Queen Latifah Says Body Image Fears Made Her Doubt Hollywood Career; Credits Oprah Winfrey For Changing Conversation On Obesity — Cannes Lions

Queen Latifah has revealed she thought she would never make it in Hollywood, due to her look and size.

The rapper turned actor and entrepreneur was taking part in a discussion at the Cannes Lions Festival about how obesity is viewed, when she reflected on “the bar she thought she could never meet.”

More from Deadline

She said: “I watched this idea of what beauty was supposed to be – size two, blue-eyed. That was being pushed on everyone as I was growing up. I thought that was a bar I was never going to meet.

The star of The Equalizer said she wondered how she was going to make it in the music industry “where there’s lots of pressure on everybody.”

And she asked: “Can I move into Hollywood in a way I would like to, and accomplish what I would like to in this business, being me? It was about finding people who understood that was the vision.

“Of course there was push back. People are stuck in their mindsets – it’s not just actors, it’s producers, people at studios, people who’ve gone through their own weight loss journeys – who’ve heard different messages within their own homes, so they’re putting that out to other people and they’re creating the media and the imagery we see.”

She credited Oprah Winfrey’s longtime openness about her weight for changing the conversation and referenced Winfrey’s obesity special on Hulu that aired in March. Latifah said she’d been watching Winfrey’s journey all her life, and reflected:

“When I think of her and what she’s been through on that journey, I love the idea that someone will not have to endure the same journey today, that they will be able to walk into their doctor’s office and just have a conversation.”

Queen Latifah has partnered with pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk for the campaign “Bigger than Me” to create a community aimed at championing body positivity.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.