Gabourey Sidibe Covers April Issue of Nylon Magazine

Gabourey Sidibe struggled with weight and other personal issues before she became famous. She also had a rather surprising job.

Before making her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious, which earned her an Oscar nomination, the 33-year-old worked as a phone sex operator for three years. She told Nylon, which features her in an April 2017 cover story, that she subconsciously uses her sex voice when she orders room service.

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Sidibe, also known for her roles on American Horror Story and Empire, made headlines last summer when she debuted a thinner figure. She recently revealed she had undergone laproscopic bariatric surgery after she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. She details her weight and other personal struggles in her memoir This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, which is set for release in May.

<p>&ldquo;It really devastated me,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I guess I thought that going from literally nothing to the lead in the movie would show people that I wouldn&rsquo;t be just fat anymore, or at least that&rsquo;s not the first thing people would think of me, that I&rsquo;m not too fat or too black or ghetto or nappy&mdash;that wouldn&rsquo;t be part of my narrative anymore, but it was.&rdquo;</p><p>Daniels argues that their conversation was out of love&mdash;that he himself was 250 pounds then, and the editor he was speaking with was also on the larger side. &ldquo;To call somebody fat and black when we couldn&rsquo;t be bigger or blacker&mdash;I think that when you <em>are</em> that, and you are saying that, it&rsquo;s said with utter love. There was not hate, diss, or shade. He was talking about putting her on the cover, and it was a mission for him to do that.&rdquo;</p><p>On the set of <em>Precious</em>, Daniels vividly remembers a two-day shoot featuring a Swedish model. &ldquo;When this girl came on the set, the crew ogled her. Everyone was gawking and treating her like the star of the movie,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The reality was that Gabby was the star, and I said, &lsquo;Hold the fuck up, you all. This is the star of our movie. She is responsible for us being here. Get a clue and treat this girl with some respect.&rsquo; I remember that being a defining moment in my relationship with her. That was unsettling to me, because I realized the world she walked around in every day.&rdquo;</p><p>For a period in high school, Sidibe stopped eating lunch at school for fear that other students would judge her. She became bulimic in college. &ldquo;I always wanted to throw up because I was so sad,&rdquo; she confides, adding that she&rsquo;s also struggled with panic attacks and depression and has contemplated (but not attempted) suicide. &ldquo;I really liked challenging myself to not eat for three days,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Sometimes I would eat a slice of bread and drink a bottle of water just to throw it up.&rdquo;</p><p>Eventually, through dialectical behavior therapy and guidance, she learned how to battle her eating disorders. And in May of last year, Sidibe underwent laparoscopic weight loss surgery. After 11 years of considering it as an absolute last resort, she finally decided it was the best choice. A bariatric surgeon had recommended the treatment to help her fight diabetes. In preparation, she hired a trainer, started eating healthier meals, and lost 15 pounds. The weight fluctuated, but it was a start. Post-surgery, she wrote two chapters of her book &ldquo;high as fuck&rdquo; on liquid Oxycodone, she says. She was determined to finish it no matter what.</p><p>The operation shrunk her stomach and helped decrease her appetite. She&rsquo;s no longer diabetic, and has experienced significant weight loss and a major body transformation. Fans have been noticing. She shrugs off some of the more careless comments on her recent Instagram selfies. &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t get to talk about my body if you like it or not; it&rsquo;s my body,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;And yeah, I have been struggling with weight my entire life. I realize that as long as I have a body, it will be a struggle.&rdquo;</p>
Sidibe told Nylon her father used to call her “Fatso” and beat her as a child. She said she was bullied in school and bullied people herself, “because it hurt.” She talked about how she used to battle bulimia and suffer from panic attacks and depression.

After her surgery, her appetite decreased because her stomach had shrunk and she lost weight.

“You don’t get to talk about my body if you like it or not; it’s my body,” she told Nylon. “And yeah, I have been struggling with weight my entire life. I realize that as long as I have a body, it will be a struggle.”

Nowadays, Sidibe eats healthier and exercises—she even uses an Apple Watch to calculate her steps and lap-swimming strokes, Nylon said.

<p>I tell her that I, too, have battled depression and body issues, and am about to have elective surgery in a few weeks. We bond over our mutual ability to find comfort in talking about the kinds of subjects most people try to avoid.</p><p>&ldquo;Listen, I&rsquo;m a solitary, selfish person. I have no kids and I feel bad about my selfishness,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;But I hear people tell me about how my struggles have helped them, and I&rsquo;m glad that my selfishness is helpful to someone else. I just think holding up a mirror to myself is weird, strange, and a little scary.&rdquo;</p><p>A week or so later, I receive a text from Sidibe, inquiring about my upcoming procedure and checking in to see if I feel all right. Despite her protestations of self-centeredness, this is not the act of a selfish person; it is what a caring friend would do, the kind of friend who&rsquo;d sit with you and be present, however you needed her to be, for hours&mdash;on set, in a hotel room far from home, or while riding with you in a car with a fogged-up windshield when she&rsquo;s got a big movie premiere in a few hours that she should really be getting ready for. The truth is, we all should show a little more concern, bravery, and openness. We all should find a little more Gabourey Sidibe inside ourselves.</p><p><span>On the cover: Gabourey Sidibe photographed by Shxpir.&nbsp;</span><span>Stylist: J. Errico. Hair: Lacy Redway at The Wall Group using&nbsp;</span><a href="http://pantene.com/en-us" style="font-style: normal; font-size: 14px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Pantene</a><span>. Makeup: Cassandra Garcia for&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com" style="font-style: normal; font-size: 14px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Bobbi Brown Cosmetics</a><span>. Manicurist: Roza Israel. Photo assistant: Matthew Hawk. Digital Tech: Andrew Lawrence. Custom dress by&nbsp;</span><a href="http://shop.xulybet.com/en/" style="font-style: normal; font-size: 14px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Xuly.B&euml;t</a><span>, earrings by&nbsp;</span><a href="https://robertleemorris.com" style="font-style: normal; font-size: 14px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; text-decoration: none;"><u>Robert Lee Morris Collection</u></a><span>, necklaces by&nbsp;</span><a href="https://www.readytostare.com" style="font-style: normal; font-size: 14px; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;">Ready To Stare</a><span style="font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal;">.</span></p><p><em>NYLON</em>&rsquo;s April issue hits newsstands March 28. <a href="https://shop.nylon.com/products/gabourey-sidibe-april-2017" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Buy it now</a> or <a href="https://shop.nylon.com/products/nylon-1-year-subscription-3" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">subscribe</a>.</p>

 

On the cover:

Gabourey Sidibe photographed by Shxpir.

Stylist: J. Errico.

Hair: Lacy Redway at The Wall Group using Pantene.

Makeup: Cassandra Garcia for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

Manicurist: Roza Israel. Photo assistant: Matthew Hawk.

Digital Tech: Andrew Lawrence.

Custom dress by Xuly.Bët,

Earrings by Robert Lee Morris Collection,

Necklaces by Ready To Stare.

 

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