Is There Room in Hollywood for a 350-Pound Actress?

After speaking with a few of our nation’s leading weight loss specialists, I’ve compiled a few tips for actress Gabourey Sidibe, whose out-of-control size has me fearing for her health.

No, not really. Sidibe’s blood pressure and cholesterol level are her own business. But it seems like I’m the only one not currently professing my sincere concern for the award winner. If you thought Jessica Simpson  had it bad, take a look at Gabourey Sidibe.

The Academy-Award nominee plays Precious in the eponymous Oprah-produced drama, an obese, illiterate teenager who is sexually, physically and emotionally abused by her mother and raped (and subsequently impregnated by) her father. She also weighs about 350 pounds (which Lee Daniels, the Precious director blurted out during his acceptance speech), a weight that’s practically unheard of in Hollywood except for comedians who constantly poke fun at their girth for laughs (Roseanne, Ralphie May). This is a community that considers Christina Hendricks plus-sized, after all.

And yet (mock shock), Sidibe has somehow found success. She’s collecting prestigious awards like the underside of my bed collects dust bunnies, hobnobbing with Oprah and getting flowers sent to her by Justin Timberlake.

But, like Kirstie Alley and Jennifer Love Hewitt and Kelly Clarkson before her, Sidibe’s talent is not great enough to eclipse the number on the tag in the back of her couture gown.

Howard Stern recently nabbed himself headlines by calling her “the most enormous, fat black chick I've ever seen”  and claiming there is no place in Hollywood for someone her size. “Everyone's pretending she's a part of show business and she's never going to be in another movie…Oprah's another liar, a filthy liar," Stern said. "She's telling an enormous woman the size of a planet that she's going to have a career." 

Next, a shady-sounding supplement company called joined the fray, offering Sidibe a one-year supply of their product in exchange for an endorsement, so long as she loses weight.

"After viewing the recent pictures taken of you strolling around Santa Monica earlier this week, we at have decided we can no longer sit back and keep our mouth’s [sic] shut. Obesity if a major epidemic in the United States, and we would like to help you rid yourself of this terrible affliction. Life doesn’t have to be this way, " said their CEO in a letter to Sidibe. (Be aware that the Better Business Bureau has warned consumers to be wary of online ads relying on celebrity endorsements to sell acai-berry related weight-loss products.)

Now, rumors are swirling that Celebrity Fit Club wants her.

 OK, first things first. I strongly advise against following medical advice from anyone who thinks the plural form of mouth is spelled “mouth’s.”

Speaking of mouths, Howard Stern needs to have cement poured in his and a cooling fan placed in front of his face. Seriously, this is a man who spends his time throwing slices of baloney at women’s naked rear ends and offering wannabe stars free breast augmentation if they’ll bend over his lap and let him spank them. He’s a loser and couldn’t care less about women’s health. He claimed his attack on Sidibe was out of concern for her health, but the truth is, none of her naysayers really care about her heart health or risk of Type 2 Diabetes. They care about ratings and money and are oblivious to the fact that Sidibe is a real, live, breathing person with emotions and feelings.

The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance recently spoke out on Sidibe’s behalf, pointing out that  “You cannot tell by looking at a person if they are healthy. Fat does not equal disease and thin does not equal healthy" and reminding the public that "Achievements come in all sizes."

And just yesterday, Sidibe’s mom, Alice Tan Ridley, told that her daughter would like to lose some weight, “but the reality is that she would not have gotten the role of Precious if she had not been heavy. As her mom I would like to see my daughter healthy but if she didn’t lose weight that’s not a problem either – it runs in our family."

If Sidibe does decide to lose weight, she wouldn’t be the first black actress to make the choice as iVillage Entertainment points out. Besides Jennifer Hudson and Oprah,  Queen Latifah dropped pounds to become “a size healthy” and Mo’nique, who plays Precious’ mom in the movie), recently lost about 40 pounds.

Whatever happens, I hope Sidibe never loses her enviable wealth of self-admiration. As she’s said, "I learned to love myself, because I sleep with myself every night and I wake up with myself every morning, and if I don’t like myself, there’s no reason to even live the life. I love the way I look. I’m fine with it. And if my body changes, I’ll be fine with that."



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