Gabourey, All About Confidence…

Chelsea Handler, Gabourey Sidibe, Gloria Steinem, Amy Schumer, Kathy Najimy  Photo/
Chelsea Handler, Gabourey Sidibe, Gloria Steinem, Amy Schumer, Kathy Najimy Photo/

Motivation, baby….life is riding the wave.

I was inspired by Gabourey Sidibe’s recent speech at the Gloria Awards which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Ms. Foundation for Women, as well as founding mother, Gloria Steinem and her 80th birthday.

I cannot believe she is 80…who can forget the beautiful and powerful Ms. Steinem with the long, flowing highlighted blonde hair and aviator glasses.

Sidibe, who was nominated for an Academy Award for playing the lead character in Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and recently appeared in American Horror Story, described a lonely childhood, where she was chided by her parents for being overweight and ignored by her classmates for being a self-described, “bossy asshole.”

Obviously, she is cognisant of the fact that her girth is what appears to be noticed first, but there is so much more to this talented woman…inner strength, confidence and conviction.

Ms. Foundation Women Of Vision Gala: 2014

“One of the first things people usually ask me is, “Gabourey, how are you so confident?” I hate that. 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 tell a story about being 10 years-old and baking cookies for her fifth grade holiday party. “I was so proud of those cookies, and all the effort I put into making them, I started to think that maybe I wouldn’t just be the first woman black President — maybe I would also be a celebrity chef! I mean, why limit myself? I’m a little more clever than anyone else.”

Gabourey proceeded to walk around the class offering homemade cookies, but no one took one. She ended up back at her desk with the same amount of cookies that she had started with. She sat alone.  “I just forgot for a moment that my entire class hated me. I had zero friends from the fourth grade to the sixth grade. 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!”…such honesty and self-awareness.

 “I got the message that I wasn’t pretty, and I probably wasn’t normal, but I was smart! I know. So I got made fun of at school, I got made fun of at home, too. My response was always to eat more, because nothing says, “You hurt my feelings. Fuck you!” like eating a delicious cookie. Cookies never hurt me.”

She continued, “It’s not 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. 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 pitcher of Kool-Aid that says, “Oh, yeah!”

Twitter will blow up with nasty comments about how the recent earthquake was caused by Gabourey running to a hot dog cart. “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. Sometimes when I’m being interviewed by a fashion reporter, I can see it in her eyes, “How is she getting away with this? Why is she so confident? How does she deal with that body? Oh my God, I’m going to catch fat!”

“I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time.”

INspirational Photo of Gloria Steinem and Gabourey's feminist aunt, Dorothy Pitman-Hughes  Photo/
Inspirational Photo of Gloria Steinem and Gabourey’s activist, f eminist aunt, Dorothy Pitman-Hughes Photo/

“I’m grateful to them, and to my fifth grade class, 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. 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.”

I am fully onboard Team Gabourey. No one is perfect and despite the perfect body obsession which is always trending in southern California and cities all over the world, the wrapping doesn’t always indicate what is inside the box.

 I pride myself in being confident and fearless, except on airplanes and during the final 2 minutes of a NY Giants football game. I am aware that I have passed on these essential traits to my tenacious daughter. A woman cannot move future successfully in life without possessing these qualities.

Gabourey Sidibe brings the type of confidence into a room that most women can only dream of having…that’s what all females should be striving for.

Read Gabourey Sidibe’s full transcript at:


One Comment

  1. Paula Lopez says:

    Her speech was incredible.

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