How 'Precious' Star Learned to Love Herself

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You've probably seen the previews for Precious, the Oprah-endorsed film that stars newcomer Gabourey ("Gabby") Sidibe as the title character. Some of you may have even seen the film already.

Last week, Gabby sat down with Oprah to promote the film, and the discussion turned to Gabby's weight and body image. Oprah, who mentioned lamenting over her own weight for years, asked where Gabby got such confidence. "You walk into a room, obviously not a size 2 or a 12, but have such great confidence about it that it doesn't seem to bother you at all."

"It's something I've had to work at," Gabby said. "I've never been a small girl. One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body." Now 26, she was about 21 or 22 when she made this crucial decision, she told Oprah. "I got tired of feeling bad all the time. I got tired of hating myself. And so I really had to have a conversation with myself and find what I loved about myself."

She started her first diet at age 6, and now she's unabashedly dancing her way onto "Ellen." (See clip below or click here.)

I applaud Gabby for choosing love instead of hate or self-loathing. That makes her an excellent example for women and men since we all need to work on accepting ourselves, regardless of how much we weigh or how we look. It's not something that suddenly happens when you lose the weight or reach a specific goal. You do need to make a conscious effort to talk to yourself like a friend and treat yourself with respect. Sometimes it can be difficult to find a single thing that you like about yourself, but we all have something that makes us special.

When you choose to love yourself, you are more likely to take good care of yourself and to behave more confidently, which in turn could open so many doors in your life, just like it has for Gabby who was virtually unknown until making this film.

Do you admire Gabby's self-confidence? Have you experienced a turning point when you decided to stop beating yourself up and start seeing yourself as the amazing person that you are?

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Gabby has a great personality and it is wonderful she has come to love herself. But she certainly does not seem to be healthy...losing some weight would be a good idea imo. Report
She seems to be in very good shape for her size. Look at the way she moves in the Ellen clip! And during all the award season interviews she never seemed to lose her breath. Health, to me, is more about being able to maintain activity than being thin, and if she is comfortable with her size, I'm not going to judge. Report
I respect her greatly and really love that she has so much self respect. It makes me look at myself and smile, knowing that someone as beautiful as her has problems. Yes she's big, yes she might need to lose weight, so what? That does not make her a bad person and it makes her stronger. She has a kind heart, and I think she's beautiful. Report
I just watched this movie yesterday.

The movie had so many emotions..I felt like I was on a emotional rollercoaster just watching this movie.

I am glad they made this movie about this family's life. Being Precious was inspirational..I cannot imagine all of the life changes she had since she was just a baby. I wish she had someone that she could come to before anything else happened. Like the grandma what the heck is up with her? She was there to take care of her grandaughters child with no problem. Well what is going on with her own daughter being so wicked and so wrong as a person. Why didn't the grandma offer Precious a place to stay. I don't know if she knew quite everything but she knew enough. The girl was a cry for help through the whole movie..

I was so happy when the alternative teacher was there for her. Helped her and others talked and felt comfortable and important. It was a nice flip side.

I hope that anyone in this situation and others that there would be more people seeing something is wrong. There were so many red flags and people need to step and give support and do what they can to help.
She was abused by her mother everyday. She was raped by the man that was suppose to love and cherish her. The mother did nothing! Her grades were low. She smacked kids in the class. In my school days you were kicked out and possiblely suspened. This girl was screaming help me through her actions..

Anyway I was sad to find out that she had hiv aids.. I was happy that her kids are taken care of and well. She definitley showed how you can be in all these situations and still come out and get a fresh start. Yes there is a lot of work still to be done and courage and strength.. We all can do it! Love yourself first and then love others. Build your confidence and work at everyday. The kids will have a better life then you might but that is the whole point.

Thanks for sharing yourself and the being Precious in this movie..

I hope you are doing well and that the next years will just get better everyday!

