Queen Latifah Explains How Hollywood Beauty Standards Almost Ruined Her Career

Queen Latifah’s early career fears about body image nearly halted her journey in music and acting, the 54-year-old said during the Cannes Lions event in France.

Despite selling millions of records and earning accolades, including Grammy and Oscar nominations, Queen Latifah struggled to envision herself succeeding in Hollywood because of societal beauty standards.

Recalling the pervasive image of beauty she grew up with, Latifah, known for her roles in “Chicago” and other hit films, shared, “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.”

Queen Latifah reflected on the pressures of fitting into Hollywood’s narrow definitions of attractiveness, stating, “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.”

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Throughout her career, she encountered significant resistance, citing entrenched perceptions among producers and colleagues who had their own experiences and biases regarding weight and beauty.

Queen Latifah also noted Oprah Winfrey’s influence on the conversation around body image.

“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.”