- Queen Latifah revealed that she was pressured to lose weight for her role on Living Single.
- “It made me angry because I felt like I was fine,” The Equalizer star, 51, said in an interview. “I’m what people look like.”
- Thankfully, Latifah said she’s never been made to change her weight for a role: “I knew by me standing up, I was actually standing up for some other people.”
Queen Latifah is known for playing strong characters, but her real-life battles might be even more impressive. The actress and musician just revealed that when she was told to lose weight for her hit TV show, she fought back—and won.
“When I was doing Living Single, the word came down that we needed to lose weight,” Latifah, 51, told Essence last week. “Why are you telling us this? We look like real people. We look like real women. We all look different. And those are the kind of things that come to you that can chip away at your self-esteem.”
The request came from higher-ups through Latifah’s people—no one ever addressed her weight with her specifically. “Luckily I have people who are like, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to happen. She’s not losing weight for you,’” The Equalizer star told Yahoo Life.
“It made me angry because I felt like I was fine. I’m what people look like,” Latifah continued in the interview. “‘So there’s a whole bunch of women out there who won’t have someone to relate to on TV, is that what you’re trying to get at?’ Honestly, I knew by me standing up, I was actually standing up for some other people.”
Latifah previously became a Jenny Craig spokesperson in 2008, crediting the program with helping her lose 20 pounds. Though she was vocal about her weight loss, at the time, the “U.N.I.T.Y.” rapper still felt secure in her own skin: “This is not about losing weight; this is about health,” she told Good Morning America that year. “It’s not an image thing. I’m really content with my body image.” But these days, she’s working to destigmatize obesity.
However, Latifah is open to transforming her body for a role—if it’s necessary for the character. “I’m content with being who I need to be right there, right in the moment, right now,” the Set It Off actress told Essence. “But I’m an actor, so if I want to change something for a specific character—some characters, I think, need to be bigger and fuller, more voluptuous. Some characters, I think, need to be more fit, not fit in terms of health, but fit in terms of muscle tone. And so I work to do that.”
If anything, Latifah is even more confident now than she was during her Living Single days. “I’m sexy, I’m feeling good, my body’s right, and my swag is on, you know,” she told Entertainment Tonight last week. “I’m feeling myself.”
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