Gabourey Sidibe Reveals the Moment Social Media Trolls Got to Her: 'It Was Not My Finest Hour'
By Antoinette Bueno
Photo: Getty Images
Gabourey Sidibe is getting candid about how social media affects her self-image.
In an essay for InStyle, Sidibe admits she both loves and hates social media, specifically, Instagram. The 33-year-old actress acknowledges enjoying positive feedback -- which can get addicting -- until it inevitably stops.
"When I post a photo of myself on Instagram or say something clever that gets tons of hearts and LOLs, I feel like a queen with a nation of subjects supporting me," she writes. "Until they don't."
Sidibe gets specific, sharing her experience at the NAACP Image awards in February. The actress wore a colorful printed dress from Etsy store Öfuurë -- which specializes in African-inspired looks -- for the occasion, and said she felt confident and beautiful in it. She completed the look with a curly wig teased to look like an Afro.
"When I got to the awards show and stepped onto the red carpet, you couldn’t tell me sh**!" she recalls. "I felt gorgeous, and in that moment there was no convincing me otherwise. My pride and my entire heritage rested comfortably on my head as an invisible crown of straight-up righteousness. I comfortably, truly had zero f**ks to give."
But then she read some of the comments on the Internet, specifically, those that didn't like her choice of hairstyle.
"The Internet loved my dress," she writes. "But then someone said they hated my hair. Oh."
"I couldn't just stop scrolling," she continues. "Another person hated my hair. Then another. A few more. Uh-oh. A lot! I don't usually give a f**k! What's happening? Where did all these f**ks come from? Who let all of them in? Suddenly I'm drowning in them! My invisible righteous crown tumbled down and fell to the floor mat of that hired car."
Sidibe ended up skipping the after-party and went home. Though the next morning, she realized the error in letting the comments get to her.
"It was not my finest hour," she admits. "But with some sleep came some perspective. It was an Afro, you tasteless fools -- it completed the look! I felt dope in it. And even though a moment of weakness made me go home, the comments hadn't ruined my night. I ruined my night. Those people who hated my hair are invisible. They don't really exist in my world. I exist. And I alone let them shape my reality."
"In the days that followed, whenever I saw a picture of myself on the red carpet, I smiled," she adds. "I felt beautiful and strong all over again. I'm glad I posted the photo. Ultimately, I like looking and feeling pretty for myself even more than I like pretending to be a queen with subjects. Negative comments don't have to haunt me. When it comes to how I look, my opinion is the only one that counts."