Gabourey Sidibe

Award-Winning Actress & Author

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At the Podium

“If I hadn’t been told I was garbage, I wouldn’t have learned how to show people I’m talented. And if everyone had always laughed at my jokes, I wouldn’t have figured out how to be so funny. If they hadn’t told me I was ugly, I never would have searched for my beauty. And if they hadn’t tried to break me down, I wouldn’t know that I’m unbreakable.”

Candid, irreverent, and brimming with passion, Gabourey Sidibe—known affectionately to her fans as “Gabby”—charms audiences with her self-deprecating tales of growing up with a polygamous father and a subway-performing mother in New York City, her first job as a phone sex operator and her atypical rise to stardom.

Sidibe nimbly weaves her self-aware, witty takes on friendship, depression, celebrity, fashion, race and weight into her story, delighting listeners while consistently challenging their pre-conceived notions of what it means to truly embrace yourself. She encourages everyone to be proud of what makes you different—and use that difference to make dreams come true.

About Gabourey Sidibe

Gabourey Sidibe made her film debut as the title character in Lee Daniels’ Academy Award-nominated film, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire.

For her role as “Precious,” Sidibe received Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Actress, as well as SAG, Broadcast Film Critics and BAFTA nominations. She won the Independent Spirit Award and an NAACP Image Award for Best Actress, the Breakthrough Performance Award from The National Board of Review and the Vanguard Award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Sidibe’s television credits include memorable roles on several seasons of the Emmy Award-nominated anthology series American Horror Story, and all seasons of the Golden Globe Award-nominated series The Big C, opposite Laura Linney. She also recently played the role of ‘Denise,’ alongside Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner, in all three seasons of Hulu’s hilarious Difficult People. She can currently be seen in her series regular role as ‘Becky’ on the smash hit series Empire. In 2010, Sidibe had the distinct honor of hosting Saturday Night Live.

In addition to Precious, Sidibe’s film credits include Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard, opposite Shailene Woodley; the action-comedy Tower Heist, for director Brett Ratner, opposite Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller; a cameo appearance in Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths opposite Woody Harrelson; Grimsby, opposite Sacha Baron Cohen; Life Partners, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival; and Victoria Mahoney’s independent film, Yelling to the Sky, which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival.

Sidibe made her directorial debut with the short film The Tale of Four, as part of Refinery29’s groundbreaking “Shatterbox” series. The film won the Audience Award for favorite narrative short at both Urban World and the Black Star Film Festival.

Her critically acclaimed first book, This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare, was released in May 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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  • A Conversation with Gabourey Sidibe

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