What’s the main difference between Chicago rapper Twista, best known for his Guinness Book Of World Records title of fastest rapper in the world once in 1992, and his Billboard Hot 100 hit “Slow Jamz”, and actress Gabourey Sidibe, best known for her starring role in Precious? Two words: longevity and relevance. And Sidibe wants him to know that.
When it comes to Hollywood, the odds are typically against the Empire actress. Her start in film was one for the books, as she found out about an audition for the Lee Daniels film via a phone call from a friend while she was in the middle of preparing for an exam. Taking the leap, she put one foot in front of the other and went forward to defy odds and became the famous figure that she is today.
However, although the role would lead to massive accolades and acclaim for not just the film, for the actress, she would also face ridicule for her body image following her appearance in the starring role. Sidibe has mentioned before that she’s struggled with her weight for the majority of her life, starting her first diet at the age of six, as she’s once told Oprah in an interview. Growing up, she says she faced emotional abuse due to her weight from all sides, not being able to escape it as the abuse also came from her very own mother, who had also been a fat girl at the same age Sidibe had been at the time, and father.
Sidibe shared that her confidence building began at a young age, having to fend for herself amidst bullying at home and at school. During an interview with Andy Cohen at Watch What Happens Live, she had the opportunity to pass down some advice to a 12-year-old girl who is facing the same sort of predicament at her young age. “Junior high school is a battlefield,” she said. “Junior high school sucked for me. High school sucked for me. I didn’t get good with myself until I was like, 25 years old.”
The Antebellum actress also recalled a time in the same interview when she met her favorite actress right before she starred in her breakthrough role. “I met Joan Cusack, who is my favorite, favorite — I love her — but it was before I became [famous] or whatever. I was at some industry party, and she says, ‘Are you an actress?’ And I said, ‘Yeah!’ And she says, ‘Oh honey, you should really quit the business, it’s so image-conscious.’ I think she really, really meant it in a good way… but I was like ‘Oh, please don’t tell me to quit my job!'”
While some thought that the actress would be somewhat of a “one-hit wonder” after the film, she continues to defy the odds. Her portrayal in Precious brought the first time actress an Oscar nomination in the “Best Actress” category, and she has starred in many films and television series’ in the ten years since her debut. She has also gone on to lose a great deal of weight since her introduction to the world. Yet, Sidibe still faces opposition.
Sidibe shared in a new interview with Collider that albeit she is grateful for what she has achieved in her career since the film has been released, she does realize that doors haven’t opened for her as easily as they have for her white counterparts.
The consistently working actress also can add another notch in her belt of achievements as she has recently revealed that she and boyfriend Brandon Frankel have now become engaged. “It’s weird that people think we’re already married but I guess our hearts and intentions for each other are just that clear to see,” Sidibe wrote in her Instagram caption. “My BFF proposed and now I get to hold him forever. The funniest man I’ve ever met. The sweetest human to exist.”
In the midst of her celebration, rapper Twista, who although has seen his share of massive success doesn’t quite match up to hers, posted a meme to his Instagram that involved the actress. The meme showed Sidibe in comparison to Bernice Burgos, with both of their images accompanied by a list of hypothetical scenarios. “Who y’all choosing A or B,” the rapper wrote, with option A being Gabby and B labeled as Burgos.
While some fans found it to be funny, some took the time to defend the actress. No one, however, could defend her better than she herself. The actress was not about to let someone bully her yet again. “Wow. I um…. gee,” she began. “@twistagmg I only like you as a rapper I forgot about in 2005. But good luck with option B!”