Gabourey Sidibe Found 1 Iconic Red Carpet Look on Etsy

Fashion has always been used as a means of expression, but for actors, the stakes are especially high. Every time they step onto the red carpet, they know their looks are going to be analyzed, photographed, and discussed, so the choices they make about what to wear have a lasting impact. Some use this space to make serious statements about their values or even just mess with onlookers a bit. 

Gabourey Sidibe smiling
Gabourey Sidibe | Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

For actor Gabourey Sidibe, the red carpet seemed like an excellent place to make an African-centric statement, and she used Etsy to help her bring it to life. 

Gabourey Sidibe struggled to find an African-print dress from top designers

Gabourey Sidibe rose to fame as an actor in Precious and more recently appeared in American Horror StoryEmpire, and The Harper House. Her life in the spotlight means she pays careful attention to the messages she sends, and that includes the clothes she wears. 

Writing for In Style back in 2017, Sidibe reflected on the role of social media in her life and the struggle she had to find designer clothes that did what she wanted. In particular, Sidibe opened up about her search for African-print clothing to wear to the NAACP Image Awards: “I knew I wanted to wear an African-print gown because there’s literally no more opportune time to wear a gorgeous African-print gown than during Black History Month at the Image Awards.” 

Sidibe knew that what she wore would be the topic of much discussion. In fact, even before she appeared, people were speculating about what designers would be able to provide a look that matched Sidibe’s needs. A Fox News article from 2016 points out that Sidibe had appeared in an “off-the-rack black dress with ballet slippers that any of us could go out and buy.” The author pointed out that many high-end designers did not make styles in Sidibe’s size and pointed to the need for more sizing diversity in high-end fashion. 

Sidibe’s stylist at the time, Linda Medvene, tried to squash rumors that Sidibe was struggling to find high-end looks in her size, but BuzzFeed reports that the star switched stylists shortly after. 

Gabourey Sidibe’s stylist found a dress the star called her ‘soul mate’

Working with stylist Marcy Guevara-Prete proved to be a more fruitful endeavor for Sidibe’s style options. Sidibe exclaimed that a particular “yellow and blue peacock-feather-print skirt and top with a keyhole neckline” fit her needs for the NAACP Image Awards. In fact, she was so taken by the look that she called it her “soul mate”: “Yes, I called an outfit my soul mate. I’m single and over 30. If I want to settle down and live my life with an article of clothing, I can!”

Guevara-Prete found the beautiful look in an unconventional place for red carpet styling: Etsy. The dress came from a shop called Öfuurë that focuses on African-inspired looks. Since then, the shop has moved off of Etsy and now has its own website. It still boasts African-inspired looks in bold prints and colors. 

Gabourey Sidibe has wowed on the red carpet

That particular look did earn Sidibe tons of praise, but she also got negative comments about her hair. In fact, the comments coming in on social media were so cruel that she headed home early. After spending some time reflecting on the criticism, Sidibe doubled down on her styling choices: “It was an Afro, you tasteless fools—it completed the look! I felt dope in it.”

Sidibe has rocked other glamorous and noteworthy red carpet looks. In 2018, she graced the red carpet at the Academy Awards wearing a stunning blue dress from Marchesa, a look writer Esther Zuckerman called “a rich blue gown, draped with a Grecian air and embellished with silver floral embroidery that matched the jewels in her bracelet, ring, and hair.” 

Gabourey Sidibe has been open about the way that constant comments on her appearance have taken a toll on her mental health, but she’s also worked hard to show fans that she’s comfortable in who she is, and showing up dazzling on the red carpet is one way to make that message stick. 

RELATED: Which Witch is The Baddest of Them All in ‘American Horror Story: Coven’?