. This guy is the real deal. I mean he’s kept me waiting for almost thirty minutes and I’m a celebrity VIP.
And then the doctor walks in—he’s about sixty, with wiry white hair and wearing a white lab coat. He gives me a “Doc from Back to the Future” vibe. I guess he is on the cutting edge of technology. IVF and egg freezing isn’t new, but the technology has rapidly advanced in the past few years. Lots of people are doing it. Lots of people have used this guy.
“So. Why are you here?” he asks dryly as he sits down at his desk opposite me. I pause.
Well, I’m not going to tell him everything, am I? That, in like a 30 percent effort way, I attempted to get pregnant in the past year. That I was going on quite a few dates and occasionally sleeping with guys unprotected in the event that maybe magic might happen. Do I say that?
Okay, before I continue, it wasn’t like I was one of those crazy women who approach forty and then try to bonk any random dude to get their jizz and have a baby. I wasn’t tricking anyone. I guess I just wasn’t scared of being “trapped” anymore. I was open to getting pregnant. It just hadn’t happened. I see that the doctor is getting annoyed as I’m mulling all these things in my head. He must think I’m an idiot—most people who see me in movies do. He’s a super-busy guy. He has plastic models of female reproductive parts to point to.
“Um,” I finally say. “My friend used you to freeze her eggs . . . and I think I want to do that . . . too. As well.”
I am not exactly communicating well, though. I feel nervous. Like this might be a bad idea—because maybe if I was meant to get pregnant, God would have let it happen naturally with one of those guys. I did think I was pregnant once when I was very casually dating this guy I nicknamed “the Criminal” and my period was late. One of the Pitch Perfect girls ordered a pregnancy test from a delivery app whilst we were doing press at a hotel . . . I peed on it during a break but it was negative. Not meant to be.
I’m a single woman. I don’t have a partner. Maybe I shouldn’t be doing this?
“I just wanted to ask you some questions about it.”
“How old are you?” he says, again dryly. He’s clearly NOT a Pitch Perfect fan. You can tell when you’re talking to someone and they KNOW who you are. This guy doesn’t give a shit. He sees actresses in here all the time. He’s probably looked up half of the vaginas in Hollywood.
“Thirty-nine,” I say.
“Well, you might still have eggs. We’d have to check. That’s the first point of call.”
Oh, shit—I didn’t think of the possibility that I might not even have any eggs.
I am taken to another ultrasound room down the hall to examine my lady parts. Fifty-nine-dollar Eloquii pants off. Legs up in the stirrups. A huge amount of gel goes onto an ultrasound wand that gets put up my vagina. I elect for the female nurse to do this, but the male doctor is standing right there looking up at the screen. I see my ovaries, left side, then right side. They’re like two small floating potatoes in the darkness of my insides.
“Yes, you still have follicles,” the doctor says. “Phew,” I think. For a second, I thought my journey would be over before it’d even begun. They do a blood test to check my anti-Mullerian hormone level, which I’ll get back in a few days. The AMH level shows how many eggs a woman has left. It’s like a fertility countdown.
I’m told to put on my clothes and then marched back to the doctor’s office. Someone’s just put a lubed wand up my vagina, but it all seems very natural and normal to these folks. They do this every day. But to me it’s weird. Invasive. Emotional. I’m sensitive, as I’ve said.
“You’ll probably still have eggs until you’re about forty-two or fortythree. Although I have seen women now into their late forties successfully harvest eggs and have children from those eggs.”
Then he looks me up and down. My youthful chubby face, my thick arms and thighs, my stomach, which I think is flattered by the black high-waisted leggings. He has a kind of look of disdain on his face as he clinically says, “You’d have a much better chance if you were healthy.”
WHOA. That hit me like running into the sharp corner of a kitchen counter in the middle of the night (whilst searching for ice cream). It hit me right in the gut. I’m not healthy?
Clearly, I know I’m a big girl. I’m “Fat Amy,” and I’m proud of it. I know I’m about 225 pounds (102 kilos). Even though I know logically that makes me “medically obese,” that hasn’t stopped me from doing anything in my life.
