Queen Latifah Interview about Weight problems and Physique Picture

By definition, icons want no introduction—however right here’s a fast roundup of the accomplishments that completely place Queen Latifah in that echelon. There’s the *extraordinarily* prolonged listing of titles (she is the OG multi-hyphenate) and accolades (most just lately, the Lifetime Achievement Award on the 2021 BET Awards); her game-changing presence on the hip-hop scene; and a long time of labor in entrance of and behind the digicam on movie and TV.

Then there’s the mark she’s made within the magnificence world, breaking boundaries and advocating for extra inclusive definitions of what “magnificence” even means, to not point out the house she’s helped carve for Black ladies within the leisure trade extra broadly. And now, after three-plus a long time of public presence, there’s a brand new subject she’s tackling head-on: In collaboration with Novo Nordisk’s “It’s Greater Than Me” marketing campaign, Queen Latifah is utilizing her personal expertise to assist dismantle the stigmas surrounding weight problems.

Regal in her signature slicked-back ponytail, hoop earrings, and polka-dot shirt, the actor took a break from filming her hit TV collection The Equalizer (returning for season 2 on October 10 on CBS, btw!) to speak about discovering that she fell into the “overweight” class herself and navigating the trail ahead. “For me, on the finish of the day, none of it actually issues so long as you’re wholesome, you’ve the selection to dwell the life you wish to dwell, and also you’re not blocked from the profession you wish to have,” she tells Cosmo. Learn on for extra about her life as a “large woman” within the trade—and what she’s realized about caring for her complete self.

For lots of ladies who have been “large ladies,” we grew up with that label. What have been a number of the early messages you acquired about your physique and measurement?

That’s very fascinating—as a result of it’s all good till any individual tells you you’re not presupposed to be a giant woman or they create a destructive connotation to you being a giant woman or they’re not celebrating you being a giant woman or they don’t wish to provide the job since you’re a giant woman—that’s the place the issue and the stigma is available in. There’s not a celebration of being a “large woman”—there’s truly a disgrace hooked up to it, and that’s what begins to chip away at our shallowness. These might need been some factors of rivalry for me rising up, as a result of, earlier than that, it was like: I’m simply who I’m.

Did you ever really feel such as you needed to change your physique as a way to achieve success within the trade?

You hear about sure individuals within the enterprise, what they did to get their physique for an upcoming venture—they starved and educated; they didn’t eat for 2 weeks. You’re listening to all these things and attempting to determine: Okay, is that what I’ve to do to be a profitable rapper or profitable actor? Is that going to hinder me from carrying out my purpose?

However clearly, I didn’t let any of that cease me. I simply turned extra educated about a whole lot of issues alongside the best way. Once I wished to lose a certain quantity of weight for a selected film, I labored with a coach, and that’s after I realized that I fell into the class of “overweight.” That’s additionally after I realized I might do one thing about it and take a look at it from a special perspective.

Pondering again in your early profession, I bear in mind your TV debut on the Recent Prince of Bel-Air. The episode was about how Will was not interested in your character after he noticed she was heavier. Are you able to speak about taking over these sorts of roles?

I felt like I had one thing to talk to, like I might relate and so I might play roles like that. I’ve been on either side of it, to be trustworthy with you: I’ve met ladies significantly who’ve mentioned, “Oh, my daughter is so impressed by you,” being my measurement, being statuesque, being an even bigger woman. And I’ve met people who find themselves shocked that I used to be not as large as they thought I used to be. They’d be like, “Oh, you skinny,” and I nearly felt insulted—like, “Who you calling skinny?!” And I additionally felt like: Dang, did I let my large ladies down? I’m presupposed to be representing.

How essential was it so that you can be a illustration of a giant woman for different Black ladies and for large ladies normally?

It was all essential for me to try this. I noticed my mom as an educator represented by way of photos in Essence journal and thru Ebony journal—simply seeing lovely Black ladies who jogged my memory of my mother, my aunts, and my grandmother. I knew for my technology—the hip-hop technology—it was essential that our voices reduce by way of and that we have been allowed to be heard as properly. There weren’t as many people. However we had one thing to say, and if one in all us broke by way of, individuals heard us.

