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 many years 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 obstacles and advocating for extra inclusive definitions of what “magnificence” even means, to not point out the house she’s helped carve for Black girls within the leisure business extra broadly. And now, after three-plus many years 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 might have the selection to dwell the life you need to dwell, and also you’re not blocked from the profession you need to have,” she tells Cosmo. Learn on for extra about her life as a “large lady” within the business—and what she’s discovered about caring for her entire self.

For lots of girls who had been “large women,” we grew up with that label. What had been among the early messages you acquired about your physique and measurement?

That’s very attention-grabbing—as a result of it’s all good till anyone tells you you’re not alleged to be an enormous lady or they create a unfavorable connotation to you being an enormous lady or they’re not celebrating you being an enormous lady or they don’t need to provide the job since you’re an enormous lady—that’s the place the issue and the stigma is available in. There’s not a celebration of being a “large lady”—there’s truly a disgrace hooked up to it, and that’s what begins to chip away at our shallowness. These may need been some factors of competition 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 in an effort to achieve success within the business?

You hear about sure folks within the enterprise, what they did to get their physique for an upcoming challenge—they starved and skilled; 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 engaging in my aim?

However clearly, I didn’t let any of that cease me. I simply turned extra educated about loads of issues alongside the best way. After I wished to lose a specific amount of weight for a particular film, I labored with a coach, and that’s after I discovered that I fell into the class of “overweight.” That’s additionally after I realized I may do one thing about it and have a look at it from a distinct perspective.

Considering again in your early profession, I keep in mind your TV debut on the Contemporary Prince of Bel-Air. The episode was about how Will was now not interested in your character after he noticed she was heavier. Are you able to discuss taking up these sorts of roles?

I felt like I had one thing to talk to, like I may relate and so I may play roles like that. I’ve been on either side of it, to be sincere with you: I’ve met girls notably who’ve mentioned, “Oh, my daughter is so impressed by you,” being my measurement, being statuesque, being an even bigger lady. 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 women down? I’m alleged to be representing.

How necessary was it so that you can be a illustration of an enormous lady for different Black girls and for giant women usually?

It was all necessary for me to do this. I noticed my mom as an educator represented via photographs in Essence journal and thru Ebony journal—simply seeing lovely Black girls who jogged my memory of my mother, my aunts, and my grandmother. I knew for my era—the hip-hop era—it was necessary that our voices minimize via and that we had been allowed to be heard as nicely. There weren’t as many people. However we had one thing to say, and if one among us broke via, folks heard us.

I knew it was necessary for us to empower ourselves and feed different girls shallowness.

I knew it was necessary for us to empower ourselves and feed different girls shallowness. To say: Hey, women first. U.N.I.T.Y. You don’t need to be out right here preventing within the streets over anyone or over one thing silly or tearing one another aside—let’s carry one another up. It was at all times necessary to share these messages as a result of I do know we wanted it. Black girls 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 middle of so many intersecting identities. What has it been like so that you can navigate Hollywood as a heavier Black lady notably?

I’m lucky to have a fantastic work accomplice in Shakim Compere, [my production company] the Taste Unit, my mother, my father, my household—the entire group. However notably, I’ve been lucky to establish a few folks within the enterprise who assume exterior the field. In case you’re pondering contained in the field, you’re not going to rent me. However if you happen to assume exterior the field and you’ve got a artistic thoughts, then you’ll rent me—you’ll have a look at somebody like me and say, “There’s lots of people who seem like her. She must be represented, and people girls who seem like her should be represented as nicely.”

Loads 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 additionally go away the door open behind me so another person can come via. Magnificence Store is an ideal instance as a result of I may present [Black women] in all of our divine glory in one among our favourite locations. I attempt to make a few of these experiences and challenges relatable in order that Black girls see ourselves. So it wasn’t about what film do I need to do subsequent. It was: What film do I need to produce and the way can we deliver extra folks 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 dad and mom. So when issues occur, we don’t usually simply sit there and take it—we provide you with an answer. Every single day I’m going to work, I take into consideration how I can proceed to verify we’re represented. That is work, nevertheless it’s definitely worth the it as a result of it means the subsequent era can hopefully have it a bit simpler or have extra alternatives due to the work we put in.

I have to have the ability 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 need to hear this from me? Someone else can say it to you, however I can’t? Then it’s like: I’m clearly not minimize out to give you the results you want, so I’m going to have to determine methods to work for myself as a result of I have to have the ability to design my life. Individuals bled and died in order that I may have that chance. I’m going to take it.

What does help seem like for you?

As I’ve grown via the years, I’ve discovered that I’ve to examine 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 determine I’m going to go have a great cry and let it out. Generally I may have to speak to anyone 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 realize what, I’m gonna take 10 pictures and I’mma name it a day.” However that’s not who I need to be or the life I need to dwell. If I used to be my greatest good friend, I’d inform me: “You been working exhausting, lady—you want a break. Did you eat as we speak? You realize what, have some tea. When’s the final time you’ve been to the physician?” These are the issues that I want 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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