Gabourey Sidibe: 'It's really hard to get dressed up for awards shows'
For Gabourey Sidibe, getting dressed for red carpets and awards shows is really hard when she knows that she’ll be made fun of because of her weight.
“There’s always a big chance that if I wear purple, somebody will call me Barney. If I wear white, a frozen turkey. If I wear red, a pitcher of Kool Aid,” she admitted during a monologue at The 2018 MAKERS Conference on Monday evening. And yes, those are actual tweets she’s received critiquing her looks.
“Twitter will blow up with nasty comments about how a recent earthquake was caused by me running to a hot dog park,” she said. “Diet or die, they say.” Every time Sidibe, 33, who underwent laproscopic bariatric surgery in May of 2016 after years of struggling to lose weight naturally, puts on a dress, she also has to face trolls.
But that’s not all: “It’s what I deal with every time someone takes a picture with me. Sometimes when I’m being interviewed by a fashion reporter, I can just hear their inner dialogue, ‘How is she getting away with it? Why is she so confident? How does she deal with that body? Oh my god that body! Holy s*** I’m going to catch fat!‘”
However, even though she’s a victim of incessant trolling, the Precious star has unparalleled levels of confidence and has since she was a kid. So where does it all come from? Mostly, she admitted, she was born a boss with an advanced degree in shade, but her aunt Dorothy Pitman Hughes played a major part in developing her sense of self-worth and resilience as well.
Hughes, a feminist, activist, and co-founder of Ms. Magazine, posed for a photograph with her friend of Gloria Steinem in 1971 issue for Esquire magazine. As Sidibe explained, that framed image, now iconic, hung in her childhood home and served as major inspiration:
“Every day, I had to get up and go to school where everyone made fun of me and then I had to go home where everyone made fun of me. And every day it was really hard to get going no matter which direction I was going. But on my way out of the house I found strength. In the morning, on my way out into the world, I passed a portrait of my aunt and Gloria together. Side-by-side they stood, one with long beautiful hair and the other with the roundest Afro I’ve ever seen. They both held their fists really high in the air, powerful, confident, and every day I’d leave the room my brother, my mother and I shared and I’d give that photo the fist right back and I’d march off into battle. And at the end of the day, when I walked back up the stairs, I’d give that photo the fist again and I’d continue my march back into more battle. And I didn’t really know at the time what I was being inspired with but I was I mean if they could be that cool and that strong then maybe I could too.”
But there’s more to Sidibe’s positivity than a picture, it’s also her optimistic outlook: “It’s my good time and it’s my good life despite what you think of me. I live my life. I live my life because I’m here, I dare to show up still when anyone else might hide their face and their entire body in shame, I show up because I want to have a good time.”
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