Alyssa Milano just wants fans to give her new show on Netflix a shot. Insatiable has been called out for fat-shaming by folks who saw the trailer and critics who saw more, but Milano claims it’s actually an empowering show she believes will inspire young people to be more accepting.
"The more I think about it, the trailer was feeding into exactly the thematic issue of the show, which is, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover,'" she tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue, on stands Friday. "People are judging 12 hours of TV from a minute and 28-second trailer."
The show follows Disney alum Debby Ryan as a high school student named Patty who is bullied about her weight. But then she loses weight (after an incident forces her to get her jaw wired shut for the summer), shows up at school in the fall and seeks revenge on her former bullies. Milano, 45, plays the wife of a coach (Dallas Roberts) who is training her—post slim-down—to be a pageant queen.
"At the end of the day, the show is a satire about how looks can be deceiving and deals with thematic issues like body image and what it means to win, validation and filling a void," Milano explains.
The show made her feel so "empowered," it gave her the freedom to become an outspoken advocate for women, she says: "I felt that I could have the freedom to write that #MeToo tweet, because that happened in the middle of production. I felt so empowered that I wrote my op-ed for TIME magazine about having my anxiety disorder. So, for me, the backlash was personally hurtful, because as we were filming the show, it was so empowering to find myself through the work that everyone was doing."
Milano was one the first high-profile celeb to tweet #MeToo, helping to launch a movement and revolution against widespread misconduct in Hollywood and beyond.