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How Melissa McCarthy Embraced Her 'Shortcomings' to Become a Hollywood Leading Lady: 'I'll Take Me as I Am'

04/08/2016 AT 01:00 PM EDT

Buoyed by her hilarious turns in Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, The Heat, Tammy and Spy, each of which grossed more than $100 million worldwide, Melissa McCarthy has become one of the most successful stars in Hollywood.

As she preps for the same sort of commercial triumphs with leads in The Boss and Ghostbusters, the award-winning actress is opening up about how she made the leap from television mainstay to Hollywood power player. In the latest edition of The Jess Cagle Interview with PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle, the 45-year-old chats about how she learned to throw caution to the wind and find comfort with being herself.

"[I love] all of [myself]. My flaws, my shortcomings, my body parts – all of it," she says. "Especially after having kids, I just go, 'Well, the alternative's pretty bad.' I'll take me as I am."

Watch more of The Jess Cagle Interview with Melissa McCarthy this week on PEOPLE.com

How Melissa McCarthy Embraced Her 'Shortcomings' to Become a Hollywood Leading Lady: 'I'll Take Me as I Am'| Movie News, Jess Cagle, Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy

Patrick Ecclesine / Warner Bros. / Getty


McCarthy also reveals her 16-year journey to get The Boss' Michelle Darnell to the big screen, a character she first dreamed up while a member in comedy troupe the Groundlings.

"I literally felt like a thunderbolt came through my head that was Michelle Darnell. I knew how she sounded, how she stood, how she talked to people, what her seminar was about. I knew she wore turtlenecks, French tips and statement jewelry," McCarthy says. "She came out strong and hard and I could never stop thinking about her ... Years later, I was still rambling about Michelle Darnell. Ben [Falcone, her husband] was like, 'You're either a sociopath, or we've gotta do something with this character.' "

She penned the screenplay alongside Falcone and friend Steve Mallory and shopped it around the industry. No one picked it up at first, but Universal Pictures finally gave her the green light for The Boss, which is out now.

Watch the full interview with McCarthy in the video above.
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