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Gabourey Sidibe

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Gabourey Sidibe
Gabourey Sidibe at PaleyFest 2014 - 13491368805.jpg
Sidibe in 2014
Born (1983-05-06) May 6, 1983 (age 37)
Alma materManhattan Community College
OccupationActress, director, author
Years active2009–present
Parent(s)Alice Tan Ridley
RelativesDorothy Pitman Hughes (aunt)

Gabourey Sidibe (/ˈɡæbəˌr ˈsɪdɪˌb/ GAB-ə-ray SID-i-bay; born May 6, 1983)[1] is an American actress. She made her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious, a role that earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, in addition to nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other film roles include Tower Heist (2011), White Bird in a Blizzard (2014), Grimsby (2016) and Antebellum (2020).

From 2010 to 2013, she was a main cast member of the Showtime series The Big C. Sidibe co-starred on the television series American Horror Story: Coven (2013–2014) as Queenie and American Horror Story: Freak Show (2014–2015) as Regina Ross, and later reprised her role as Queenie in American Horror Story: Hotel (2015–2016) and American Horror Story: Apocalypse (2018). From 2015 to 2020, she starred in the Fox musical drama series Empire as Becky Williams.

Early life[edit]

Sidibe was born in Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York, and was raised in Harlem.[2] Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is an American R&B and gospel singer who appeared on the fifth season of America's Got Talent, on June 15, 2010. Her father, Ibnou Sidibe, is from Senegal and is a cab driver.[3] Growing up, Sidibe lived with her aunt, feminist activist Dorothy Pitman Hughes.[4] She holds an associate degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College and attended but did not graduate from City College of New York and Mercy College.[5] She worked at The Fresh Air Fund's office as a receptionist before pursuing an acting career.[6]


In Precious, Sidibe played the main character, Claireece "Precious" Jones, a 16-year-old mother of two (the result of Precious being raped by her father) who tries to escape abuse at the hands of her mother. The film won numerous awards, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award and Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award.[7] On December 15, 2009, she was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance in Precious. The next month she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Her next film, Yelling to the Sky, was a Sundance Lab project directed by Victoria Mahoney and starring Zoe Kravitz, in which she played Latonya Williams, a bully.[8] In 2011, Sidibe was in the film Tower Heist and voiced a "party girl"[vague] character in "Hot Water", the first episode of season 7 of American Dad! She appeared in the season 8 American Dad! episode "Stanny Tendergrass" early in 2013, and starred in the music video for "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)" by the indie pop band Foster the People. Sidibe also appeared in the Showtime network series The Big C as Andrea Jackson.

Sidibe said in 2012 that before she was hired for the 2009 film Precious, she was advised by Joan Cusack not to pursue the entertainment industry, advising Sidibe to quit the business since "it's so image-conscious."[9]

By April 2013, Sidibe had joined the cast of American Horror Story season 3, portraying Queenie, a young witch.[10] She returned to the series for its fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show as a secretarial school student, Regina Ross.[11] From 2015, she stars in Lee Daniels' Fox musical series Empire as Becky Williams alongside Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. Sidibe portrays the head of A&R in the Empire company.[12] As of April 2015, Sidibe was promoted to a series regular in season 2.[13] She also starred in the Hulu series Difficult People as Denise.[14]

In 2015, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Sidibe would be writing a memoir set to be published in 2017.[15] On January 6, 2016, Sidibe appeared in the penultimate episode of American Horror Story: Hotel, reprising her Coven role as Queenie, marking her third season in the series. After sitting out subsequent seasons Roanoke and Cult, Sidibe returned to American Horror Story in 2018, appearing once again as her character Queenie in its eighth season, Apocalypse.

Personal life[edit]

In March 2017, Sidibe revealed that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and that as a consequence she underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery in an effort to manage her weight.[16]

In November 2020, Sidibe announced her engagement to Brandon Frankel.[17][18]


Sidibe in July 2010


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Precious Claireece "Precious" Jones
2011 Yelling to the Sky Latonya Williams
Tower Heist Odessa Montero
2012 Seven Psychopaths Sharice
2014 White Bird in a Blizzard Beth
Life Partners Jen
Top Five Herself Cameo
2015 Gravy Winketta
2016 Grimsby Banu
2019 Come As You Are Sam
2020 Antebellum Dawn


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT"
2010–13 The Big C Andrea Jackson 30 episodes
2011 Glenn Martin DDS Keisha (voice) Episode: "Date with Destiny"
American Dad! Herself (live action cutaway appearance) Episode: "Stanny Tendergrass"
2012 American Dad! Party girl (voice) Episode: "Hot Water"
2013–14 American Horror Story: Coven Queenie 12 episodes
2014 American Horror Story: Freak Show Regina Ross 3 episodes
2015–20 Empire Becky Williams 90 episodes
2015–17 Difficult People Denise 12 episodes
2016 American Horror Story: Hotel Queenie Episode: "Battle Royale"
Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio Various 10 episodes
Drunk History Ella Fitzgerald Episode: "Legends"
2017 BoJack Horseman Tamara (voice) Episode: "The Old Sugarman Place"
2018 American Horror Story: Apocalypse Queenie 5 episodes

