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"From A Phone Sex Worker To An Oscar Nominee" Read Gabourey Sidibe's Story


My name is Gabourey Sidibe and I’ve spent a large part of my youth being anxious. I was mocked because I’m part African [my father is from Senegal] and because I was overweight. There were times I felt so lost, like I would never find my true calling.


I struggled to get work and I had to take a job as a phone sex operator to survive. The company would only hire me if I could make my voice sound 100 percent white because that’s who the men on the phone wanted to talk to. It was hilariously ironic though because the company was run by 95% plus sized black women who could make their voice sound white over the phone. It was strange to go from being undesirable in reality to “I love you, I’ll call you everyday” when I clocked in at work.

The joke was on these men because we were all plus sized and normally they would not be into us except it was a fetish or something, yet look how amazingly dope and fierce and smart and genius we are to fool them into thinking we were white.

I struggled with depression as a teenager and people said I was too sensitive. My mother got married to my father to give him a green card, but after they got married he took her to Africa to meet his family and she fell in love with him. And I guess he fell in love with her too…but he had a whole other secret family in Senegal and it was normal for him, because his father had several wives.

It must have been really, really hard for this African man with African values and an African upbringing to go to work as a cab driver for 10-14 hours everyday and come home to American children. It didn’t work. So, my parents got divorced. It was dumb of my family to think that my father would be different because that was what he was obviously used to, that was the lifestyle for him. But I guess he really wanted to keep his two wives, and it might have worked if my mom was Senegalese…but she wasn’t. We were the foreigners in his life, so we had to go.

I hurt so bad when my parent’s marriage dissolved. I started having panic attacks. I would cry whenever someone said anything mean to me which was often. People would say to me “You’re just being a baby. You’re too sensitive. You take things to heart too much.” I was actually having a medical condition, I was dealing with depression and anxiety and nobody noticed.

When I auditioned for the role in Precious, I just thought, ‘I want my life to start, please, let it start.’ I didn’t believe it when I got the callback for the role. I just couldn’t believe it. My performance in that role earned me an Academy Award nomination. Can you imagine that? My first role, and I got nominated! Since then, there’s been no stopping me. I’ve worked on a number of Tv series, Empire being one of my favourites.

I lost a lot of weight and I wrote a memoire which just got published. There’s no stopping me now.  No sir.

Culled:Dang
Image credit: people.com

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