Bebe Rexha: When I started I was told ‘you need to lose 20 lbs’

One of the things I like most about Bebe Rexha is her memorable, sometimes wacky red carpet style. She always serves up something flashy and fun–you’ll never see her looking basic. Another thing I like about Bebe is that she talks about her struggles in an authentic way. She recently shared that one of the TikTok suggested searches is about her weight, which she said sucks but is understandable. In an interview with Gayle King she revealed that she’s been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, which has contributed to her weight gain. She also mentioned that she’s faced pressure to lose weight since the start of her career.

Bebe Rexha revealed that she recently learned that she has polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS.

During an appearance on Gayle King’s SiriusXM show Gayle King in the House, the 33-year-old singer opened up about her experience with PCOS — a hormone imbalance that affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age.

The condition can cause symptoms like irregular periods, excess hair growth, acne, weight gain and infertility.

“I definitely struggle with my weight and I struggle with the way that I look, and it’s been tough for me. I just found out recently that I have PCOS and a lot of women have it. And a lot of women have it and don’t know,” Rexha said while noting that weight gain is a common symptom she’s dealt with. “It’s tough. I think for me, I’ve been definitely struggling with my weight and I’ve been struggling with food forever.”

She continued, “I remember starting out and getting my first record deal, they kind of put it in my head and they said to me when I first got signed, ‘Are you ready to get into bootcamp shape? Because you need to lose 20 lbs. in order to do this career. Like you have to lose weight.'”

[From People]

I feel for Bebe because it sounds like she’s faced both internal and external pressure to change how her body looks for several years. This is a familiar feeling for me personally, and most days I don’t want to look at myself in the mirror at all. So many women feel this pressure to change their bodies to fit a thin ideal. Even if we don’t get told “you need to lose 20 lbs,” some research suggests that women in larger bodies are paid up to 10% less than their thinner peers. It’s disappointing that someone as talented as Bebe could still be reduced to her appearance. But it’s not surprising. It must have been a crushing thing for Bebe to hear when she was starting out. What she needed as a budding singer and songwriter was support, not judgment. It’s also short-sighted and dumb for industry execs to try to make all their pop stars conform to a thin ideal.

Bebe’s story shows that so many factors influence a person’s weight. And not all of them are in our control. The causes of PCOS remain unknown, so getting effective treatment is often easier said than done. I like that Bebe is being so open about what she’s going through and raising awareness about PCOS. Still, it sounds exasperating for her to deal with negativity about her body over and over. Bebe is currently headlining a tour around the US and I hope she feels the love from fans who come out to her shows. And I hope she continues to wear flashy, wacky outfits.

Note by CB: Welcome our new writer Carina. She loves Old Hollywood, red carpet fashion, and all things glamorous. When she’s not watching old movies or reading the latest gossip, she’s trying to decode Lana Del Rey’s latest Instagram post.

Photos credit: Julie Edwards/Avalon, Xavier Collin/Image Press Agency/Avalon, Nicolas Gavet/Panoramic/Avalon and via Instagram

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11 Responses to “Bebe Rexha: When I started I was told ‘you need to lose 20 lbs’”

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  1. Pointillist says:

    Welcome Carina!!

    There are some effective treatments but no cures. You can take metformin or another medication to keep your blood sugar down, eat low GI foods, exercise, try to keep stress levels down, sleep 8 hours etc. It’s definitely not about losing weight but if you put on weight they say losing even a little bit can help. I prefer not to focus on how losing weight can fix it cos it can’t.

    I have PCOS and the more women who speak out about it, the better.

    • Mc says:

      I have PCOS and my docs would only give me metformin when I was trying to get pregnant. Unfortunately, since having kids I’ve gained around 60lbs and just can’t lose it. I think I need to find a doc who specializes in pcos but I don’t think there are any near me.

      Anyway, I feel for her. I can’t imagine dealing with pcos in a public environment.

      • Whyforthelove says:

        MC I would absolutely look for a specialist. I have migraines and the difference between my edcellent but normal Gp and a headache specialist was might and day. After your first appts some docs will let you do telehealth now if you are far away.

  2. Nikki says:

    Women are a huge block of purchasing power, and I don’t know too many women who wouldn’t buy someone’s music because the artist was “overweight”!! Men’s archaic and sexist business thinking about what sells should be thrown out the window. (And women seriously need to challenge themselves to love and accept their bodies.) That’s all I’ve got.

    • Zazzoo says:

      This all the way. Who cares what the market concept of men wants? Besides, she’s gorgeous, has the figure Kim Kardashian spent zillions trying to achieve (before she decided to be skinny), and what does that have to do with talent anyway?

  3. Brassy Rebel says:

    Welcome, Carina! You’re starting out fabulous. I’m an old chick who loves Bebe–and Old Hollywood. Lana Del Rey too. Gonna be fun!

  4. Vexxy says:

    Welcome, Carina!

    I don’t really struggle with my weight other than my disability meaning I can’t exercise effectively and so I often hover a few kilos over my ideal BMI and have high body fat even when I’m at an ideal weight. Having said that, I have heavy irregular periods and I’m probably infertile so I’ve often wondered if I have PCOS.

  5. Cat says:

    Welcome, Carina!

  6. Whyforthelove says:

    Welcome Carina!

  7. Candy says:

    Welcome Carina!

    I find her body very appealing, like wowza. I have PCOS and endometriosis and all that crap. It’s gotten a little better as I get into my late 30s. Its been a tough road though and often hampered my work and personal life. I can relate to the weight gain and “stubborn” weight that won’t come off unless I veer into extreme dieting. It’s past time to celebrate all shapes and sizes. It wasn’t until I met my husband that I started to feel celebrated no matter what.

  8. j.ferber says:

    It will always be a problem for other people that she’s not a stick. They can just suck it. She’s an absolutely beautiful woman.