Gabourey Sidibe Used To Work As A Phone Sex Operator

Photo: Lauren/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
We always knew that Gabourey Sidibe was as the shit, but this latest tidbit about her pre-Hollywood days just made us even more obsessed with her.
The 33-year-old actress, who is also one of our amazing Shatterbox Anthology directors, talked to PEOPLE about her unconventional job choice that led her to (in a way) become a better actress. And it's totally not what you'd expect.
Advertisement
A young Sidibe worked as a phone sex operator. Yep — the one who fields calls for men looking for a some cellular stimulation. "I was actually pretty good at it,” she tells the site of her surprising job choice. "I did it for two months before I was promoted." In total, though, she ended up working there for three years, until she was 24. She says that pretending to be different women on the phone helped her hone her acting and voice skills before she had her hugely impressive acting debut as the title character in Precious, although she was embarrassed to admit it at the time.
“I knew that when people were asking me, ‘So have you had any acting training?’ my acting school was on the phone, pretending to be some super-young 21-year-old college girl named Melody. I know that was my acting!” she says. “But I felt too stupid to say it.”
But now she's not, and we're proud of her for it. There's no shame in any phone sex game. Sidibe also adds that having worked in the sex industry provided her with extra insight on what it's like to have an unwelcome stigma attached to her name in Hollywood. "I wasn’t just some phone whore," she explains. "Remember when [screenwriter] Diablo Cody‘s Juno was coming out, and people were like, ‘She’s an ex-stripper‘? Yeah, but she wrote this dope film. Can you not? Because that’s just one part of her life."
And Sidibe's life has a lot of parts. In addition to working with Refinery29 on her directorial debut (The Tale Of Four, based on the song "Four Women" by Nina Simone) the actress is releasing a new book, This Is Just My Face, in May.
Advertisement