Gabourey Sidibe always delivers! The actress gave a moving speech about confidence, feminism and being inspired by other women at the Gloria’s Awards and Gala last night and we can’t stop talking about it!
At the event, hosted by Ms. Foundation for Women to celebrate the 80th birthday of Gloria Steinem, the 30-year-old took to the podium and opened up about being the butt of everyone’s jokes as a child, and now in Hollywood. “One of the first things people usually ask me is, ‘Gabourey, how are you so confident?’ I hate that,” the Oscar-nominated star shared. “I always wonder if that’s the first thing they ask Rihanna when they meet her. ‘RiRi! How are you so confident?’ Nope. No. No. But me? They ask me with that same incredulous disbelief every single time. ‘You seem so confident! How is that?’”
She went on to say having confidence in the spotlight has not been easy. “It’s hard to get dressed up for award shows and red carpets when I know I will be made fun of because of my weight,” she said. :There’s always a big chance if I wear purple, I will be compared to Barney. If I wear white, a frozen turkey. And if I wear red, that picture of Kool-Aid that says, ‘Oh, yeah!’ Twitter will blow up with nasty comments about how the recent earthquake was caused by me running to a hot dog cart or something. And ‘Diet or Die?’ [She gave the finger to that one.] This is what I deal with every time I put on a dress. This is what I deal with every time someone takes a picture of me.”
As a young girl, Gabourey added that she found strength in her aunt, feminist and activist Dorothy Pitman Hughes.
Every day, I had to get up and go to school where everyone made fun of me, and I had to go home to where everyone made fun of me. Every day was hard to get going, no matter which direction I went. And on my way out of the house, I found strength. In the morning on the way out to the world, I passed by a portrait of my aunt and Gloria together. Side by side they stood, one with long beautiful hair and one with the most beautiful, round, Afro hair I had ever seen, both with their fists held high in the air. Powerful. Confident. And every day as I would leave the house… I would give that photo a fist right back. And I’d march off into battle. [She starts crying] I didn’t know that I was being inspired then. On my way home, I’d walk back up those stairs, I’d give that photo the fist again, and continue my march back in for more battle. [She pulls a tissue from her cleavage and dabs her eyes] That’s what boobs are for! I didn’t know I was being inspired then, but I was. If they could feel like that, maybe I could! I just wanted to look that cool. But it made me feel that strong.
As a result, she told the crowd that she decided to changed her mindset. “Why didn’t they like me? I was fat, yes. I had darker skin and weird hair, yes. But the truth is, this isn’t a story about bullying, or color, or weight. They hated me because… I was an asshole!”
“I thought I was better than the kids in my class, and I let them know it,” she continued. “That’s why they didn’t like me. I think the reason I thought so highly of myself all the time was because no one else ever did.”
She concluded her speech by saying she’s grateful for all the haters because “if they hadn’t made me cry, I wouldn’t be able to cry on cue now.”
“If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented,” she expalined, holding back tears. “And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable.”
“So when you ask me how I’m so confident,” she added, “I know what you’re really asking me: how could someone like me be confident? Go ask Rihanna, asshole!”