You call it luck, or you call it hard work and determination, actress Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe, like most of the Hollywood celebrities, perhaps needed both when she auditioned for the role of Precious which earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, in addition to nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress.
This is what Gabby’s journey to Hollywood looked like.
She was born on May 6, 1983 in Brooklyn, New York, to a mother who was a street performer and a dad who worked as a cab driver.
From very early age, Gabby showed interest in becoming a comedian and drew inspiration from actress Mo’Nique. In fact, Gabby wanted to be just like her, probably never assuming she would get to play alongside her in the future.
“I always thought she was really funny, but also she’s very confident in the way she looks, and that’s what I prayed about,” she explained in an interview with the NY Times. “At that time in my life, I wanted to be everybody else, but I wanted to want to be Gabby.”
Gabby studied psychology at Mercy College and worked as a part-time receptionist in order to be able to pay for her tuition.
Then, one, day, a friend of hers called her and told her there was an audition for Lee Daniel’s upcoming movie Precious. Gabby knew the character well as she had read the book the movie was based on, Push: A Novel. With no previous experience of that type, Gabby took the book in her hands and went to pursue her dream. There were around 300 women who auditioned for the role, but Gabby was the perfect fit, and Lee Daniel’s knew that from the beginning.
“She’s way smarter than me, way, way smarter than me, and most of the actors I’ve worked with,” Daniels told the New York Times. “I love her with all my soul.”
”I have to be really protective of her because she’s baring me her soul,” he added. ”A lot of her truth is in her.”
The movie was a huge success and suddenly, all eyes were on Gabourey Sidibe.
Her name became well known in Hollywood and everyone agreed that what she showed on screen was marvelous and extraordinary. Her noteworthy performance elevated her into the national cinematic dialogue for which she received the award ‘New Hollywood’ at the Hollywood Film Awards and the ‘Virtuosos Award’ at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
Gabby later spoke of her career and said that it is usually the case with Oscar nominees to get on the top in Hollywood but that wasn’t really the case with her. “I work really, really hard though. I work really, really hard. An no, the Hollywood seas didn’t part for me in the same way that it might have for maybe Anna Kendrick who was nominated for the first time that year as well, who then went on to star in films and television and the whole thing,” she said. “The seas did not part that same way for me and I assume that there are a few factors that made that so, but I am still working 10 years later.”
In recent years, “Precious” was part of the movie Yelling to the Sky, the Showtime series The Big C, American Horror Story, and the Fox musical drama series Empire.
Gabby doesn’t really want to speak of her weight, but back in 2009 she told Oprah Winfrey, “It’s something I’ve had to work at. My first diet started when I was six years old,” and added, “I’ve never been a small girl. One day I had to sit down with myself and decide that I loved myself no matter what my body looked like and what other people thought about my body.”
Three years ago, the 37-year-old actress published her book This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare in which she spoke of her panic attacks and depression, and how her mother never understood her condition seriously.
“When I was sad about something, she told me to ‘get a thicker skin.’ When I was upset, she told me to ‘stop nitpicking.’ My mom has always had faith that things would be okay, but saying ‘tomorrow will be a better day’ wasn’t enough for me,” Gabby told People.
She is dating boyfriend Brandon Frankel, a marketing expert, and is very happy with him. The two share lots of cute pictures of themselves on Instagram, like the one below, where Frankel calls his girlfriend his queen and writes, “You’re a ball of sunshine, so generous and giving of your time and love- and your excitement and passion for life and people/things you love truly lights up my heart. You’ve taught me so much about life, myself, and the world that is truly invaluable. You make me push myself to be a better me, even though you probably don’t even realize you are. I love you more and more every single day- which seems impossible, but continually amazes me.”
Gabby is also posting photos of her from the gym and people praise her for her dedication. She is a real role model and a wonderful person.