melissa mccarthy ELLE coverWhen eyeballs first hit Melissa McCarthy's ELLE cover late last week, the backlash was SEVERE. Critics slammed the ladymag for covering up the plus-sized actress in a bulky, charcoal Marina Rinaldi coat. Skinny, easily-PhotoShopped-into-even-skinnier actresses can bear all in mini-dresses and swimwear on the cover, but when it's Melissa McCarthy, 'course they need to bust out the full-length trench! Clearly, it was one of those attempts to turn the media spotlight on a fuller-figured woman that just turns out looking half-assed and insulting, right?

Nope! As it turns out, Melissa chose that coat herself, she told E! yesterday.

She explained:

What I found so bizarre is I picked the coat. I grabbed the coat. I covered up. I had a great black dress on, but I thought, it comes out in November. ... I was so sick of summer. I live in Southern California. I was like, 'Give me a big coat to wear. Give the girl some cashmere!'

Melissa even went on to reiterate how much she actually, legitimately loved the trench:

They were like, 'The dress is really great,' but I was like, 'Yeah, but look at this.' I was just shocked I didn't steal it. Now I think I really should have the coat. I'm petitioning for that coat. Give me that coat. I earned it, damn it!

HA! Give the lady the coat! But no, really, how much do her comments set the record straight and put the critics in their place? I should clarify -- it's a whole different ballgame if a woman like Melissa who is closer to a size 14 than a 4 feels like she HAS to wear a coat to look acceptable on the cover of a nationwide women's magazine. But I don't get the feeling that's what was going on here at all ...

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The funny woman seems completely comfortable with who she is, what she looks like, her image, etc. We assumed Melissa was being inhibited, when in actuality, she was empowered in that Marina Rinaldi trench! Maybe it's a lesson in media doing a better job of showcasing women wearing whatever makes them personally feel beautiful -- be it something that flaunts a lot of skin and curves or not. 

What was your initial reaction to this cover photo?