I’ve always wanted to like Jennifer Hudson more than I actually end up liking her. Do you know what I mean? She’s got a great voice, she’s an Oscar-winning actress, she’s sympathetic and grounded and real. But at the end of the day, I never really put her on my list of “most beloved celebrities”. I wish her well, but beyond that, I tend not to care. However, Jennifer’s new interview in Self Magazine has caused some controversy already, for good reason, and now I’m wondering if I’ve just gotten J-Hud wrong this whole time.
First of all, J-Hud used to be a bigger girl. I’m not going to call her fat, because I hate that word and because she really wasn’t. She was what I like to think of as “thick”. Some might say “big boned”. She carried more weight than most ladies in Hollywood, but J-Hud carried it well, I thought, and she looked curvy and lovely and certainly not fat. Then she was hired by Weight Watchers and J-Hud began to rapidly shrink before our eyes. Here’s my controversial opinion: I think her face looked better before her weight loss. Yes, she’s healthier now and she’s proud of her body, but some people simply look better with some extra weight, especially in their faces. J-Hud is one of those people. She looks like her body isn’t supposed to be THIS thin. Just my opinion. Anyway, long story short, J-Hud makes some kind of crazy statements in her Self Magazine piece:
Why she decided to get healthy: “It really started when I was pregnant with David, who’s 2 now, and I thought, Hold on—why doesn’t anybody know I’m pregnant? And I wanted to set a good example for my son. Right after I had him, I began trying to change things.”
Was she unhappy with her appearance before? “No, never. I remember one of my first times on a red carpet, an interviewer asked, ‘How does it feel to be plus-sized in Hollywood?’ I looked around, like, Who is she talking to? Oh, me? I’m plus-sized? In the neighborhood I’m from in Chicago, a 16 is normal. But in Hollywood, everyone looks exactly the same, so I stood out.”
Did that realization hurt? “I find the positive in everything. I like my curves, so it didn’t bother me. My fiancé, David’s father [also named David], and I both knew we didn’t learn to eat right and be healthy as kids, so we wanted to for him.”
She’s had significant weight losses before: “I’ve had three different weight losses. Before American Idol in ’04, I lost 60 pounds. Then I lost the 20 pounds I had to gain for my role in Dreamgirls, which came out in ’06. This is the third time I’ve lost a lot.”
Is it different this time? “Oh, my God, by far. That first time, I was a workout fanatic. I’d go to the gym at 5 in the morning and run for an hour, go home, sleep and be back at the gym at 1 p.m. for another full workout. Then I’d come home and do Tae-Bo. That was my whole day. Plus, all I’d eat was skinless chicken breast, brown rice and vegetables. What are you going to do once you lose weight? Eat everything you gave up!”
How she got herself started this time: “Four days after my cesarean section, I began walking 30 minutes every day. It was my therapy, my moment to myself, and it was all I could do. I figured, me walking is better than me sitting on the couch. Even if I can’t climb a mountain or do 100,000 push-ups, these steps matter, and they’re leading somewhere. I started with walking, but before long, I built up to other things. When I didn’t want to be cooped up in the gym, I’d come up with other options. I’d ask myself, What do I love? I love being outside and feeling free, so I would jog or ride my bike. Some days, I’d play basketball and tennis.”
Do people treat you differently? “Yes! You never know you’re being discriminated against until you see what you’ve been deprived of. Everybody wants you to wear this or put you on the cover of that. Before, my career was great, but since losing weight, I haven’t stopped. I have worked every single day of this year.”
How about your fans? “Some love it and say they’re inspired, and others don’t. Some have even questioned whether I can still sing. My voice has gotten stronger! I can’t care about whether I’m too big for some or too small for others. It goes back to how you feel about yourself. I like me the way I am. For anyone who wants to lose: Dude, if I can do it, you can do it. And for those who want to stay the same, I hope I can be an example to you, too; I was proud of being a big girl.”
What was the key to your loss? “It’s like my mother said: ‘Well, honey, when there is a will, there is a way.’ You have to want it, but don’t rush yourself. When you’re ready, you’ll set goals for yourself. Once you do, it’s good to have support, but you don’t need it, because everything you need is in you. I’m prouder of my weight loss than my Oscar! I hope it has inspired people.”
Yes, she said she’s prouder of her weight loss than winning an Oscar. Lainey made an excellent point – J-Hud’s message can be (and will be) interpreted as: being THIN, the outward appearance (of thinness) is more important than everything else, more important than career, more important than awards, more important than substance. But, playing devil’s advocate, I kind of know what J-Hud was trying to say, and it’s something that women who struggle with their weight know all too well. J-Hud probably worked on Dreamgirls for what? Six months, tops. And she’s been working on her body for her whole life. It’s something that’s with her every day, working on her portion control, working out, day after day. So her thinness has been achieved by more actual WORK than any film, and she’s proud of herself for keeping up with it for so long. Personally, I would be more proud of the Oscar, but I’m not J-Hud.
Photos courtesy of Self.