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In this month's issue of Self, Jennifer Hudson drops a big bomb: "I'm prouder of my weight loss than my Oscar!"
Last time I checked, winning an Oscar was considered the height of professional achievement for an actor. It just doesn't get any better (unless maybe you count becoming half of a one-name celebrity couple). Plus, Jennifer Hudson's Oscar isn't just any Oscar -- she was only the third ever black woman to win in the whole history of Best Supporting Actresses. And she's the very first black actor to win an Academy Award for a debut film performance.
Having your hard work and talent celebrated by the entire world while making history or dropping a bunch of dress sizes? Apparently, it's no contest.
But I don't want to be too hard on Jennifer, because, frankly, she sounded super confused about her body. On the one hand, she insists that she wasn't ever unhappy with her weight, claiming it wasn't until she got identified as "plus-sized" on the red carpet that she even realized it was a thing: "In the neighborhood I'm from in Chicago, a 16 is normal."
On the other hand, this isn't the first time Jennifer has dropped a lot of weight; she lost 60 pounds before appearing on American Idol in 2004... one assumes, before she left Chicago. And she admits that the diet involved working out three times a day and living on skinless chicken breasts, saying, "I used to deprive myself, thinking that was healthy."
I always appreciate when celebrities admit they've done crazy things to lose weight. And it's great that Jennifer is no longer putting her health at risk to be a certain size. She also says she never learned to eat healthy as a kid, so the real impetus for this weight loss was wanting to do better for her son. Admirable. (Even if it's not always true that being heavy means you're unhealthy.)
Yet even as she extolls her weight loss success, Jennifer keeps saying things like, "I love my curves" and "I was proud to be a big girl." And this brings us back to that key question: Can you love your body but still want to change it? I get that Jennifer doesn't want to alienate her original fan base, but I'm not sure she can have it both ways. And I'd rather she admit to having some conflicted feelings about her body, which motivated her weight loss just as much as her newfound zeal for health. Because then, I can understand why she's prouder to have succeeded at thinness than acting -- it's because she's succumbing to the pressure we all feel, all the time, and Hollywood actresses maybe most of all.
But I'm still more excited about her Oscar.