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 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 digital camera 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 area she’s helped carve for Black girls within the leisure business 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 Larger 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 sequence 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 could have the selection to reside the life you need to reside, 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 “massive woman” within the business—and what she’s discovered about caring for her complete self.
For lots of ladies who have been “massive women,” we grew up with that label. What have been a number of the early messages you obtained about your physique and dimension?
- 1 For lots of ladies who have been “massive women,” we grew up with that label. What have been a number of the early messages you obtained about your physique and dimension?
- 2 Did you ever really feel such as you needed to change your physique with a view to achieve success within the business?
- 3 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 now not drawn to your character after he noticed she was heavier. Are you able to speak about taking over these sorts of roles?
- 4 How necessary was it so that you can be a illustration of a giant woman for different Black girls and for large women on the whole?
- 5 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 girl notably?
- 6 Communicate just a little bit about how navigating these weight problems stigmas impacted you as an individual and an artist.
- 7 What does help appear like for you?
That’s very fascinating—as a result of it’s all good till any person tells you you’re not alleged to be a giant woman or they carry a damaging connotation to you being a giant woman or they’re not celebrating you being a giant woman or they don’t need 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 “massive woman”—there’s truly a disgrace connected to it, and that’s what begins to chip away at our vanity. 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 with a view to achieve success within the business?
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 making an attempt 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 conducting my purpose?
However clearly, I didn’t let any of that cease me. I simply grew to become extra educated about a variety 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 once I discovered that I fell into the class of “overweight.” That’s additionally once I realized I might do one thing about it and have 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 now not drawn to 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 sincere with you: I’ve met girls notably who’ve stated, “Oh, my daughter is so impressed by you,” being my dimension, being statuesque, being an even bigger woman. And I’ve met people who find themselves stunned that I used to be not as massive 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 massive women down? I’m alleged to be representing.
How necessary was it so that you can be a illustration of a giant woman for different Black girls and for large women on the whole?
It was all necessary for me to try this. I noticed my mom as an educator represented via photographs in Essence journal and thru Ebony journal—simply seeing stunning 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 lower via and that we have been allowed to be heard as nicely. There weren’t as many people. However we had one thing to say, and if one in all us broke via, individuals heard us.
I knew it was necessary for us to empower ourselves and feed different girls vanity. To say: Hey, girls first. U.N.I.T.Y. You don’t need to be out right here combating within the streets over any person or over one thing silly or tearing one another aside—let’s raise one another up. It was all the time necessary to share these messages as a result of I do know we would have liked it. Black girls are all the time being torn down by the world so we have to construct one another again up wherever we will discover that place.
I’m lucky to have an incredible work accomplice in Shakim Compere, [my production company] the Taste Unit, my mother, my father, my household—the entire crew. However notably, I’ve been lucky to establish a few individuals within the enterprise who suppose exterior the field. In the event you’re pondering contained in the field, you’re not going to rent me. However should you suppose exterior the field and you’ve got a inventive thoughts, then you’ll rent me—you’ll have a look at somebody like me and say, “There’s lots of people who appear like her. She must be represented, and people girls who appear like her must be represented as nicely.”
Lots 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 depart the door open behind me so another person can come via. 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 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 carry extra individuals in?
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. On daily basis I am going to work, I take into consideration how I can proceed to ensure we’re represented. That is work, however 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.
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? Any person else can say it to you, however I can’t? Then it’s like: I’m clearly not lower out to give you the results you want, so I’m going to have to determine the right way to work for myself as a result of I must have the facility to design my life. Folks bled and died in order that I might have that chance. I’m going to take it.
What does help appear like for you?
As I’ve grown via the years, I’ve discovered 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 robust, however I’m not a troublesome man—I can play one on TV, however I’m delicate too. I’m a Pisces. Typically I determine I’m going to go have a great cry and let it out. Typically I may have to speak to any person about what I’m feeling. Typically I must 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 aspect of it, which is completely trying out 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 reside. If I used to be my finest pal, I’d inform me: “You been working laborious, woman—you want a break. Did you eat right this moment? You realize 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 obtained to do.
This interview has been calmly edited for size and readability. To be taught extra in regards to the It’s Larger Than Me marketing campaign, go to ItsBiggerThan.com.
This content material is created and maintained by a 3rd celebration, and imported onto this web page to assist customers present their electronic mail addresses. You could possibly discover extra details about this and related content material at piano.io