Raven-Symoné Blames Being Body Shamed For Her Mental Issues
31-year-old Raven-Symoné has been in the public eye for over twenty-five years now. From portraying the role of three-year-old ‘Olivia’ in Bill Cosby’s famed Brooklyn-based family sitcom, The Cosby Show, to becoming the star of her own Disney Channel sitcom, That’s So Raven, Symoné has definitely had her share of stardom. However, though it may have looked as if she was living the ‘American Dream’, reality set in really fast for the Georgia-bred actress and singer.
As you all may know, Raven-Symoné has previously opened up about first being exposed to body shaming at the age of seven, while on the set of The Cosby Show, but no one knew just how badly it affected her, throughout her career. In an interview with PEOPLE Magazine, the star revealed that her struggles with the ongoing amount of body shaming actually began to take a huge toll on her mental health.
In reference to today’s body positive movement and progression of beauty standards and acceptance, Symoné confessed that she believes that had she grew up in this new era, her mental health would be in better condition.
“I wish I was living now as a younger person,” she expressed. “I probably wouldn’t have so many mental issues.”
As if trying to uphold society’s idea of the made-for-TV appearance didn’t become overwhelming, Symoné recounts receiving hate on the music front as well. In 1993, she dropped her debut album, Here’s To New Dreams. The actress-singer put out a total of four albums, hitting the road on tour, on her first headlining tour, in 2006. Though the excitement to perform in front of thousands of screaming fans gave her the push that she needed, she says the most hurtful was being told, directly, that she was ‘too big’ to even be a performer.
“[They said] I was too big to be doing an hour and a half concert. ‘I don’t know how she can dance being that big.’” She recalled. But, through it all, Symoné still managed to prevail. “I was like, ‘I still did it!’ I was on tour forever because it’s not about your size. It’s about what you have to say, if you can sing or dance, and performing. It’s not about your size.”
Despite the wounding comments from the critics, the former The View co-host seems to be continuing to rise above. Having returned for the official reboot of That’s So Raven, titled Raven’s Home, she says that people are actually more accepting, nowadays.
“I love embracing your body,” she boasts. “In this day and age, you have all kinds, and it’s funny, it’s serious, it’s every color. It’s every head shape, it’s every hair. And there’s androgyny, and there’s LGBT coming in, and it feels good. We didn’t have it enough last time and I guess that’s what the past is for — to make sure the present is what it needs to be.”
She then went on to say how important it is to continue breaking the mold for others.
“The world is too big to have one sort of view to show beauty because then you are literally destroying society,” she says. “You are literally destroying it. And then you want to talk about how we are judgmental to each other and this and this, but it’s being created in the industry that we’re in. So, why not break the mold?”
Body shaming, of any sorts, is never okay, and it is very real. So is mental illness. Much respect to Raven-Symoné for speaking her truth!
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