God Bless Report
Gabby I love you ,,, your energy is awesome, and your laughter is contagous..! I'm so happy for you, and you motivate me big time.....Thankyou!!!
I agree whole-heartedly with your comment comfortable in your own skin!! Report
I most DEFINITELY admire her attitude. Be happy in your skin!!
I do agree with LITTLEWINNIE1 (post #74) & HAPPYWRITER7 (post#54). I feel that quite a few people are assigning their feelings to Ms Sibide. If she says she is happy the way she is who are we to tell her she isn't? If she realizes later in life (like many of us) that she wants to lose body fat or tone her body, that is her choice. I know that is what I am doing. I am eating healthy and working out for ME!! Not because someone told me I needed to.
Our ENTIRE SOCIETY is based on weight. We all know it is hard to lose weight when all you do is OBSESS about it. Once you accept yourself for who you are AT THAT MOMENT.. you can move on.
I absolute admire Gabby's self-confidence. I weigh probably a whole person less than she does and I'd be caught dead dancing in public due to my self-consciousness. If Gabby does decide to lose weight, I have no doubt that she'll be aided in her journey by her self-esteem. Report
We can all take lessons from Gabby-no matter what our size. Report
I am sooooo jealous of her. Simply because she is not ashamed of who or what she is. Yes, she is indeed obese and it is not good for her. However, for many of us whom have lost weight (not that I am where I want to be) will tell you that your weight or the lack there of doesn't make who you are. I'm still the same shy, soft spoken, unadventurous person I was forty pounds ago. I have people applauding my achievement daily and I don't know how to take it. Still I walk with my head down. But I am working on that as well as my weight.

God bless Gabby and her family
Her wieght is medically ruinous and physically devistating. Why do we pretend this is a good thing. there is no sense is sitting around self loathing, but it is just as bad to think everything is great. Report
I think we need to love and appreciate ourselves, warts and all. I also hope for her that she starts wanting to feel better. She can't possibly feel really good eating to over-fullness and not being able to move freely. Many of us, even ones who aren't morbidly obese, don't realize how much better we feel until we actually eat differently and move more. I just hope those with actual health problems now don't use her as an excuse to stay where they are, and God give me the strength to do all I need to do if the day comes that my health is compromised. Report
You have to love who you are before you can become healthy. It's more mental than anything. I had to look in the mirror and say "okay Brittany. This is you. You'll have to live with this you until you change. Hold your head up and stop beating yourself up. You'll get nowhere with a nasty attitude about yourself."

You hear so often about the former fat girl still dealing with how they view themselves despite currently being much smaller. They struggle with it so much until they stress out and gain the weight back.

I applaud her. Being comfortable in your own skin is a big, important step. She'll eventually lose some weight for her health, I'm sure. She's overcome the greatest hurdle already. Kudos, Gabby! Report
She is a very engaging young woman. I appreciate everyone's concern for her health but she needs to make her own journey in her own time just like every one else. We don't get to criticize her self-acceptance just because she is not the same journey we're on at the moment. Hopefully, she will be healthy for a long time because I think she has a lot to give to the world. Report
I have to agree with HappyWriter7 - Comment #59 - Right on! We have no idea how someone else feels within her own skin. I find it sad that some people choose to project things we have heard or felt in our own lives on to someone who just happens to be happy with who she is and how she is although we may not be.

I applaud her for LIVING! How many of you have the talk with yourself saying "When I lose weight I will... fill in the blank." Thank goodness Gabby doesn't have that talk with herself or she wouldn't be acting. Loving your self and being happy with yourself no matter what the scale says is HEALTHY even if what the scale says may not be. It's the first step on a long journey to having a healthy body and mind. Getting out there and LIVING is the only way to Live no matter what your size.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for being healthier but saying that Gaby can't possibly be happy or that she doesn't look healthy is ridiculous unless you have walked a mile in their shoes. By the way, Confidence is gorgeous - just look at Gabby on the red carpet in the picture above. Too bad that all some people see is her weight and not her radiant face and spirit.
Happy Trails!

Comment 84 is DEAD on. It's great to love yourself but this poor girl doens't look healthy at ALL. Love yourself in a way that will promote you to be around longer, enjoying life.
I'm not perfect in any way, but I love myself just the way I am... a few extra pounds or not, I'm healthy, I eat well & excersice often. I want to be snowboarding when I'm 80, otherwise, I'm not living so what is the point of even being alive? I have to take care of my body now so that when I get to 80, I still feel this good. Being that over weight like that does her no good :( Report
I admire ANYONE that loves their body. I have a hard time accepting mine and to see someone with such good self esteem at that weight is amazing.


Yes, a but. In the long run, weight that high becomes a health issue. She may be fine being over weight, but her body is going to start taking hits from it. She could get cholesterol problems, blood pressure, heart issues, diabetes...the list goes on.

