Talking Big Issues With 'Huge' Star Gina Torres
By Nicki Gostin Posted Jul 11th 2010 11:50AM
"Often times, obesity doesn't just come from bad habits, it's about self-image and self-esteem," she tells us. "It's about a piece of you that's missing and you're trying to fill it."
Did you research your role?
No, I did not. What's wonderful about [creators] Winnie Holzman and her daughter Savannah and what they've been able to create are these really beautifully-written characters that are fully-realized. There are certainly a few more layers to Rand that we're going to peel back and get to know.
I'm know I'm going to sound un-PC, but at the end of the day, it's unhealthy to be really overweight. It's just not a great thing.
No, it's not a great thing, but we must separate ourselves and we have distanced ourselves beautifully. It's not a weight loss show. It's not a dramatized version, if it can even be more dramatized than 'Biggest Loser' already is. Weight loss is not the focus and center of the show. The focus and attention of the show is to be your best self. It's a journey we all take throughout our lives, of evolution and trying to figure out who our best self is. It just so happens that that particular constellation of things takes place in a weight loss camp. We're not necessarily saying that big is beautiful and big is great. What we're saying is that self-discovery and getting in tune with what exactly makes you tick and happy, what is driving you to make good and bad choices, is a good idea.
* 'Huge' airs Mondays at 9 ET on ABC Family.
May I ask how old you are?
[Laughs] Old enough to know!
Not to be rude, I just meant to say weight and diets are such a big deal now compared to when we were kids.
I'm 41, and yes, all generations have been bombarded with whatever that generation's idea of beauty is. Now, it's become size zero, which is only attainable if you were born with the body of a prepubescent boy. So much has changed about the way we live our lives. How we get our food, where it comes from, how it's processed, how we exercise or don't. They used to kick us out of the house and say, 'Go chase your friends down the block.' Now it's all thumbs and video games.
Who's to blame?
Well, you can't just blame the media and all the images that are perpetuated on TV or in movies. It's everything. I'm so proud of this show because it's not about exercise and diet and you'll lose weight. What we've come to find out is that there is more to it than that. Often times, obesity doesn't just come from bad habits, it's about self-image and self-esteem. It's about a piece of you that's missing and you're trying to fill it.
You know very soon you're going to be recognized by teenage girls everywhere?
Well, I think it'll be a nice change from all the teenage boys who recognize me from 'The Matrix' and all the other sci-fi things I've done.
You're married to the great Laurence Fishburne. Ever call him Larry just to annoy him?
No, never comes out of my mouth.
You went to the 'Fame' school in New York City (LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts). Did you sing and dance on the tabletops?
Every single day.
You studied opera. Don't you wish it was more mainstream?
I really do. Especially for actors and people in the theater, there is nothing more dramatic and more sort of self-satisfyingly, unabashedly, shamelessly big and epic than opera. I think it's beautiful.
Your parents are Cuban. Ever been?
It's been quite some time, but I did go as a teenager a few times.
I imagine there are a lot of people counting the days until Castro kicks it.
Not everyone. I have better things to do than count the days 'til Castro dies. I actually think that's a horrible thought. But yes, there are a significant number of exiled Cubans who are thinking that.
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