Jennifer Hudson is on the cover of the latest issue of Essence magazine. In fact, as of late, it has been difficult to overlook the Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Academy Award winning actress and Grammy Award winning singer since she became the latest celebrity spokesperson for Weight Watchers. J-Hud's svelte new figure is featured prominently in print ads and can be seen gracing billboards all over New York City. Her commercials for the weight loss brand are in heavy rotation on network television and last month she discussed her dramatic weight loss (80 lbs.!) during an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. But there is something that I find disturbing about all this attention being paid to her now size 6 frame.
I remember first catching a glimpse of Jennifer on American Idol. I thought she was beautiful and talented. Unabashed by her robust figure, when she performed she commanded the attention of her audience. And she seemed to own her killer curves. She was dismissed from the competition too soon, in my opinion, but shortly thereafter she resurfaced as a movie star winning acclaim for her role as Effie White in the film "Dreamgirls". Each time she graced the red carpet, people took note that she was a beautiful, curvy girl who was stylish, graceful, and gave a lot of fashion fabulosity.
But now it appears that Jennifer has become just another pawn in the celebrity game who has bought into Hollywood's conventional definition of beauty. It was revealed that she needed to shed weight in order to portray Winnie Mandela in a yet-to-be released film. Since she gained weight and won an Oscar, I thought losing weight might bring her the same acclaim. But then she continued with the program, her waist whittled down several inches, the evidence of its former girth only believable because of old photos circulating the Internet. While no one wants to be considered fat, I do feel that the celebration of Jennifer's transformation is a slap in the face of every curvy woman who struggles with self-esteem and image issues. We hold women, in particular, to a higher standard without considering the ramifications of all our judgements. Don't get me wrong, I applaud Jennifer's dedication to her weight loss program and exercise regimen, but she was just as lovely when she was a size 16. My wish is that we are more accepting of ourselves and others who may look less-than-perfect from the outside. Because beauty flows from within, no matter what the scale says.
Peace & Fashion!