Looking back, I'm pretty sure that Queen Latifah was the first plus size woman I ever saw on TV. As a chubby kid in the '90s, spotting a fat woman in any form of media was like running smack into a beautiful unicorn you'd been dreaming of all your life. There simply weren't many of them to look up to, and when you found one, chances were you felt like you had to hold on for dear life (which also explains my slightly irregular childhood obsession with The Practice's Camryn Manheim).
So when I saw Queen Latifah on an episode of The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air (schooling Will Smith on how to treat fat girls, no less), I was hooked. She was tall, she was fat, and she was black — and that made her unlike anyone else I'd ever seen grace our television.
I started seeking out her work, probably making me the only kid at my all-white elementary school to check All Hail The Queen out from the library — and on cassette, no less. The thing I appreciated most about her then, and do now, was that she never tried to dress to hide herself. Every sartorial inclination she had seemed to enhance her size and stature as opposed to diminish them. Over the years, her style has evolved, but she's still one of the fiercest plus size women in the game. Here is a small assortment of some of my favorite looks of hers from recent months, proving that Queen is more than just her name.
1. Dreamy In Blue On The 2016 Golden Globes Red Carpet
Latifah was nominated for her portrayal of Bessie Smith in HBO's Bessie. She didn't win, but her look for the night sure did.
2. Proving That "Flattering Silhouettes" Are Not Really A Thing
Someone (everyone) said once (all the time) that mermaid and trumpet silhouettes weren't for fat girls. Clearly, Latifah wasn't listening — and neither should you.
3. Wearing Horizontal Stripes Like A Boss
Sure, they might make you look wider — but what's wrong with taking up even more space with your awesomeness?
4. Showing Off Her Arms With No Apologies
Fat women are supposed to be horrified at the thought of showing off their arm flab, but Queen Latifah looks as calm and as confident as can be.
5. Being Unafraid Of Going For More Masculine Styles
Just because you're plus size doesn't mean you're always obligated to play up your femininity in order to be seen as acceptable and attractive.
6. Towering In Heels Like A Queen
She's 5'10", and yup, she wears the sh*t out of some heels.
7. Showing Off A Rare Bit Of Belly
I didn't think anyone in Hollywood ever dabbled in VBO — leave it to Queen Latifah to prove me wrong.
8. Not Fearing The All-White Look
If I had a nickel for every time someone told me that plus size women shouldn't wear white, I'd be a very rich plus size woman who looked amazing in all of her white outfits.
9. Experimenting With Shapeless Looks
Because you don't always have to feel obligated to accentuate your waist.
10. Going For The Drop Waist
It's one of those trends that we're told plus size women can't pull off, but here's Queen Latifah, pulling it off like it's her job.
11. Opting For One Strap
Here's another "fat girls shouldn't do this" style that the Queen is pulling off flawlessly.
12. Dressing To Get Noticed
Because when you're big, why shouldn't you attract the kind of attention that accurately reflects your gravitational pull?
13. Never Shying Away From Color
Being plus size doesn't mean you have to hide yourself in all black garments. How stunning does she look in this bold red gown?
14. Harnessing The Power Of A Wide Leg
Once again, she's on-trend and pulling off this look with exactly zero worries about what people think.
15. Rocking A Seriously Fierce Jumpsuit
And finally, a figure-hugging, shiny, unapologetically badass jumpsuit. What a win.
Queen Latifah just killed 'em before they even knew what was happening.