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Gabourey Sidibe has a message for anyone who obsesses over her weight: 'Mind your own body'

Gabourey Sidibe before the premiere of "Empire" season two. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)
Gabourey Sidibe before the premiere of "Empire" season two. (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

In January 2010, Gabourey Sidibe went from office receptionist at the Fresh Air Fund to Academy Award-nominated actress, seemingly overnight.  

Following her breakout film debut in Lee Daniels' "Precious" -- the gritty screen adaptation of the 1996 novel "Push" -- the "Empire" star had found herself at the pinnacle of Hollywood fame. But with that recognition came an influx of judgment from people who felt they had the right to comment on her appearance and, specifically, her body. 

"People want to feel like they have some sort of ownership over your body, even though you're a stranger," Sidibe told "Good Morning America" anchor Robin Roberts on the Season 2 premiere of Roberts' podcast, "Everybody's Got Something," out Wednesday.

Sidibe recapped her slingshot into the limelight, the ways in which it impacted her body image and what she's taken away from all of it. Those are all themes that the actress discussed in her inaugural book of essays, a memoir called "This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare," released last month. (She spoke to "Good Morning America" in May.) 

And while many of the crude comments about her body came from strangers -- which Sidibe calls "misogynistic," adding, "We tell women what they need to look like, and what they don't need to look like" -- they seemed to crop up on all fronts.

Speaking to Roberts, Sidibe recalled a conversation she overheard between Daniels and then-Vogue editor Andre Leon Talley, in which Talley -- playfully, albeit stingingly -- exclaimed, "I'm going to put that fat... right on the cover of Vogue."

At 34 years old, Sidibe is sending a resounding message to her spectators: "Mind your own body," which was also the title of one of the chapters in her book. 

On her recent weight loss, Sidibe noted that it's the "weirdest thing in the world" when people offer her congratulations. "You don't congratulate me when I blow my nose," she quipped. 

In addition to body-centric issues, Sidibe also spoke to Roberts about feeling woefully underdressed at early red-carpet events (she had worn Payless shoes), audience responses to seeing her naked on "Empire" and her three-year stint as a phone-sex operator named Becky. 

The full interview is available at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play Music, Stitcher, as well as the ESPN and ABC News mobile apps.

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