The Empire actress wrote an essay for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s feminist newsletter Lenny where she explained that she was asked to leave a Chanel store in Chicago “in a pretend-polite way” three times by the shop assistant when she visited the store to buy some glasses after being told they did not stock the eye frames.
“She had decided after a single look at me that I wasn't there to spend any money,” Sidibe wrote. “Even though I was carrying a Chanel bag, she decided I wasn't a Chanel customer and so, not worth her time and energy.”
Sadly, Sidibe said she is used to being treated like this in stores and the experience in Chanel was not a one-off. Attributing it to her skin colour, she says she used to also face prejudice as a teenager because of the deprived area of New York she lived in.
Inspiring body positivity quotes
Inspiring body positivity quotes
1/12 Kate Winslet
"Nobody is perfect. I just don't believe in perfection. But I do believe in saying, 'This is who I am and look at me not being perfect.' I'm proud of that."
2/12 Iskra Lawrence
Stop comparing yourself to anybody else. The [pictures of] movie stars, even the Disney characters, that’s not real. That’s not attainable. You can’t be anybody else. You are you. You can’t be them. So you really just have to start embracing yourself and accepting so-called flaws that society has given the name ‘flaws’. It’s just our body, our patchwork quilt.”
3/12 Jennifer Lawrence
"It should be illegal to call someone fat."
4/12 Ashley Graham
"And cellulite, I have not forgotten about you. I'm going to choose to love you even though you want to take over my whole bottom half. You're a part of me and I love you."
5/12 Demi Lovato
"Instead of looking in the mirror and focusing on your flaws, look in the mirror and appreciate your best features... everyone has them."
6/12 Danielle Brooks
"Sometimes I don't like what I see, but I have the power to change the way in which I relate to my body both physically and mentally."
"You just want something that someone else has, but that doesn't mean what you have isn't beautiful, because people always want what you have and you always want what they have - no one is ever 100 per cent like, 'Yes, I'm the bomb-dot-com - from head-to-toe!"
8/12 Kim Kardashian-West
"See this little dimple of cellulite here? It was so worth it for that cookies 'n' cream ice cream!"
9/12 Mindy Kaling
'Insults about the way I look can’t be the thing that harms me and my heart the most. It has to harm me the least. If I have a daughter, I’m going to tell her that. Far too many women are much more hurt by being called fat or ugly than they are by being called not smart, or not a leader."
"The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence."
11/12 Selena Gomez
"I’m learning that you can be comfortable and still look beautiful.”
12/12 Tess Holliday
"Never compare yourself with others and celebrate what makes you, you."
“No matter how dressed up I get, I’m never going to be able to dress up my skin colour to look like what certain people perceive to be an actual customer,” she wrote. “Depending on the store, I either look like a thief or a waste of time. There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground between no attention and too much attention.”
Sidibe also said while she assumed the prejudice and profiling to be because of her skin colour, she also wondered whether it was to do with her weight.
“ Maybe my whole life, every time I thought someone was being racist, they were actually mistreating me because I'm fat. That sucks too. That's not OK. I've felt unwelcome in many stores throughout my life, but I just kind of deal with it,” she wrote.
During the Oscar-nominated actresses’ experience in the store, the tide turned when the store assistant’s colleagues, who were women of colour, recognised Sidibe.
“All of a sudden, the woman who had pointed me out of the store let me know that even though they didn't have eyeglasses, the shades they carried actually doubled as eyeglass frames, so I should take a look at the shades I'd come to look at in the first place. Just like that, I went from being an inconvenience to a customer,” she explained.
Following Sidibe’s essay a spokesperson for Chanel apologised to the 34-year-old and said the brand had launched an investigation into the incident.
“We are sorry that she felt unwelcome and offended,” they wrote. “We took her words very seriously and immediately investigated to understand what happened, knowing this is absolutely not in line with the high standards that Chanel wishes to provide to our customers.
“We are strongly committed to provide anyone who comes in our boutiques with the best customer service and we do hope that in the future Ms Sidibe will choose to come back to a Chanel boutique and experience the real Chanel customer experience.”
A representative for Chanel declined to comment further.Reuse content