Queen Latifah is doing her part to de-stigmatize obesity.
The “Beauty Shop” actress teamed up with Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company that offers treatments that are “helping millions of people living with diabetes, obesity, rare bleeding disorders, and growth hormone-related disorders,” according to the company’s website. With their partnership, Latifah is the face of the “It’s Bigger Than Me” campaign and together, she and the brand are working to have transparent conversations about obesity and how to manage it.
“I’ve been through it: struggling with weight loss,” she told People on Thursday. “But the reality is when it comes to obesity, it is a clinical condition. It’s in your DNA. Maybe your hormones are doing something that you’re not aware of and that’s something for a professional to deal with.”
The “Ladies First” rapper became more aware of obesity when her trainer told her “You fall into the category of obesity.” Reacting to the news, Latifah said she replied, “ ‘I’m obese?’ I thought obese meant you had to be 400, 500 lbs.’ ”
But after talking to health experts, Latifah’s perspective on obesity and body size started to widen. She learned that, “Just because you’re slim doesn’t mean you’re healthy. A lot of people, they’ll be half my size, but they’re actually malnourished. I’m probably healthier than half those people just because I know where I stand. I know what I’m made of.”
There have been several moments throughout the 51-year-old’s life where her weight became a topic that she could not ignore. One of those moments began at the peak of her adulthood when she was just 18. During that time Latifah recalls having “flashes of self-hate,” but after talking with herself she decided to choose self-love.
Using her first birth name, she told herself, “ ‘Dana, you’re either going to hate yourself, or you’re going to love yourself,’ ” said Latifah, whose real name is Dana Elaine Owens. “And I decided at that moment I’m going to love myself. I don’t want to ever be in a place where I don’t love me.” Latifah’s self-love has strengthened over the years. “I’m in a good place,” she said. I’ve learned to manage my body.”
According to the website for Novo Nordisk, which teaches that obesity is a heavily misunderstood chronic health condition, 1 in 3 adults are living with obesity and there are 57 medical conditions linked to obesity.
Check out the company’s “It’s Bigger Than Me” campaign below.