No one can make anyone lose weight they aren't ready to work off, but I bet if she went to the DR. they would tell her it isn't healthy to be at her current weight and that she should lose some...for her health. Report
I bet she will eventually try to lose weight. Everytime women who are exposed to Hollywood say they are happy with thier overweight bodies, in short time you hear about all the pounds they've lost and how they were told by some physician that they needed to lose weight. Report
I don't agree with accepting to live in a morbidly obese body. Hating my fat body was the best thing that ever happened to me because it motivated me to make the decision to lose the weight and get healthy. Report
She is awesome and I hope to see the movie soon. I really love her attitude and hope she maintains that mind set. Because in reality there is more to a person than just their weight and that is something that is harder to overcome for most than actually losing weight. Report
When I was 40 lbs overweight, I had to accept myself the way I was *then* in order to change. When I got depressed or felt negative about my weight, that always just drove me to eat more! I think it's too hard to change when you hate yourself; that was never motivation for me! I have to feel that I'm worth the effort, and positive self-talk is the only way to go for that! Report
I would love to see her movie but it has only played in the very large cities and has not come to small town USA theatres.......I too love her confidence!!!!!!! Report
I would rather be her size and love myself than be like I am now (I am 5'1, about 85lbs and I f**king hate myself) Report
Funny. I was wondering this through the whole movie. Report
What a delightful girl! Report
I think it's great that she let us know that she had to have a conversation with herself to end up accepting herself. I find too often people don't seem to know how to accept themseleves for who they are, they may want it but don't know how to go about getting it. I really like the idea of just talking to yourself. For me excercising and seeing what my body is capable of doing has really given me the extra push to love and appreciate my self & body together. Report
Gabby should love herself, but love herself enough not to stay morbidly obese. This talented young woman may not live to see her full potential if she continues to accept an unhealthy eating behavior and lifestyle. Fine, accept yourself where you are, but love yourself enough not to stay there. Report
I love Gabbys confidence in loving herself, and what a wonderul part she played in the movie. I have this issue with my nieces. Both are excessively overweight, but they tell me all the time that I am to obsessive with weight.
However, my heart cringes because I see how much their heart cringes when they overeat or eat foods not good for them on a daily basis. It's for health reasons that I think Gabby and my nieces need to get rid of the excess weight.

