While recently speaking at CurvyCon, which is a convention that celebrates body positivity and diverse figures and happens during New York Fashion Week, Gabourey Sidibe talked about the difficulties she’s faced being plus-size in Hollywood. According to Teen Vogue, at the convention, the Empire star shared that for her first big event at the Cannes Film Festival, to promote her feature film debut in Precious, she had to buy her own dress because she couldn’t get designers to dress her, and sometimes, still can’t.
For her first major red carpet appearance at Cannes, she tells the crowd, she had to buy an affordable black dress from Torrid since no one offered to dress her, a common experience that still happens today. Designers, she tells Teen Vogue, often won’t give her clothes because she’s “too fat.”
Since that time, there have been other outcries by actresses about not being embraced by designers because of their size (i.e., Leslie Jones, Melissa McCarthy). And there has also been some change. More clothing brands are making efforts to expand their sizes, and some major designers are even using plus-size models in their campaigns and on the runway. But Sidibe told Teen Vogue that there is still work to be done.
“Even though we are moving towards more visibility for plus-size people, there is a lot [of] pushback,” she shared. “So it’s important to keep fighting [and] to keep being visible until the conversation changes and [it] is no longer about our bodies because I’m not my body. I’m a whole person.”
Sidibe has shared this sentiment in the past. When she shed pounds following weight-loss surgery, which she obtained because of Type 2 Diabetes (not for vanity), people congratulated her for changing her body. She wasn’t with it.
“It just annoys me because I’m just like, don’t congratulate me on that,” she said. “If you’re going to congratulate me on my weight loss, also congratulate me every time I pee. Congratulate me every time I’m burping. Because my body actually has nothing to do with you, and I don’t really need your support for it. It seems ill-placed. I don’t need your support. That’s weird to me because my body will always be my body and always had been, and you have nothing to do with it and you’re kind of a stranger. But the way it works is that this is just my body. In the same way that this is just my face, this is just mine.”