I’ve always loved being a black woman because it comes with benefits like being curvy. Most black people don’t mind curves but Hollywood doesn’t necessarily like that so I have struggled in the past. If you look at old pictures of me I’ve been 125 lbs to 160 or 170 lbs so my weight has fluxuated tremendously over the last 15 years. Primarily it’s because of getting turned down for jobs and little things like that. I’ve even had a producer once ask me to lose weight for a part that they wanted me for. That can really affect your self-image or your body image because if someone is telling you to lose weight you probably weren’t even thinking you needed to lose weight. I’m a size 8 and I’m 5’10 but Hollywood has their idea of what’s acceptable but if they make you feel outside of that and everyone else is so different from you then it could affect you that way and if it starts to affect you booking jobs then what is really your choice? You can say, “I’m not gonna lose any weight and I’m gonna stay the way am and I’m not gonna work,” you can lose the weight and work for somebody else, or you could say, “I am going to create my own project and be who I’m comfortable with in my own skin and I don’t care what anyone else says because I don’t need anyone to give me a job because I create them for myself.” And for me it’s been creating work for myself. I am at the size that I feel good at. Whatever that is for me, I feel comfortable in my own skin. And I don’t need anybody else to tell me that I look good because it just matters to me.
When it comes to self-love, you can’t listen to anybody else, you have to listen to yourself. Do you feel good at 200 lbs? If you don’t then lose weight and if you feel good at 200 lbs then stay at 200lbs and be happy. You have to go by how you feel within yourself and not listen to what anybody else says. If your clothes start to fit you too tight and you don’t like the way they fit then lose some weight but it’s up to you. But the over all thing is to be healthy, just get to that place where you can say I like me at this size⎯and it doesn’t necessarily mean a big size because thin women go through it too. They get people saying, “Oh you’re skinny, you need to gain some weight, you’re gonna blow away,” but hey, maybe they like that size 0 or size 3 because at the end of the day, somebody likes that. You see women that are 300 lbs that have men lined up down the street. And you see women that are a size 0 that have a man so somebody likes some of everything so it just matters what you like for yourself. ⎯As Told To Starrene Rhett