'Tried on lingerie in their office': Maitland Ward reveals how 'Boy Meets World' execs made her strip 'more than once'
Maitland Ward, a former 'Boy Meets World' star, startled everyone by leaving the Disney bubble and entering the pornographic world. Having played beloved redhead Rachel McGuire in 'Boy Meets World' and, as a teen, Jessica Forrester in the CBS soap 'The Bold and the Beautiful', she is all too familiar with the problem of typecasting. Her decision to leave mainstream Hollywood for raunchy, X-rated content also had to do with her sexual awakening and the realization that she could express her desires and still be a respected entertainer.
Ward, 45, a proponent of sex positivity, claims that her move into adult film work has finally given her the challenging acting roles she's always desired and granted her recognition. Her pornographic debut earned her an Adult Video News award, frequently referred to as the "Oscars" of adult entertainment, and the support of her audience, who admire her for living her truth.
In her new book, 'RATED X', which is set to release on September 6, 2022 by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Ward exposes the double standards that Hollywood imposes on young women, often forbidding them from being "too attractive" while preying on them.
Ward describes one such 'behind-the-scenes' incident in which, she claims she was coerced into being naked by 'Boy Meets World' show executives before she understood the impact of doing so. "Producers of 'Boy Meets World' wanted me to try on lingerie in their office. Since Rachel was the only character that regularly removed her clothing, this occurred more than once."
"I would be picked up from my dressing room by an assistant and taken upstairs, where I would be given a variety of options—some lighthearted and girly, some so suggestive that I knew Disney would never accept them—but I would still try them on. I'd strip off in front of a paper-thin curtain, and I'm sure they could make out the outline of my naked form. They were predominantly men, and as I changed, I could hear them laughing and chit-chatting as an audience might do before a performance," according to her New York Post article. "When I emerged, I was told to remain in the middle while they decided whether or not it had shown enough to thrill the boys or not nearly enough." Exposing the hypocrisy of these encounters, she adds that Michael Jacobs, the show’s creator, would say, "You’re like a daughter to me."
"Michael mainly chose the famous purple number for the episode where Rachel dances while doing the dishes to teach Cory (Ben Savage) and Shawn (Rider Strong), as well as their girlfriends, a lesson. He remarked, 'Those men will go crazy; it's not too much, but enough.' Following her breakup with Jack (Matthew Lawrence) during the final season, Rachel moved in with the girls. They claimed it would broaden my storytelling, but in practice, it felt more like it gave more boys a chance to swoon over me," says the actress in the article.
"The writers characterized Cory and Shawn as f**kboys, when it came to Rachel. They were these fantastic guys to the ladies they loved, but when Rachel showed up there, they were too sexualized, which appeared to change them into people who were dismissive and had a hint of antagonism. They became irate when Rachel didn't perform as they had liked or anticipated. Unlike Jack and Eric (Will Friedle), who went to great lengths to win Rachel's devotion, these two felt it would be amusing to sneak around and rifle through Rachel's journal entries and underwear while she was in the shower," says the actress.
"I won't deny that I liked the attention. However, the audience cheered and whistled when I entered the stage and began to dance. Even though I wasn't quite at ease with my body, something was thrilling about having my eyes fixated on my lightly dressed physique. My issue with the situation wasn't how naked I was in general. I would have enjoyed it a lot if they had approached me and asked for my opinion on the subject. The thing that worried me was that I could never shake the impression that the writers were making jokes about me and undervaluing me as if I were the punch line to a joke I would never understand." the actress further claims.