Octavia Spencer weighed in on Donald Trump and Election 2016 and the actress looks remarkably thinner than she did as the chubby cook Minnie in "The Help." Spencer attributed part of that weight loss to the supplement Sensa for which she was a spokesperson. That relationship ended but Spencer continues to appear smaller. Is the minier Minnie really losing weight or are looks deceiving? Is it down to the odd way movies and TV camouflage and accentuate weight for roles? One way or the other, clothes, or at least film costuming does make the woman.

Octavia Spencer: obesity is in the eye of the beholder

Minnie Jackson in the film adaptation of the book "The Help" didn't trust skinny cooks or even skinny women. And the overweight gal exemplified that with her flawless culinary talents. But was her apparent obesity down to good cooking or deceptive costuming? (It wasn't due to her chocolate pie, for sure!). In later shows "Insurgent" and spinoff "Ascendant," Spencer plays a futuristic secret agent and in "Black and White" a modern grandmother. She is clearly not thin, but it isn't so noticeably obese as in her 1960s' maid uniform in "The Help."

Octavia Spencer: fashion dictates perception

The "Allegiant" actor lost about 20 pounds in 2013 after "The Help." She may have shed some more.

But the biggest takeaway in her seemingly more slender body is how film, but also fashion masks and exploits body size. Actors like Liam Neeson, Christian Bale, Jared Leto and Denzel Washington have been known to add or subtract large amounts of weight for roles. But in many cases, that isn't necessary. Looking fat or thin is often just a matter of how you wear it.

Octavia Spencer: clothes make the woman (look smaller)

To make yourself appear overweight, wear dumpy shapeless clothes. Dress in matronly, unflattering baggy clothes and you'll look bigger and older. But ironically you can achieve the same effect wearing too-small outfits. Skin-tight pants and shirts reveal every unwanted bulge.

Mariah Carey should take note here. They exploit cellulite. One reason Octavia looks leaner is that in other movies, she's wearing well-fit garments. As Kim Kardashian has taught, shapewear, like Spanx, can also smooth down the tummy. But they don't make it disappear. The solution is form-fitting slacks with flared legs, modest heels, attractive sweater or blouse with V-neck or scoop that covers larger areas but doesn't highlight them. Oh, and posture is important too. Express a healthy body image by moving with grace and confidence, whatever your size.