Music videos[edit]

Published work[edit]

  • Sidibe, Gabourey (2017). This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-78676-9.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated work Association Category Result
2009 Precious Alliance of Women Film Journalists Best Actress Nominated
Best Bravest Performance Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Nominated
Best Ensemble Cast Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Most Promising Newcomer Nominated
Chicago International Film Festival Best Breakthrough Performance Won
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Detroit Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress Won
Breakthrough Performance Won
Best Ensemble Nominated
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Won
Breakout Award Won
Hollywood Film Festival New Hollywood Won
Houston Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress Nominated
National Board of Review Breakthrough Female Performances Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Breakout Performance - On Camera Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Breakthrough Performance Won
Best Ensemble Nominated
Women Film Critics Circle Awards Best Young Actress Won
2010 Academy Awards Best Actress Nominated
BAFTA Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
BET Awards Best Actress Nominated
Black Reel Awards Best Actress Won
Best Breakthrough Performance Won
Best Ensemble Won
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Cast Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards Best Actress Nominated
Best Cast Nominated
Dublin Film Critics Circle Award Best Actress Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Female Lead Won
International Cinephile Society Award Best Actress Nominated
Iowa Film Critics Awards Best Actress Won
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress Won
MTV Movie Awards Best Breakout Star Nominated
NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture Won
Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress Nominated
Satellite Awards Outstanding New Talent Won
Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards Best Actress Nominated
2012 Seven Psychopaths Boston Society of Film Critics Awards Best Cast Won
The Big C NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2013 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Nominated
2014 American Horror Story: Coven NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Actress in a Television, Miniseries or Dramatic Special Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gabourey Sidibe Biography". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015.
  2. ^ Stated on the Late Show with David Letterman, November 9, 2009.
  3. ^ Williams, Kam (November 9, 2009). "Gabby Sidibe "Precious" Interview with Kam Williams". NewsBlaze. Retrieved November 10, 2009.
  4. ^ Marcus, Stephanie (May 2, 2014). "Gabourey Sidibe's Speech on Confidence is Incredibly Moving". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  5. ^ "Gabourey Sidibe profile". Right Cinema. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  6. ^ Sawyers, Susan (June 15, 2010). "A Breath of Fresh Air". New York Social Diary. Archived from the original on August 22, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  7. ^ Zeitchik, Ed (January 24, 2009). "'Push' takes Sundance grand jury award". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ Yadegaran, Jessica (November 12, 2009), "Gabourey Sidibe on being 'Precious'", San Jose Mercury News, retrieved November 15, 2009
  9. ^ Sidibe in "Show Highlight: Bye, Bye, Bye Justin Timberlake". Watch What Happens Live. Season 6. Episode 71. April 25, 2012. Event occurs at 01:31. Bravo. Retrieved November 25, 2020. I know that she meant well. I met Joan Cusack, who is my favorite-favorite, ... and I was at some industry party and she says, 'Are you an actress?' And I said, 'Yeah.' And she says, 'Oh, honey, you should really quit the business — it's so image-conscious. And I think she really, really meant it in a good way. ... But I was, like, 'Oh, but I love you. Please don't tell me to quit my job!' and as reported at Fisher, Kelly (April 26, 2012). "Gabourey Sidibe: Joan Cusack Told Me To Quit Show Business". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020.
  10. ^ Keveney, Bill (April 29, 2013). "Gabourey Sidibe joins 'American Horror Story: Coven'". USA Today. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  11. ^ "'American Horror Story: Freak Show' adds Michael Chiklis; Emma Roberts and Gabourey Sidibe returning". Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "Empire Close Up: Gabourey Sidibe as Becky Williams". Fox. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Aussiello, Michael (April 12, 2015). "Empire Promotes Pair to Series Regular". TVline. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  14. ^ Bierly, Mandi (March 24, 2015). "Gabourey Sidibe Talks Joining Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner in Their Hulu Comedy 'Difficult People' and Life Inside 'Empire'". Yahoo!. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  15. ^ Biedenharn, Isabella (June 3, 2015). "Empire actress Gabourey Sidibe to publish memoir". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  16. ^ Nelson, Jeff (March 8, 2017). "Gabourey Sidibe Opens Up About Weight-Loss Surgery for the First Time: 'I Love My Body Now'". People. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  17. ^ Sibide, Gabourey (November 24, 2020). "It's weird that people think we're already married [...]". Gabourey Sibide verified Instagram account. Retrieved November 25, 2020. My BFF proposed and now I get to hold him forever.
  18. ^ Macke, Johnni (November 24, 2020). "Gabourey Sidibe Is Engaged to Brandon Frankel After More Than 1 Year of Dating". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.

External links[edit]