Gabourey Sidibe - Getting Personal with "This Is Just My Face" - Extended Interview

Extended - May 16, 2017 - Gabourey Sidibe 05/16/2017 Views: 47,229

Actress Gabourey Sidibe shares some of the colorful experiences found in her memoir "This Is Just My Face," from an awkward prom proposal to her stint as a phone sex worker. (8:26)

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Gabourey Sidibe!

-♪ -(cheering and applause)

Thank you for having me.

-Welcome, welcome, welcome.-Hi!

(cheering and applause)

Welcome to the show.

-Thank you for having me!-I'm so glad you came.

I've asked you so many timesand you're like, "No."

(laughs)He d... I really said no.

Over brunch, I was like, "No."

Well, thank youfor being here finally.

-I'm glad I could convince you.Uh... -You're welcome.

Here's somethingthat-that's always thrown me,

is, like, um,your name is Gabourey Sidibe,

and my name is Trevor Noah,right?

-I was born in Africa, and youwere born in New York. -Mm-hmm.

-I feel like our names wereswitched -In Brooklyn. Yeah.

at birth.

Yeah, why is my namemore African than yours?

I don't...I-I literally have no cl...

I feel like I should go homeand be like, "Yo, Mom, come on.

-"Huh? Something. (clickstongue) Olesa. Something. -Yeah.

-Give me something."-You got to argue with her.

-You got to. Your nameshould be Baratunde. -Yeah. I...

That sounds like a great name.I like that name, actually.

-Yeah, it's a good name.-I'm just gonna start

-calling myself that.-Baratunde Noah.

Baratunde Noah (clicks tongue).

-That's gonna be it. That'sgonna be it. -(clicks tongue)

Um, can I just say,you know, th...

like, I know everyonealways wants to talk to you

about Precious, but, for me,I've got to get into the book.

I honestly did not expectthis book to be as funny

and, at the same time,as honest as it has been.

How hard was this processfor you?

'Cause it took you a long timeto write it.

But you really open upin the book.

Oh, yeah.I'm starting to regret that.

People are like,"Wow, your book's really brave."

And I'm like, "Oh, no, is it?

"We weren't all just throwing upin the...

We weren't all just beinghonest? I guess."

-Um, yeah, it took three years.-Yeah.

Um, I wrote every word myself,

-and I will not stop being smugabout it. -(cheering)

Thank you. Yeah.

Um, it took six yearsto learn to read first,

and then I did it.

But, yeah, I'm pretty honestin the book,

just because, um, I thinkthat people lie when you...

when you...Look, lies lead to death, okay?

-Wow.-They just do.

We just went from "some peoplelie" to "hey, lies...

-you're gonna die."-They will kill you!

-You're gonna die.-Lies will kill you!

The, uh... Sean Spicer,wherever he is right now

-is like, "Wait. What?!"-Yeah. -(laughter)

Um, the...

Like, before we getinto some of the stories,

one thing I wonder is, like, Iknow when I was writing my book,

I felt it, but I-I wonder,what is the one thing

you gotfrom writing your own book?

I... Okay, so I think that...I got a lot of things.

A lot of the opinions thatI have about, like, my parents,

my family, the entire world...

-Yeah....I made up when I was six.

Like, I was, like, I...

At, like, six years old,I was like, "Dad, I got you."

Senegal. My dad's Senegalese,

which is why my nameis hella African.

Um, and, like... andthe last time I was in Senegal,

I was six years old,and I was like,

"Okay, I know what Senegal is."

And I... So, like, what I gotfrom the book is the ability

to make, uh, opinions aboutmy entire world as a grownup.

Right, and it really comes through

in the book.You feel it.

You tell different stories.

Storiesthat I knew nothing about.

For instance, you worked in acall center specifically for...

You-you worked...You were a phone sex worker.

-I was a phone sex worker, yeah.-All right.

-Yeah. -All right.-(cheers and applause)

Now... now, I mean,everyone would be interested

in the phone sex part of it,but I-I was more intrigued

by... by how you weren't allowedto sound black on the calls,

even though 95% of the women

-who worked in the... in the job were black. -Yeah.

Um, I make the joke that youthink you're calling Megan Fox,

-but you're calling Preciousinstead. -(laughter)

Because, yeah, everyone lookedlike me, but you... uh, we...

You generally...

We did not hire people,

women that could not make theirvoices sound white, because

the average caller is a whiteman who watches TV all day.

-Right. -And he wants to callthe girl that he sees on TV,

which happensto be, um, a white woman.

