EMPIRE STAR Gabourey Sibide says that while she welcomes ‘role model’ status, she has come to understand she must first start from within.
The 32-year-old, who has become the unofficial spokesperson for plus-size women, says it was just as important to be a “voice for myself”.
“If I live my life for other people, I’ll always fall short of me. So my whole thing is do whatever you do for yourself. If I’m a voice for myself, then maybe others will figure out how to be a voice for themselves. I believe that’s more important,” she said.
“I just need to be the spokesperson for Gabourey Sidibe – and I’m very aware of that,” she went on. “For my entire life, it has always been very hard to make me do something! So I’ve always been like, ‘I’m gonna figure out my life for myself and I’m gonna live for myself.’ I do the things that won’t disappoint me and if what I do reaches someone else and makes an impact on them, that’s wonderful. But I can’t do this for other people.”
The Oscar-nominated actress rose to prominence in 2009’s Precious alongside Mo’Nique and Mariah, she has gone on to land roles in hit TV series Empire and more recently, in 2016 film Grimsby.
Gabourey has always been vocal about body confidence. In 2015, she hit back at critics who made fun of her weight in a sex scene on Empire, saying she felt “sexy” and “beautiful” filming those risqué takes.
“I, a plus sized, dark-skinned woman, had a love scene on primetime television,” she wrote. “I had the most fun ever filming that scene even though I was nervous. But I felt sexy and beautiful and I felt like I was doing a good job.”
She is currently writing her first book, a memoir to be released in 2017.
WORDS: Layla Young