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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Gabourey Sidibe's Mom Speaks Out About Her Daughter's Magazine Cover Controversy


Sep. 18 2010, Published 12:31 p.m. ET

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Gabourey Sidibe’s mom Alice Tan Ridley has poured cold water over the controversy surrounding her daughter’s October Elle Magazine cover. She told "My daughter looks beautiful – that’s all that matters."

The 27-year-old Precious star is one of four women to grace four separate covers of the fashion bible with her smiling face tightly cropped. She is wearing a green dress.

But the happy image has sparked outrage with several commentators claiming that Gabby’s skin was lightened for the cover.

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But her singer mom – who took part in this season’s America’s Got Talent – doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

She told “Look, there aren’t that many black women who get on the cover of Elle, so, I’m really proud of my daughter because she is breaking down some doors there.

“Both Gabby and I are heavier-set women, so it is great that she is on the cover of Elle because it’s usually much thinner women who get that spot.

“Gabby is acting as a good role model for normal and fuller-shaped women and that is great too - no matter the color of their skin."

And what did Gabby tell her mom about being on the cover?

“She was absolutely thrilled to be on the cover of Elle and she worked with a make-up artist to get that look,” Ridley says.

“Just like any makeover, it can change the way somebody looks but I know Gabby was very happy with it and I’m really proud of her too.

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“My daughter looks beautiful – that’s all that matters.”

On the other covers, thinner actresses Megan Fox, Lauren Conrad and Amanda Seyfried are shown from the hips up.

The October edition marks Elle’s 25th birthday and is dedicated to “25 Most Notable Women Under 25” – Sidibe is the only African-American of the cover girls.

Elle Magazine denied that the Precious star’s image had been lightened for their October cover.

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A spokesperson said: “We have four separate covers this month and Gabby’s cover was not re-touched any more or less than the others.

“We had 25 cover worthy subjects in our portfolio and we chose Gabby because of who she is.

“We shot this as a story of exuberant young women changing the world – if you take a look at the portfolio, each of the women were shot in different ways and for reasons.”



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