Have you all heard about Oscar-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe’s drastic 179-pound weight loss? No? Better yet, have you seen the photo? No? Google it. I’ll wait. Are you giving the screen a blank stare right now, as I did when I searched for this epic photo? Yea, I thought so. Why would someone take the time to haphazardly paste Gabby's head on plus-sized model Marquita Pring’s body? Someone with too much time on their hands, that’s who.
When I saw the original false photo and bogus article, my skin became hot with rage. You’re probably wondering why someone who is on a weight-loss journey would be so passionately affected by this. It’s simple, really: I’m a bit annoyed — okay, completely annoyed — with society’s obsession with making people something that they aren’t, especially when it comes to women and size.
Many may argue that Gabby could stand to lose a few pounds, and I would agree if her health was at stake. But I would also argue that unless you’re her personal physician and have given her a complete physical to determine whether her health is at great risk, mind your business.
Other than Jennifer Hudson, who won an Academy Award for her role as Effie White in “Dreamgirls”, there aren’t too many African American actresses who can proudly say that they nabbed a Oscar nod for their first attempt at acting, EVER! And since her debut in “Precious”, she’s managed to keep that fire going by appearing in other works such as “Tower Heist”, “ Seven Psychopaths” and Showtime’s “The Big C”. With that resume, I don’t see how her weight has hindered her at all and look forward to seeing her grow in an industry that is very size- and color-conscious.
But let’s get back to my white-hot rage. Although the photo is from a site that boasts being “false, inaccurate and untrue,” it still stung. Along with the terrible Photoshop job was an even worse story about a fake new diet fad that supposedly helped Gabby lose “179 ponds in 16 weeks”. What’s significantly disappointing is there are people out there desperate enough to try something like this plan and risk their health in the process. Unless under a doctor’s care, no one should lose more than 1 to 2 pounds a week. That should be common sense, but fad diets are so popular that common sense gets tossed out the window when people are focused on a number. I’ve been guilty of falling for them, too, but learned the hard way that they don’t stick.
To add insult to injury, Gabby was advised by her all-time favorite actress, Joan Cusack, that she should stop acting because the “business is so image-conscious”. Though Gabby is convinced the veteran actress meant well, I can only imagine the sinking feeling she felt when those words fell from Cusacks' lips and onto her ears. When I read it, MY heart sank. This was pre-“Precious” fame, but still. That’s like Idris Elba telling me I remind him of a cute little sister. Not really, but you get my drift.
Why can’t the industry learn to accept that people come in all shapes, sizes and hues, and that maybe, just maybe, us “normal folks” would like to see more people who are a mirror image of us on the silver screen? True, the photo and article were a complete farce and possibly meant for comedic purposes, but to poke fun at something like weight and falsify claims that a new diet will get you instant results is extremely dangerous. A quick fix is not the answer, kids. You must do your research and consult with those who are knowledgeable about weight loss and healthy living. It’s a trifecta of mind, body and spirit. You must first have a positive and realistic mind-set and be at peace in your spirit to achieve the “perfect” body.
Leilah Reese is a news aide at The Washington Post. For more updates on her fitness goals, follow her on Twitter and check here each Tuesday for a new blog post.
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