It's hard to believe this is just the beginning for Gabourey Sidibe, the Oscar-nominated star of Precious. But for the 26 year-old Brooklyn native, her first crack at show business has paid off big time, earning her an award from the National Review Board for Best Breakout Performance, a Golden Globe nomination, and her first Oscar nomination. Presently in London for the Orange BAFTA Awards, where she is also nominated for Best Actress, Sidibe took ten minutes to speak with Fabio Periera about being the new kid on the block.
Fabio Periera: How's London treating you?
Gabourey Sidibe: It's good. I have a theory that I sound better in London. Usually I use an accent that apparently is higher than my British Accent. It's all, " 'ello! Top of the mornin' to ya," which I guess is Irish but I'm kind of a geek. (Laughs)
FP: Tell me what it was like to get nominated.
GS: I was watching television with my manager and they said my name either third or fourth and it was extremely exciting. I started jumping around and then I had to stop and go do "Good Morning America." (Laughs.)
FP: You just got signed to United Talent Agency (UTA). How did you make that decision?
GS: I actually met my agent, Tracey Jacobs, at a party. A lot of people were looking at me and (UTA) really expressed interest in me. Plus, my manager has a lot of clients there and they have a lot of people I want to work with.
FP: Who would you like to work with?
GS: Kristen Wiig.
FP: Do you have any upcoming projects?
GS: There are a lot of things we're looking at. I've had an agency for about a week. Everything's been moving (though.)
FP: What's it like being a new actress in Hollywood?
GS: I understand a lot of it, but it's hard when I'm moving around. The week after the Oscars, I'll be sitting in LA for the rest of the week and I'll get into it.
FP: Are there certain kinds of projects you want to do?
GS: I want to do a comedy next. I'd like to be funny in something. I think I'm funny, and perhaps it would be nice to play a funny character.
FP: Do you find that everyone you meet thinks you're Precious?
GS: It happens but not for too long because I start speaking and then they realize I'm not her. I think it's a natural reaction to have because I'm so new and (Precious) is the first thing people have seen me in. I think if they see the interviews I do, they get that.
FP: What's been the most exciting part of awards season?
GS: It's all really exciting. Getting the (Oscar) nomination was the most exciting. And I just did the Oscar nominees luncheon. It was a lot of fun to be in a room with all these people who were nominated and are so creative.
FP: What was the Oscar nominees luncheon like?
GS: It was like the last party before graduation, with graduation being the Oscars. What you do is you stand on these bleachers and they took the 2010 class photo of all the nominees. And everyone you come with stands in the middle and takes pictures of you with their digital cameras and cell phones (Laughs). It's really funny. It's really like the last party before graduation.
FP: Did you get to meet anyone you've been dying to meet?
GS: I've met everyone I've been dying to meet. During awards season you're all going to the same parties, so you get a chance to meet everyone like George Clooney and Helen Mirren and Sandra Bullock. Oh, and Meryl Streep! I was so excited to meet Meryl Streep.
FP: Why Meryl?
GS: Because she's fricking Meryl Streep! (Laughs) I'm pretty sure she has her own reserved table every year at the Oscars. She's just a classy babe. And I used to watch her everyday in Death Becomes Her. I think I must have been seven or eight years old. I just thought it was funny because (in the movie) she can't die. And (her character) gets hit in the face with a shovel and her whole face turns around and so she has to walk around with a backwards face because she can't die. (Laughs)
FP: Do you have any advice for young actors and actresses who want to get into the business?
GS: Be open to your own talent. That would be my advice. If you have a talent, you shouldn't dismiss it. You should be open to exploring it and seeing how much more you can be.