I think I watched Push, I mean Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire, but I haven't seen any of Sidible's other work. I didn't know much about her; I just like celebrity and POC memoirs, and it got good reviews, so I read it. Sidibe is witty af--smart and confident--both self-descriptors she uses in the book.
Sidibe's confidence, and a look in her eyes, prompted three different psychics in her lifetime to tell her she was going to be famous--and go on Oprah. Two of them stopped her in the street to tell her. She had her challenges on the way to Oprah, and she shares them with us: her duplicitous father, a major depression, an eating disorder, writing NSYNC fan fiction longhand in notebooks, being a phone sex "talker," and sharing-a-studio-with-her-mother-and-brother poverty. She talks about the eating disorder, but I appreciate that she doesn't get much into weight until toward the end of the book. I imagine people see or think of her as "that fat actress" or "that fat Black actress," but she makes sure we see all of who she is before she focuses on her body. Body and race are part of the book throughout, so don't think she's ever pretending they don't exist, though.
btw Gabourey rhymes with "cabaret." Her father, who named her, is a Senegalese-American taxi driver.
This is a book of essays more than a straight up biography, which is legit when you're 33 years old. In one chapter she shares her fantasy tweets that she'd never send, like
I knw that babies stare at me cuz they're curious or whatever, but I still kinda want to fight them. #RudeAssBaby
She calls lots of people rude throughout the book, which I find kind of hilarious. Also hilarious (unless this shows my occasional insensitivity):
Listen, I could lie to you and say that I happened upon phone sex by accident while looking for telemarketing jobs, but who would that fool? We're friends now! You know me! As soon as my therapist suggested "telemarketing," I heard "phone sex."
Most of the phone sex talkers were plus size Black women, with white personas, of course.
Sidibe never planned to be an actor. She wanted to be a psychologist, but Precious found her, twice. After her second audition, when she was to meet with the film's director, Lee Daniels, she got to his office early and "used the extra time to pray. I didn't pray that I would get the role. I prayed that whatever my life was supposed to be, whatever my path was, I would finally be on it." That knocks me out. Reminds me of little prayers I would say to myself when I was trying to find my way to happiness.
I hope Sidibe has found happiness. She deserves it.