When I was filming Pitch Perfect, I looked around at the girls one day—and we’re all very different body types, all gorgeous and beautiful in our own unique ways—and I vividly remember thinking: “If we had to do a small triathlon right now—like a bit of a swim, a bike and a run—I wouldn’t be coming last.” I was very physically active. I had energy. I went to the gym. I was strong. I had fat but I also had muscles. I did aerial silks in Pitch Perfect 2, which is like total Cirque du Soleil shit.
I don’t have any MAJOR health problems. What is this doctor talking about? I’m not healthy!? I am a beacon of body positivity to so many people, Doc. Young people. “Beauty at any size.” “Confidence at any size.” People should believe that, right? I presented at the MTV VMAs in a parody of a Victoria’s Secret supermodel outfit—and instead of PINK written on my butt I put THINK—because young girls should see that! Young girls should think about how society’s trying to force them to be small—because it’s in society’s benefit to keep you tiny. It’s why cult leaders like to restrict women’s calorie intake. It’s to CONTROL them! But I’m not controlled. I am REBEL WILSON. I am loving and embracing myself despite society saying that my weight is well above normal. Despite people saying “how brave” I am for merely existing in Hollywood, which always confuses me. I am the size of the average American woman, and I am representing. But now this Back to the Future–esque stranger is basically telling me, “Stop kidding yourself.”
I was so upset. This isn’t a bad review that I can brush off—this criticism hits home. But I’m not going to tell this guy what I really think. I’m too polite. I say, “Thank you. I have a lot to think about,” as I feel a bit of excess gel on my vagina flaps. I’m now so uncomfortable, but my people-pleasing personality causes me to smile and just get out of there quickly. (Through the VIP celebrity side door.)
I bolt to my G-wagon. “I’m NOT a healthy person? Ha!” I’ve always thought it’s healthier to be overnourished than malnourished, right? All those anorexic Hollywood bitches are going to get osteoporosis— whereas with the tub of ice cream I’m eating every night, I’m safe from that. “I’m not THAT unhealthy!”
I drive home, not singing to the radio like earlier in the day. I’m stuck in classic LA traffic, contemplating. When I’m stopped at a light, I look at myself HARD in the visor mirror. I have some mascara smudged under my eye and I lick my finger to rub it off. But this doctor’s comments I can’t just rub off. Why?
Because even though body positivity, self-confidence—all that stuff—is so super important, if I’m going to be really honest with myself, I know this doctor is telling the truth. I know deep down I’m engaging in unhealthy eating habits. I know that I am carrying excess weight that eventually could lead to serious disease. I know that my father died of a heart attack a few years earlier, with complications due to diabetes. I know that I’m often in pain after a long day’s work—my legs, my feet, my lower back. I know that I have a ton of inflammation in my body because of the toxic foods I consume every day.
I know that at thirty-nine years old, I’ve trashed my body with junk food, I guess because deep down I think of myself as trash. Sure, sometimes I feel like I’m a success. Some days I feel like I’ve “made it” or I’ve “done good.” But a lot of the time I feel I’m not worthy. Not worthy of a proper relationship. Not worthy of love. I’m not worth caring about, not by myself or by others.
Why am I so confident in some areas—how could I come to America with basically nothing but the smell of my own confidence—but still have such low self-worth that I hurt myself with food every day?
In screenwriting terms, this consultation with the male fertility doctor was the “inciting incident” for changing my life for real. (That, and, well, I thought maybe the Tennis Player would like me if I was slimmer . . . because don’t us bigger girls always think that if somebody doesn’t like us it’s because of our weight?)
I’d have a much better chance of having a precious baby if I were healthier. It’s like I CAN’T LOSE WEIGHT for myself. I tried so many times in the past and it hasn’t worked. I’d try for a few weeks and successfully lose like ten pounds or so, and then it would always come back—sometimes with interest. It has to be for a future little Rebel. If I get healthier, I’ll increase my chances of harvesting healthy eggs. Which could lead to a baby.
Still in traffic. Sunset’s really not moving. Not like my mind, which is racing.