And, so, if you don't tell...

But there are also callsthat you can call for, like,

a Spanish girl or an Asian girlor a black girl.

-And I was the worst.-So what?

Do you just haveto switch up your voice?

Yeah, you just switch upyour voice,

and I was the worstat black girl calls.

-(laughter)-Because they were racist!

-Here's the thing.-(laughter)

They were racist.

Because...because this is my voice,

this is my face,this is my voice, and I don't...

Oh, so, like, the guyswould call, and they want me

to sound blackerthan my voice is... like, is.

They want meto cut my words in half,

they want me to say "ain't."

And, like, they would ask,like, racist questions.

Like, so, um, they were like,"You don't sound black."

-And I'm like, "That's weird,because I am." -(laughter)

And they're like,"You're not...

I'll give you a test. How do youfeel about watermelon?"

-And I'm like, "What?!"-(laughter)

I'm like, "I like apples!Egg white."

-I kept getting in trouble.-Oh, man.

Uh, let me... There's a...

There's a part of the bookthat was, um...

that was really interesting.

This is why I sayit's really honest, right?

Um, because you could haveeasily written a book

where you go like,"Oh, you know,

feel sorry for me in my lifeand this...,"

it was one-sided. but you tellstories with nuance.

-For instance, you say here...-I know.

"I don't feel comfortable sayingthat was a victim of bullying.

"Yes, I was bullied in school,but I was also the bully.

"Some of the worst,most regrettable things

"I've done in my life,I did in junior high.

"Junior high is battleground.

"It's as if, every day, there'sso much (bleep) weighing on you,

"that you have to find someoneweaker to dump it all on.

"As horrible as it was,

"I had the greatest timein junior high.

-I just kind of wanted to dieevery day, too." -(laughter)

No, I mean,that's a perfect encapsulation

of that world.

It's, like... like...

traveling, and, I guess,you know, skirting that line

between beingthe person who's the bully

and also bullying the people.

Do you think you keptany of that now?

Um... uh, why?


Where you gonna beat 3:00, sucker?


it could easily go down.

Yeah, you know what,junior high was

really, really, really fun.

-Yeah. -It was so fun,but it was really horrible,

and every dayI didn't want to go to school.

And I still regretthings that I did.

Like, I talk about this guythat asked me to senior prom

when I was a junior.(giggles)

-(laughter)-Um, in junior high,

and I didn't wantto go with him,

because he was kind of a nerd.

-Wow. -And so...It's-it's messed up.

Oh, first of all,he was a closet case.

I mean... like, he was...he was... he was gay,

but he wanted meto be his beard,

and I didn't want to do that.

So you were both in a worldwhere... it was, like,

you wanted to go to the prom,but with someone

-who really wantedto take you to the prom. -Yeah.

And then here was this guywho's going like:

I want to go to the prom,but with someone

who doesn't make me bein a position

that I don't want to be within the prom.

Yeah. And for some...and I have guilt about it,

'cause I feel like we wereboth lost, and I could have...

we could have been partnersfor that night,

and I just kind oflet him drown.

And, like, granted,I was 13 years old,

but I feel really badabout that.

He's fine now.He's out, he's so happy,

he's so glad I didn't goto the prom with him.

-(laughter)-He's so glad.


Reading through the book,you tell all of these stories.

You share someof your darkest secrets,

and you really tell itin a fun way.

You know, it''s a roller coaster journey.

When you talkabout your family, though,

what kills me is talk about your name, right?

And you say how peoplecan't pronounce Gabourey

for some reason

They go, "Gabourey,"and then people,

they come upwith weird pronunc...

-like, like "Gabourney" or...?-Gabourney.

Like, okay, here'show you pronounce my name.

Gabourey Malingar Sidibe.

And I make it easy for youby saying,

it's Gabourey,rhymes with "cabaret."

But people are still,"Gabourney?"

"Gabour... Gabourah?"


Gabourey.It rhymes with "cabaret."

"Ga-Gabournay?" No!


I'm tired...Just, I-I had flashbacks.


I'm sorry, I just, I got...

I got real hot in my chestabout it. I'm sorry.

Um, it's a beautiful story.

It's an amazing book.

I'm excited for you.Uh, do you think you're gonna...

you think you'regonna turn this into a movie?

Oh, snap!Is you trying to be down?


-Hell, yeah.-Yeah! Come through...

Baratunde (clicks tongue) Noah.


-(applause)-Come on through.

-Oh, man!-To the call sheet!

This Is Just My Face is available now.

Gabourey Sidibe, everybody.

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