I knew it was essential for us to empower ourselves and feed different ladies shallowness.

I knew it was essential for us to empower ourselves and feed different ladies shallowness. To say: Hey, women first. U.N.I.T.Y. You don’t must be out right here preventing within the streets over any individual or over one thing silly or tearing one another aside—let’s elevate one another up. It was at all times essential to share these messages as a result of I do know we would have liked it. Black ladies are at all times being torn down by the world so we have to construct one another again up wherever we are able to discover that place.

You’re on the heart of so many intersecting identities. What has it been like so that you can navigate Hollywood as a heavier Black girl significantly?

I’m lucky to have a terrific work companion in Shakim Compere, [my production company] the Taste Unit, my mother, my father, my household—the entire group. However significantly, I’ve been lucky to determine a few individuals within the enterprise who suppose outdoors the field. For those who’re considering contained in the field, you’re not going to rent me. However should you suppose outdoors the field and you’ve got a inventive thoughts, then you’ll rent me—you’ll take a look at somebody like me and say, “There’s lots of people who seem like her. She must be represented, and people ladies who seem like her should be represented as properly.”

A variety of what you’ve seen me do in my profession is what we began. Not one thing an company delivered to me or somebody created for me: It’s been us creating lanes for ourselves. It’s been me having to kick down the door—but in addition depart the door open behind me so another person can come by way of. Magnificence Store is an ideal instance as a result of I might present [Black women] in all of our divine glory in one in all our favourite locations. I attempt to make a few of these experiences and challenges relatable in order that Black ladies see ourselves. So it wasn’t about what film do I wish to do subsequent. It was: What film do I wish to produce and the way can we carry extra individuals in?

Communicate a bit of bit about how navigating these weight problems stigmas impacted you as an individual and an artist.

I’m the daughter of activist mother and father. So when issues occur, we don’t typically simply sit there and take it—we provide you with an answer. Each day I am going to work, I take into consideration how I can proceed to ensure we’re represented. That is work, however it’s well worth the it as a result of it means the following technology can hopefully have it a bit simpler or have extra alternatives due to the work we put in.

I have to have the facility to design my life.

You get hit with one thing and it hurts your emotions, and also you’re like: Dang, actually? Or actually, once more? Or: You don’t wish to hear this from me? Any person else can say it to you, however I can’t? Then it’s like: I’m clearly not reduce out to be just right for you, so I’m going to have to determine find out how to work for myself as a result of I have to have the facility to design my life. Individuals bled and died in order that I might have that chance. I’m going to take it.

What does help seem like for you?

As I’ve grown by way of the years, I’ve realized that I’ve to verify in: to cease, keep nonetheless for a second, and ask, “How do I really feel? Am I hurting?” I’m not superwoman. I’m sturdy, however I’m not a troublesome man—I can play one on TV, however I’m delicate too. I’m a Pisces. Generally I resolve I’m going to go have a very good cry and let it out. Generally I might have to speak to any individual about what I’m feeling. Generally I have to go to the physician and say, “I am feeling this, I’m feeling that. Am I okay? What’s my baseline? The place do I stand? How’s my coronary heart?” After which they let me know.

That’s how I’ve come to be as a result of I do know the opposite facet of it, which is completely testing and being like, ‘You already know what, I’m gonna take 10 pictures and I’mma name it a day.” However that’s not who I wish to be or the life I wish to dwell. If I used to be my greatest good friend, I’d inform me: “You been working laborious, woman—you want a break. Did you eat immediately? You already know what, have some tea. When’s the final time you’ve been to the physician?” These are the issues that I would like to inform me. These are the issues I acquired to do.

This interview has been evenly edited for size and readability. To be taught extra in regards to the It’s Greater Than Me marketing campaign, go to ItsBiggerThan.com.

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