I feel like there’s an emotional war going on inside me. On the one hand I’m a proud fat female. I’ve used my weight to my advantage. I’ve turned lemons into lemon cheesecake. On the other hand, I’m ashamed of my eating behaviors. I feel guilty. I feel unlovable. Luckily nobody lives with me, so they can’t see what I do at night.
I emotionally eat. I overeat. I’m addicted to sugar. Somebody’s upset with me during the day, they don’t even have to say anything—I can just tell by their look. I feel shit. So now I wanna eat shit. I sit in front of the TV and shovel in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and half a bag of salty chips for some crunchy texture. (That “look” could’ve just been a lazy eye, by the way . . . but I don’t rationalize it . . . I eat.)
“But, Rebel, do you want to end up like your father? Dead! And do you want a child?”
“Yes. Yes, I do.”
 I have to act now.
I call my main agent, Tabatha at WME, from the car. “I’m going to get healthier,” I say.
Silence. Is she muting me whilst yelling something at her assistant? Then she speaks: “But, Rebs, why would you want to change? You’re doing sssooo great as you are.” Her voice always sounds like she has a little evil smile on her face, like she’s softly suggesting but then will ruin me if I don’t do exactly what she says. It’s as if she knows that for me, as a human being, it’s probably good to lose my excess weight (she did rep Jonah Hill and probably had a similar conversation with him at some point). But as my agent, when I’m her cash cow, it wouldn’t be good to mess up everything we’re building. She knows she has power over me. She’s a smart, important Hollywood agent and I am just this girl who came from Australia knowing nobody. I was so grateful when she started representing me that the power balance was thrown off. Technically she was supposed to work for me, but it never felt like that.
Tabatha, who makes a commission on every bit of work I do, wanted me to keep all the success going. I’d recently had my best year ever, earning twenty million US dollars for Pitch Perfect 3, Isn’t It Romantic, and The Hustle combined. (Did you just take three sips or eat three chips? . . . Ha-ha!) The agency liked me fat because they got hundreds of thousands of dollars in commission for each film where I played the fat funny girl, making self-deprecating jokes. They never thought about my mental or long-term physical health. They never thought about my fertility. It’s called show business. Not “I’m going to care about you as a human being” business. As I slowly nudge my car down Sunset Boulevard, I look at all these huge billboards promoting the latest movies and shows. My face has been on some of those billboards, and I loved it.
It feels like I’m now being forced to decide—continue to have a career OR get healthier and have a family. Although she’s being cleverly diplomatic, Tabatha has indicated that losing weight wouldn’t be good for my career . . . that I’d lose my multimillion-dollar pigeonhole. But why is this now the fucking decision?? Career or family?? Well, “because you’ve put yourself in this predicament, Rebel.” Ahhh, there it is—my supercritical interior voice. The voice that’s even harsher than Tabatha’s, that tells me I’m never good enough. The voice that tells me I’ve been too slow to find love. The voice that tells me off for eating too many desserts and forces me to get up early the next day and hit the gym. I hate that voice. Is this why I have low self-worth?
I’m the one who has been so fucking dedicated to my career for the past twenty years. I’m now the idiot who, at thirty-nine, is just starting the process of trying to have a baby. I’m the one who is single and alone. This is all because of me and my mistakes.
I call my mum in Australia to ask what she thinks. She’s obviously into me having a child—she even says she’ll retire so she can help. She thinks I should 100 percent freeze my eggs. This is like the best news she’s heard from me in a while. “That’s great, darling!”
I’m startled as a cop car blares his sirens at me. I pull over to the side of the road. There’s a homeless camp on the sidewalk, so I pull a few meters farther up. For both of our sakes. The cop says that my windows are illegally tinted and writes me a ticket. I say, “I’m sorry, Officer, I didn’t know.” I did know, though. It’s the second time I’ve been pulled over for this. Just like I knew that weighing 225 pounds (102 kilos) on my five-foot-four-inch frame is bad. I still ate the cupcakes and ordered the box of twelve when one would’ve been enough. But it’s not that bad having dark-tinted windows, is it, Officer?
Who am I hurting?

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