When Precious was released, everyone was star struck by Gabourey Sidibe. Here was a young woman who wasn’t just curvy, she was flat out big. I remember watching the movie and being dazzled by her acting, and when I proceeded to watch her being interviewed, I was charmed by her contagious giggle and ability to pull off neon eyeshadow. I’ve been wondering when she is going to rock Hollywood yet again with another five-star performance, so I did a brief Google search and came across a recent article Lauren Berninger from the Huffington Post did on her: “‘Precious’ Star Gabourey Sidibe’s Monday-Brand Confidence.”
Gabourey speaks freely about how difficult it was for her to reach a point of confidence — as someone who never received a compliment growing up, it took her into her second decade of life to be able to fly her freak flag proudly. And honestly, I can’t imagine anyone who picked on her for being fat or called her ugly when she was a teenager isn’t kicking themselves now. Yet despite her fame, her probable fortune and the fact that she’s been on the cover of a dozen major magazines, tabloids still try guessing at her weight for fun. I was appalled to read the following:
“Gabourey tells a story of walking into CVS one day and seeing herself on the cover of a tabloid that was guessing her weight (while she was buying a candy bar, no less!). But what was she going to do, cry in the middle of CVS and end up on the cover of another tabloid? She had to keep going. ‘You need confidence that will sustain you,’ she says.” I’m amazed and confused by this situation — amazed at her ability to maintain sheer, beautiful confidence despite trashy tabloids trying to get her down, and confused that the trashy tabloid didn’t realize she’s damn beautiful and proud of it.
The sad reality is that even as we grow up, whether we achieve stardom or not, people will always be cruel. I have no doubt that skinny women in the spotlight are often bashed for looking emmaciated or accused of eating disorders. How many times has Keira Knightley admitted to trying to gain weight but simply not been able to because of her metabolism? Some people will find any “fault” or imperfection in our aesthetics, and all there is to be done about that is maintain your confidence.
At the end of the interview, Gabourey said, “I am ambitious for the continuation of my happiness.” This is all one can strive to do. Strive to find a place within yourself that makes you happy. Strive to find the career or lack there of if that makes you happy. Strive to find yourself, because that’s probably the only thing that’ll ever get you close to happy. And if you are fat and beautiful, say you’re proud of it, because there is no reason not to, tabloid publicity or not.