I love the fact that she loves herself no matter what others think about her. Report
Good for her! :) I remember Ellen telling her not to let the Hollywood life change her. I hope she takes that advice. Not saying that she shouldn't decide to lose weight if she wants to, but that she should continue to love herself and if she decides to lose weight it should be for HERSELF and for her HEALTH, not for Hollywood. Report
I completely admire Gaby for her self confidence. I am finally getting to the point where I have accepted that certain features about myself are just not going to change and I'm ok with that.
Btw- I watched Precious this weekend and it was an amazing movie. She did a great job in this role. Report
I'm in love with this woman, hers is a message that more of us need to hear. Thanks for sharing. Report
Great article. Thank you Report
her confidence is so wonderful. I think i need to have that same conversation with myself. Report
Thanks for the article.... love to see that glorious spirit, and I hope she finds a way to get more healthy- keep on dancing, girl! Report
liking yourself and accepting you are who you are and thats ok usually comes with age i hope gabby also knows it is ok to decide you can choose to change women change their minds all the time what you are happy with today may change next month Report
I applaud Gabby, for her self confidence and her willingness to share her thoughts with the rest of us. Report
I spent several years thinking about nothing but my weight, how I could lose, how bad I was for not losing, how I didn't like to shop for clothes, and on and on and on. One day I just thought THIS IS NOT WORTH IT. I am wasting so much time and happiness obsessing about an issue that I beat myself up on. I WILL NOT think about my weight one more time. Magically, I was very much happier and no longer gained weight but completely stabilized. Of course I wish I had made that decision earlier. Was my weight healthy? No. Was life easy at that weight? No. But I never would have finally gotten to the stage I am at now where I have lost 80 pounds, had knee replacements, workout four times a week and can shop all day or travel without difficulty if I had not let up on myself. I guess deciding to STOP obsessing was my form of "positive self-talk." No amount of self-help reading or suggestions from other people to make myself healthy "for myself" had any effect. Sometimes the best path is to STOP the negative as a baby step to a future choice for the positive. It sounds like that is what Gabby Sidibe decided at 21. Yes, her weight is very concerning, but give her points for starting with decisions that grew her confidence. It will lead to many, many better decisions. And if you are active on this site, then you must be interested in improving your weight and health outlook. Tell me please, did critical or judgmental comments like those in some of the posts have ANY EFFECT when made to you in the past? If they did, I would be interested to understand how that affected your choices. If not, then have the grace to realize that "should," "never," "must," "can't," etc. is counter-productive at best. Gabby, I admire you and do hope you will make even further personal strides to get to better health. Report
I agree with so many of you, loving herself in "this state", I believe is a first step. Next comes loving herself enough to do something to improver her state of health. If she doesn't, then she doesn't really love herself. Right now I am more at the step where I have stopped letting others comments destroy my Self-esteem. The people that hurt the most are supposed to be people who care. I don't know what their problem is, but it doesn't make sense to me, to say negative things, things that we know will hurt people and their self-esteem to them, repeatedly especially when we aren't saying things that are positive at other times that lifts them up and builds up their confidence and self-esteem at others. It may have just been something from their childhood but it has been happening since I was 7 that is 38 years now. I have to become stronger to keep it from hurting me. I love my personality, but I don't love my weight, and it may be a slow change but it is going to happen! Report
I am totally inspired by her! Society is run by numbers and self improvement in every way. Nobody says its okay to be different anymore. I was sadden by the comments saying she's not happy cause she isn't healthy. You don't know her life nor are you a doctor. Its possible to be fat and healthy. And it has a lot to do with the mental state as well.. If she choses to lose weight for her own reasons then that is fine, yet that is beyond this topic. This is about rejoycing because someone like you didn't let the world make her hate herself for what she wasn't! And found a way to love herself for who she is.
And it g0t a role in a movie and will open doors for other things as well. Weight doesn't come off over night. In the mean time its best to work with what you got!
That is admirable!
God Bless! Report
I saw the film yesterday, and I am still in some sort of awaking over the film, truly a must see, I think it's great that Gabby is proud of herself and is comfortable in her own skin and loves herself. That is a must no matter what size you are and I pray now that she uses that strength to bet the best she can be on the health side and if that's losing weight I know she will master that with time. Report
I love her self confidence and attitude. I'm still working at aceepting me for me, extra pounds and all. Report
After reading this post, my initial reaction was similar to some of those here: it's great that she can accept herself, but it's not healthy. After some inner reflection, I believe that I am in no position to judge how someone else should live. If she's happy, great. If she wants to change later on, great. Just lest ye be judged... Report
I haven't seen this movie yet, but OMG I love her!! She's absolutely adorable and so full of joy. I wanna go get coffee and have a sleepover and hang out with her. She's like the fabulous friend everybody wants living next door... this made me really want to see this movie. :o) Report
She may be confident but she dying a slow death. I sure she has a lot how health problems,truthbe told.I met she didn't address that on Oprah. Report
I do not know who Gabby is nor did I see her on TV during an interview but even if I did I certainly would not take what was said on a television show as absolute truth. As for the second question - "Have you experienced a turning point when you decided to stop beating yourself up and start seeing yourself as the amazing person that you are? " - I think my turning point came when I was in grade school and my classmates has their little clicks and I never fit in - I decided then that if they did not want to get to know me then too bad so sad for them. I felt I did not need to hang around kids who were mean. Report
I actually saw this film yesterday and it is very moving. Women are treated like this everyday all the time and this film grabs you and sucks you in to where you put yourself into her position and wonder what would you do. I do admire Gabby and the fact that she is very self confident even though she is over weight is amazing. People are so quick to judge a person by saying what they should do. Yes, losing weight is beneficial in many ways than just building self confidence but if you don't feel confident you won't be successful at weight loss. It is women like Gabby and Monique who inspired me to lose weight not just to feel better about myself but to improve my health and lengthen my life. Report
yes I would like to be thinner for health reasons, but not to please other people I always felt if people looked down on you for being overweight they where the ones with the problems. Report
I agree with the self love and confidence in who you are. I cannot agree with accepting the fact that there is nothing you can do about it, then accept the fact that you are unhealthy and out of shape and do not want to do a thing about it. It is never that a person can't, it is that a person either does not know how to or simply won't. Sparkpeople teaches us and supports us, I think we have all been in a position where we did not know how to do it properly. Report
I have never even heard of her. Report
I think everyone as that "aha" moment when we have to come to terms with ourselves and our body image. I have not seen the movie and probably won't since it looks so sad and I would cry through it. My hat is off to Gabby for the decision on how she wants to live her life. Report
Acceptance of who and what you are is the only way to successfully relate to the world around you. Loving yourself, faults and all, is necessary for a good quality of life. Realizing, accepting and loving yourself does not preclude a person from trying to make improvements in areas that need attention. Loosing weight and becoming healthy could only improve Gabby's quality of life. Report
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