‘1883’ Star Isabel May Discusses Why Her Pants ‘Aren’t That Flattering’

by Courtney Blackann
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We realize that their clothes probably aren’t the first thing on your mind when watching “1883,” but there’s actually a lot of thought that goes into the costuming for the 19th-century drama series. And Elsa Dutton star Isabel May is here to talk about her mad respect for women during that time period as well as why her 1800s trousers aren’t the cutest style.

We know that Elsa ditches her constricting layered dress for some custom pants. This is so she can join the ranks of her fellow cowboys and help herd cattle across the west. Her trousers go along with her spirited nature as the young Dutton girl breaks many gender barriers.

And while we know that “1883” creator Taylor Sheridan prefers his stories to be told authentically, the costumes are a definite reflection of that. So what does Isabel May think of her clothing?

19th Century Clothing

The actress recently opened up in an interview with Entertainment Tonight with her thoughts about what pioneers, and especially women, must have had to endure in order to live in the 1880s. When asked about what it would have been like to be pregnant during a trek like that, May had this to say:

“Brutal!” the 21-year-old says. “I give so much credit to women who had to carry a child at that time. Fortunately, Elsa isn’t wearing a dress anymore. In [episodes] 4 and 5, she gets to wear those very large pants and I’m not going to lie, I did feel like I was wearing a diaper just a tad because they were so massive on me. But it’s OK, it’s fine. They aren’t that flattering but again, not supposed to be so [I] embraced that. So maybe the pants will be a little more comfortable to be in with a growing child. But yeah, a dress seems like the wrong way to go when carrying a kid.” 

We give her props for rocking the trousers and ditching her dress. Elsa is more suited to a cowboy life anyway, but she does hint at possibly being pregnant. This begs the question…could the innocent young woman have to bear a child while on the journey? With her spirit, the plight wouldn’t be too terrible, but it would definitely propel her into a less idyllic world.

‘1883’ Star’s Future and Most Recent Episode

In the last episode, Elsa learns the hard reality of life on the road – and the demons that come from all around. Her love, the likable cowboy Ennis, is brutally shot in a robbery attempt just after he and Elsa declare their love for one another. The tragedy hit a lot of fans hard. In fact, Ennis actor Eric Nelsen didn’t even know his character would be killed off so quickly. The Texas native says he begged Taylor Sheridan to reconsider.

When I got cast, I had no idea. Once I was sent all the scripts, I finally started to read them. When I came to the end of Episode 5, I lost it,” the ‘1883’ star reveals. “I was emotional and crying and just in disbelief. I ran to Taylor’s house and I said, ‘Taylor, why? Can’t we change this, please?’” Nelsen laughs.

He also added:

“It all makes sense in the scheme of things. Although Ennis’s death is incredibly heart-wrenching and sad, it is a turning point for the series and for Elsa,” the actor continues. “It had to happen this way, unfortunately for me!”

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