Before women like Rebel Wilson, Melissa McCarthy and Gabourey Sidibe gained mainstream acceptance, Queen Latifah was one of the few plus-sized actresses embraced by Hollywood. For many women, she served as a reflection of them in media, whether it be film, television and music. While she served as a beacon for millions, she faced the same weight loss pressures everyone faces, as her star continued to rise. Just recently, the Equalizer star spoke on the pressure Hollywood has placed on her throughout her decades-long career.

For many years, Queen Latifah stood out from the typical Hollywood actress when it came to her appearance. Unfortunately, that meant the entertainment industry wanted her to conform to its beauty standards. The talk of her weight seemed to increase the more popular she got, leading to some stern pushback. The hip-hop legend revealed how she combatted the pressure from Hollywood:

I have felt that pressure and I’ve literally been asked to lose weight, through my people the word came. Luckily I have people who are like, ‘Yeah, that’s not going to happen. She’s not losing weight for you.’

It’s comforting to know that her team stood up for her instead of yielding to Hollywood executives and forcing her to lose weight. Given the number of films and television series she has participated in, viewers have been enamored by her talent rather than her size. Of course, upon hearing the initial suggestions, she didn’t respond well. During her interview with Yahoo, star recalled how she reacted to hearing those hurtful words:

It made me angry because I felt like I was fine. I’m what people look like. You want me to lose weight? Why? So, there’s a whole bunch of women out there who won’t have someone to relate to on TV, is that what you’re trying to get at? Honestly, I knew by me standing up, I was actually standing up for some other people.

Queen Latifah’s response was the perfect answer to Hollywood’s sometimes sky-high beauty standards. As the multi-hyphenate pointed out, she served as a reflection of the average woman in the U.S. Oftentimes, the size and weight of women in Hollywood don’t reflect what the rest of the female population looks like. So actresses like Latifah were a representation of those women being seen. Thankfully, the rapper decided to ignore those Hollywood naysayers while pushing forward in her career.

Needless to say, the actress has excelled in every avenue of her career. She’s been busy, as of late, between shooting her CBS series and working on multiple film projects. The fact that the multi-tainer managed to thrive without conforming to entertainment’s standards is truly inspiring, and is just another reason why fans love her. Viewers can see her in action by catching The Equalizer at 8 p.m. ET on Sundays on CBS.

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