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(Photo Credit: PR Photos)

After being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and losing her mother to the disease, Sherri Shepherd decided to get serious about her health; which prompted a weight loss journey that includes a no carbs/no sugar diet.

So far the actress/comedian has lost 40 pounds and she recently flaunted her slimmer body in the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection fashion show last week.

Hypehair.com caught up with Shepherd backstage to dish about her heart health, her love of natural hair and how she defines beauty. Check out the interview below.

Hype Hair: What did walking in the AHA Red Dress Collection Fashion Show mean to you?

Sherri Shepherd: Knowing that this is the number one killer in the African American community, we have to do something. If you’re a diabetic– diabetes runs in my family– this really is a killer. So for me, I want to encourage women, especially women in the African American community because we do everything for everybody and we always put ourselves last. So, I want women to stop and think about the health of their hearts because our children are depending on us.

HH: What do you think we can do to keep the conversation going?

SS: I think number one, this is such a wonderful time to be a woman. We have to encourage each other. We have to get our girlfriends and say, “Let’s walk together. Let’s exercise together. Let’s cook together.”

They say we are our brother’s keeper, but we’re our sister’s keeper. We have to start encouraging and lifting each other up. It’s a lot of women out there and we’re tired. We have kids, and we have everything else. So, if you can take a moment and look outside yourself to say, “How can I help my sister?”  That’s what we can do!

HH: We’re all about celebrating Black beauty? How would you define beauty?

SS: Beauty means to me, how do you feel inside? Can you find joy? Because happiness is temporary, joy is everlasting. I always tell my son Jeffrey; when he doesn’t like somebody or get along with them, find the humanity in the next person. Find the beauty in them and get off sugar. [Laughs]

HH: As a Black woman in the media, how would you like to see our beauty celebrated?

SS: I would love to see our skin celebrated, our chocolate yumminess celebrated, our lips that are ours, our bodies, no fillers, our booties that are ours, yes! I would love to see that celebrated and the fullness of who we are. I would love to see people in the entertainment industry go even deeper and find the other levels. I tell my son all the time! He came to me and said he like the big booty girls like the Kardashian’s and I was like, “Let me sit you down and give you a history lesson.” So, I love the celebration of the Black woman. Black love is amazing.

HH: We see that you’re #teamwigs! What are some of your favorite hairstyles?

SS: Right now, I love a bob. I’m filling in for Wendy Williams and that style is my go to. I love the freedom of a bob. See y’all young, so you don’t know about this, but when you get to my age, you get some hot flashes. You need air on the back of your neck. [laughs]

Your mother knows about this. If you don’t know, ask your grandmother and your mother. So, I love bobs with a choppy cut, I love natural wigs. I have afro wigs that I rock on stage all the time.  It’s something about freedom fighting and I love that but, I love to see sisters with the natural hair.

I love that we’re embracing our natural individuality. You know, sometimes you just have to put your hair up, boom, boom, boom. I love that we can rock different hair because it has become our accessory. It’s how we’re feeling one day. There’s nothing wrong with it and we can change it up. I love that. We’re loud and proud.

HH: When did you first fall in love with your natural hair?

SS: Oh my goodness! I remember the times when my momma used to press my hair and she would put a straw on it and wrap my hair around it and I’ll have a little crinkle with my little baby hairs. I’ve always loved my natural hair.

Being in this industry it’s very hard to do your natural hair because there is so much heat that they put on. So, I have to protect it by wearing different hair. But on the weekends, girl, I’ll rock a bun in a heartbeat. And, I got my little toothbrush for my edges…what?

HH: Today is all about celebrating the power of red. What are your favorite red lipsticks?

SS: Ruby Woo! Always! You cannot go wrong with a Ruby Woo lipstick. I think I have about eight of them because my girlfriends always take them. Niecy Nash has three of them already that she has taken from me.

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