‘Empire’s’ Gabourey Sidibe talks body image, being a role model

EMPIRE: Guest star Gabourey Sidibe as Becky on EMPIRE premiering Wednesday, Jan 7 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2014 Fox Broadcasting Co. CR: Michael Lavine/FOX
Michael Lavine/FOX

“Empire’s” Gabourey Sidibe is back. In case you missed it, on Wednesday, Sept. 23, Sidibe reprised her role in the Fox drama as the wigged out, blonde Becky. In addition to season two’s kick off, the Oscar-nominated actress has been on a press tour celebrating her continued success and discussing the many challenges that come with being a role model.

“While it makes me nervous to represent for anyone, I am extremely proud that some brown, round little girl sitting in front of the TV can look at me and … [know] that she has some value. That is the most important thing in the world. … What’s surprising is that it doesn’t always come from kids. I get it from the brown, round little girl but also the skinny White man. I think I am a round peg trying to fit into a square hole. And I think that’s what people relate to,” she told the AP.

“When I was a young girl, I didn’t see enough of myself on TV or in magazines. And representation is very important to everyone, but especially to girls like me, and people like me, whether it be because of my body, because of my race, because of my skin color, because of my awkwardness or where I come from,” continued Sidibe, on body image and being a role model.

During the 2015 Emmy Awards, best actress in a drama recipient Viola Davis took a similar stand on the representation of Blacks in television during her stirring acceptance speech: “You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there. So here’s to all the writers, the awesome people that are Ben Sherwood, Paul Lee, Peter Nowalk, Shonda Rhimes, people who have redefined what it means to be beautiful, to be sexy, to be a leading woman, to be Black.”

We applaud these women for speaking up and standing out. While Sidibe claims the idea of being a role model makes her “nervous,” she does it effortlessly.

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